House For Six

How To Clean Upholstery, Also Known As How To Get The Funk Out Of Thrifted Furniture

Deme Crinion22 Comments
I've been on the prowl for the perfect nursery chair for months. Visions of heavenly white upholstered gliders have been rocking their way through my mind.  But it turns out those bad boys carry quite the hefty price tag.  *ca-ching* I know they can be worthy investments, but it just wasn't in the cards for us right now.

I've been trying to hold myself to some basic guidelines when it comes to bringing new furniture into the house.  We're aiming to save for quality pieces we love that can stand the test of time (so we're not replacing things as often), but they also need to have an aspect of versatility.  If I come across an item and can quickly think of 2-3 places it could grace the house with its awesomeness, I know it's a winner.

So, I revisited the glide/rock function.  Was it really necessary?  We need a place to feed the baby and snuggle up for a story.  I've been nursing in a stationary chair thus far with no issues, and it might be easier to work a regular chair into the rest of our living space down the line.

And with the the glide/rock feature no longer a requirement, a whole new set of possibilities were opened.  I've been eying many a side chair, but couldn't land on the right style/price point marriage.

So, I started looking second hand.  Craigslist, garage sales,etc.  And last week I hit the jackpot.  I snagged this beauty from an estate sale.....good condition, great lines, tufted back, cushioned armrests, roomy, comfy, and subtle sweet details like the engraved florals on the trim.
How to clean upholstered furniture
When I picked up the chair, the home didn't have any offensive odors (nor did the chair) and was smoke free, but I did notice a bowl of cat food and some fur on the lower part of the upholstery.  Since this gal is going in the baby's room and a few of us have cat allergies, I knew she needed a good cleaning before we brought her inside.

If you google "how to clean upholstery", you'll be met with a slew of articles.  I read though a few and ended up combining several tips and adding few of our own.  The good news?  It's super easy.  So, forgive the phone pics here and let's get started!
How to clean upholstered furniture

How to clean upholstered furniture
Grab your upholstery attachment and give the piece a thorough vacuum.  Be sure to remove all the cushions and use the narrow attachment for all the nooks and crannies.

To catch any rogue hairs and to really get the underside of the chair, I also went over the whole thing with a lint roller after the vacuum.
How to clean upholstered furniture

Next, go to your panty and grab a box of baking soda.
How to clean upholstered furniture

 How to clean upholstered furniture
Dust the entire piece as best you can and let sit for 30 min to 1 hour.  I ran some errands so this actually sat for the whole morning.

How to clean upholstered furniture

Then it's time for your witches' brew.
How to clean upholstered furniture
The articles I read had varying ratios but a 4:1 or 8:1 ratio of water to soap should work great.  You can even add a bit of vinegar to the mix if your piece has stains or strong odors.

Now, grab your hand mixer.
How to clean upholstered furniture
 A wisk would work too but you'll need to mix a little longer and prepare for wrist crampage.

 Then, employ your minions...
How to clean upholstered furniture
 You want to grab just the bubbles and avoid any liquid at the bottom of the bowl.  We used our hands to scoop/rub since the chair was not that dirty, but you could also use a sponge.

After we rubbed the chair down in the foamy bubbles, I wiped the whole thing with a wet rag.  I rinsed it out and went over it a second time to get any lingering soap and dirt.

I left it in the garage to dry and then put the cushion back in place.  So fresh and so clean!  I would have brought the chair in as soon as it dried, but that trim is getting a paint job.  I'm using a less than comfortable chair in Liv's room right now, in which I have to contort my body to feed her, so I can wait to get this chair up there!

Has anyone else tried their hand at this or managed to bring a dingy piece back to life? Tell us your tales!

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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