How do I clean antique upholstery?

by Jerry

I have an antique arm chair that I want to restore. The wood is not a problem, but I need to know the best way to get layers of antique dust out of the upholstery. The fabric is not heavy, maybe cotton, and in good shape except for the dirt. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you. Jerry

  4 answers
  • Peggy L Burnette Peggy L Burnette on Jul 22, 2019

    Hi this is Peggy. Here are some instructions on cleaning antique fabric. Good luck. Beautiful chair. How to Clean and Maintain Antique Upholstery Furniture | Clubhouse ...


    Jul 17, 2017 - Begin by carefully dry vacuuming your upholstery. In most cases, a simple vacuuming removes nearly 70% of the dirt and grime from your furniture. Then apply the foam to a foam sponge, and gently test by gently rubbing a spot on an inconspicuous area of your fabric.

  • Emily Emily on Jul 22, 2019

    I would clean the dust off first by vacuuming as Peggy suggests. I have dealt a lot with furniture like this and I doubt the cotton fabric is very old. I would wring a white cloth out hot water (no cleanser) and wipe the fabric off. But truly this would be an easy chair to recover if you want to do that.

    • See 1 previous
    • Emily Emily on Jul 23, 2019

      Actually you can kind of tell the age of fabric by its pattern. Fabric designs have "style" periods as well as clothing itself. If it is in good shape then definitely keep it. But I would not use any soapy stuff on it. Hot clear water is my choice for cleaning as soap in this situation can leave residue (unlike in laundering) That's how I clean the headboard on this bed which is upholstered. Good luck!

      p.s. to be considered "antique" a piece must be 100 years old.

  • Gk Gk on Jul 22, 2019

    I would use a bucket of warm soapy dishwater and a soft brush to gently scrub the dirty arm covers. You don't want it to get too wet--slightly to mid damp would be fine. You could pat it dry with some bath towels and set it out in the sun to dry.

  • Lisa S. Lisa S. on Jul 23, 2019

    Vacuum very well. Use foaming rug cleaner and a soft rag. Let dry well. hen vacuum. May take a few times.

    • Jerry Jerry on Jul 23, 2019

      Thank you. I have cleaned the fabric and it turns out it is so faded I have decided to reupholster it. Thanks for all the help.