06 September 2010

cleaning upholstered chairs

Hubs and I bought these dining chairs soon after we got married. I wanted upholstered dining chairs because they seemed more comfortable than all-wood chairs. 

Why did I not consider our future children ruining that upholstery by smearing bits of food over every square inch?




These chairs are going to be recovered or replaced somewhere down the line, as soon as the kids can learn to eat like civilized people. But for now, I'm stuck with them.

I had a burst of energy the other day and decided to try to clean them. I've tried spot-cleaning before, without much success.  But this time, I filled a spray bottle with hot water and a little dish soap, shook it up, and sprayed that upholstery completely. 

It couldn't make them any worse, right? 
If I'm going to recover them anyway, who cares if I mess up the fabric? 
At least they'll be clean.

So I sprayed them and scrubbed them with a heavy duty scrub brush.
When I finished, Little Mister asked to use the cleaning tools for his dump truck.
And I went to work wiping down the wood frames of the chairs.

And now, my chairs. are. clean.
This chair was the dirtiest one, the same one in the top two photos.
(Those dark spots were just wet--they hadn't dried completely before I took photos. 
I was too darn excited to wait!)

See? Same markings on the wood frame:
chairs before and after

My only advice is if you actually like your upholstery, use a gentler brush. I roughed up my fabric a little from vigorous scrubbing. A cloth might be better--you can still scrub with it, but it shouldn't damage your fabric.

I feel so much better now that those chairs are clean! Of course, in the days since I've cleaned them, the kids have messed them up again. But at least I know I can fix it when I want to. :)


abby @ tales and trials said...

YAY for clean chairs!! Yours turned out great. Luckily the boys booster seats hide most of the fabric on our dining room chairs so food never touches the fabric. I wouldn't mind if it did though because I really want to switch out the fabric. ;)

Kim said...

I have been itching to recover my chairs that are the metal 'tube' frames from ages ago & love their sturdiness just need to figure out if I want to redo w/ vinyl as they were or w/cloth to need redone in a few yrs b/c of stains & such..... thanks for the encouragement that scrubbing DOES work :)

Mrs BC said...

I just found your blog via Scary Mommy, I'm glad I did! This post made me smile. We have 2 boys who are 3 & 5, & late last year bought new dining chairs. Based on our experience of the boys behaviour, we chose the Emeco Navy chairs, because they are apparently indestructable! No uphostery to damage, reportedly torpedo & tornedo proof, yet those monkeys still managed to dent one within a month.
Mrs BC

Marisa said...

Mrs. BC--that's VERY interesting. I've always loved those chairs, but couldn't bring myself to invest that kind of money. Dented in a month! Oy. Maybe those will go on my list for my "empty nest" house. :)

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