Cleaning Seats | Anyclean

updated: 16/11/2023

Cloth upholstered seats: Clean these the same way that you clean your carpet: use a vacuum cleaner. To clean a big padded chair of the lounge suite type, remove the cushions and get into the nooks and crannies. But do check first – you can often find pens, coins and other odds and ends down the backs of sofa and padded chair cushions. A spill or smear that won’t vacuum off can be spot cleaned by gently dampening the spot with water (don’t use too much) and scrubbing gently with soap and a soft bristle brush (e.g. a toothbrush). Use a damp (not wet) sponge to rinse off the soap.

Vinyl upholstered seats: Simply wipe these down with warm soapy water, or with dilute white vinegar. It couldn’t be easier!

Leather upholstered seats: To clean a leather upholstered lounge suite (or any other leather, as a matter of fact), wipe it gently with vinegar diluted in warm water and applied with a soft cloth (the cloth should not be dripping wet). Alternatively, use warm water and saddle soap (found in any good horsy shop). To care for leather furniture, apply a mixture of linseed oil and vinegar (mix in the proportion of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts oil) sparingly with a soft cloth. This works for cleaning leather jackets, too.

Wicker seats: The best way to clean wicker, cane or bamboo seats is to vacuum it using the brush attachment. If a wicker seat gets really dirty, you should spray it lightly with plain water (take it outside and use the hose!) then scrub it all over with a soft bristled brush. Don’t use soap. Leave the wicker seat outside to dry. This should be done annually to stop the wicker drying out too much if the wicker is untreated. You can use soap on bamboo: mix up some warm soapy water with a dash of borax and scrub the bamboo all over. One trick for extending the life of a saggy cane seat is to turn it upside down and cover it with a towel that has been soaked in a mixture of boiling salty water (1 cup salt to 1 cup water or just use sea water!). Leave this for 30 minutes before removing the towel. Leave the seat inverted for another 24 hours to let the fibres shrink and dry into place. Obviously, don’t sit on it during this process and try to keep cats off.

Really dirty sofas: If you have just bought a second-hand sofa that is absolutely revolting, you can clean it yourself rather than calling in a professional upholstery cleaner. This writer did this with what she thought was a grey-green sofa that ponged of cats and cigarette smoke. Wait for a sunny day. Start by giving the sofa a thorough vacuuming all over, including under the cushions. Any coins and paper clips you discover are a bonus. Then scrub the sofa everywhere with warm soapy water. Work up a good lather to get the grub out. Leave it to dry in the sunshine (takes a couple of hours). When dry, sprinkle the sofa with baking soda to which you’ve added a few drops of essential oil of your choice (lavender is good). Leave this to sit and absorb smells before vacuuming again. Repeat if necessary. The sofa I did this on turned out to not be grey-green at all, but a delicate moss colour – the grey was caused by the old cigarette smoke. Alternatively, you could try hiring a steam cleaning machine of the sort used for cleaning carpets and try that on a grotty old sofa. It should work.

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About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.