How To Clean Fabric Dining Chairs

Fabric upholstered dining chairs, more often than not, form feature pieces in the dining room. Maintaining their appearance is an essential part of keeping your home looking good. As with any high quality item of furniture, a certain amount of care and preservation is needed in order to conserve your fabric dining chairs in optimum condition. Having said that, using your furniture will inevitably suffer from wear and tear and at some point a spillage is highly likely.

General Fabric Upholstery Conservation

Regular Vacuuming

Dirt and dust cause fabrics to wear more quickly. Thoroughly vacuuming the upholstery on your dining chairs at least once a week will help keep them cleaner and brighter by preventing any dust or crumbs from penetrating the fabric and body of the furniture. These days, the majority of vacuum cleaners come with upholstery attachments ideally suited for furniture cleaning. Vacuuming also helps stop common allergens such as household dust mites from spreading.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

As with any fabric, exposure to direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time will eventually fade bright colours. Where exposure to strong sunlight is probable, such as in conservatory dining areas, it is advisable to keep blinds or curtains drawn when the room is not in use.

Professional Cleaning

High quality furniture is an investment – in order to prolong the life of your upholstered dining room chairs as much as possible, it is advisable to have the fabric professionally cleaned at least twice a year. Professional cleaning methods may vary and will very much depend on the type of fabric the chairs are made from. There are numerous professional cleaners on the market, so be sure to choose a reputable company – a spot test on an inconspicuous area of the fabric is a good way to ensure the cleaning products are not too harsh and won’t damage the fabric.

Unsuitable Cleaning Products

It is recommended to leave the cleaning of your fabric dining chairs to a professional; although in the case of an emergency, such as a spillage – some products may be used. Harsh cleaning products however, should never be used on upholstery fabric. The following are some examples:

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Stronger Acids
  • Alkalis
  • Abrasive Cleaning Products (Cream Cleaners)

Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning should only be used when specifically stated on the fabric care guide – dry cleaning companies should follow instructions stated on the fabric.

Spills and Spot Cleaning

Accidents can and do happen – the key factor in stain removal is timing. Any spills should be treated immediately, the longer the stain remains on the fabric – the harder it becomes to remove. Before using any type of cleaning product on your fabric upholstery chairs, it is important to check the manufacturer’s cleaning codes.

  • S = Solvent – Only use water free, pure cleaning solvents (dry cleaning products)
  • W = Water – Only use water based upholstery cleaning products.
  • SW = Solvent or Water – Both pure dry cleaning solvents or water-based cleaning products may be used.

Spot Cleaning

Liquid spills should be mopped up immediately using a clean towel – the stain should be blotted gently to remove excess liquid without pressing too firmly, working inwardly in order to prevent the stain spreading further. Your fabric upholstery cleaning guidelines may have approved spot cleaning products listed.

Treating Spills and Stains

Coffee and Tea

Blot up as much of the spillage as possible with a clean absorbent cloth. Mix white vinegar and alcohol in equal parts, soak a lint-free cloth with the solution, apply to the stain by gently dabbing, then press the affected area with an absorbent cloth.

Alcoholic Drinks

Remove as much as excess liquid as possible Dampen a clean cloth with surgical spirit (rubbing alcohol) and gently dab the stain. Blot the area with cold water mixed with a liquid detergent – it may be necessary to do this more than once. Dry the area with a towel then dab again with cold water and blot dry.

Soft Drinks

Mop up as much of the excess liquid as possible, then dab the stain with water and warm glycerine. Blot the area with a dry towel and then clean with cold water.

Chocolate, Ice Cream and other deserts

Scrape any excess residue away using a clean knife, spot clean using water mixed with a liquid detergent. Blot dry and then clean with cold water.

Red Wine and Fruit Juice

Blot as much of the excess liquid away and then dab immediately with a mixture of surgical spirit (rubbing alcohol) and water – a ratio of 3:1.

Greasy Sauces and Butter

Scrape the stain with a knife to remove any excess oil, then apply a mixture of water mixed with liquid detergent. Blot the stain dry and clean using cold water.


Excess blood should be immediately removed using a cloth, the stain should then be blotted with neat white vinegar, then cleaned with cold water.


Once fully dry, urine stains are difficult to remove and can result in permanent discolouration of fabric. It is important to treat the stain immediately – excess should be blotted with a dry cloth, the stain should then be dabbed with white vinegar and water, blotted dry and treated with a mixture of water and liquid detergent to follow. Finally, the stain should be dabbed with cold water and blotted dry.

Stain Resistant Fabrics

For those living in a busy household with young children where upholstered dining chairs will endure heavy use, choosing a stain resistant fabric can offer many advantages. Manufacturers such as Agua and Panaz supply a wide range of dining chair fabric upholsteries benefiting from various properties – namely their resistance to stains and spills. Not only can these fabric dining chairs be wiped clean – a practical and convenient solution, but water and oil cannot penetrate the fabric, preventing absorption into the seat. Many stain resistant fabrics are also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal – the fact that they will not support the growth of micro organisms or fungi means they are not only more hygienic but also hypo-allergenic – a great advantage to those suffering from household allergies to dust mites and fungus.

Leather Dining Chairs

Leather is a unique natural fabric boasting a wide range of properties. Maintenance of leather upholstery dining chairs is lower than that of its standard fabric counterparts. It has semi-water proof properties – spills onto leather take much longer to be absorbed properly and are quick and easy to mop up. Not only this, leather is resistant to common household allergens such as dust mites and fungus. Leather can be cleaned using specific products, this coupled with regular vacuuming along the crevices of the fabric will help maintain your leather fabric in tip top condition. It is also a good idea to apply a leather protector – this will form a barrier on the fabric, making it even more difficult for spills to sink in and become absorbed. Note: The information listed in this article represents a guideline only – the advice given may not be appropriate for all types of upholstery fabric. It is important to always read carefully and follow the information provided in each upholstery fabric care instructions. The Chair People cannot accept any responsibility or claim for damage, caused by any of the above treatments.

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