How to Clean Vintage Upholstery? Maintain Antique Upholstery

How to Clean Vintage Upholstery? Maintain Antique Upholstery

We offer some tips on how to maintain and clean vintage upholstered furniture here.

Even though it’s important to clean and maintain your antique furniture, occasionally cleaning the upholstery can actually reduce its value. Due to the extremely delicate materials used to reupholster most antique furniture, choosing the incorrect method for furniture refinishing could result in the piece’s permanent destruction.

So, before you search for “upholstery cleaning near me”, take some time to understand the basics of cleaning old or antique upholstery. Upholstery cleaning might not be as intimidating or difficult as you initially thought.

How to Clean Vintage Upholstery?

Your initial action is the simplest. Start by cleaning the old upholstery’s surface dirt. Depending on the fabric’s age and condition, this may be a little tricky, but for the most part, a vacuum and a soft upholstery brush should do the trick.

Usually, all that is needed to thoroughly clean a surface is a light brushing with a handheld brush. Remember that using anything with harsh bristles can loosen fabric or aggravate preexisting problems with the upholstery itself, so avoid using anything with such bristles.

Let your furniture air out after you’ve completed a quick surface cleaning. This can be done in an enclosed but open area of your home, particularly in an area with good circulation.

How to Clean Vintage Upholstery? Maintain Antique Upholstery

While this step is less necessary for furniture that hasn’t been used heavily (or furniture that hasn’t been sitting in musty storage spaces), it always helps with any “old” smell that sometimes accompanies antique furniture.

Extraction Foam Cleaning

Deep stains on fabric can be removed with ease by steam cleaning. Usually available for rental, steam cleaners are inexpensive and simple to use. However, if using hot water on older fabric causes shrinkage or weakening, it could be problematic. And as was already mentioned, testing is always advised when using chemicals.

Steam Cleaning

Extraction foam cleaning, a “dry” method, is also an option. You can directly apply the cleaning agent to the fabric without coming into contact with water by using specialized cleaning foams. The cleaner can then be delicately removed with a dry or wet cloth after a period of time (typically specified by the product).

This method isn’t truly “dry,” but doesn’t require heated water or high-pressure cleaning. However, it has the same drawbacks as every other cleaning agent, so test it in a discreet area of the furniture.

Cleaning upholstery fabrics needs some tips, and it is important to clean upholstery fabrics before using them for the first time, but don’t worry, we have provided you with a Upholstery Fabric Cleaning Guide. It can tell you how to clean different types of upholstery fabrics.

Dealing With Stains

When an unpleasant accident occurs, remain composed and take your time. Instead, follow these steps:

  • As soon as you can, blot the stained area. Catch up as much of the extra liquid as you can using kitchen paper. Repeat until needed.
  • As heat can cause shrinking and permanently set the stains, it should not be used to hasten the drying process.
  • If you’re unsure whether a stain can be removed, always seek the advice of a professional upholstery cleaner to prevent further harm to the furniture.

Although it can be difficult, removing stains from upholstery is not impossible. Here are some guides you can follow to clean different stains from upholstery:

How to Clean Vinyl Furniture Fast, Easy and Cheap | Retro Active Lifestyle

Tips for Maintaining Antique Upholstery

Although hiring a specialist is your best bet for upholstery on antique furniture, there are ways to maintain and clean your upholstery without lowering its value. Some things you can do, include:

Restore Damaged Upholstery

Unfortunately, not all damage can be fixed. Any trustworthy dealer or conservator can offer advice. The most effective solution is occasionally to reupholster.

The majority of antique upholstered furniture has likely undergone at least one if not several, reupholstering. Very old upholstery that is still in good condition is historically significant and should be handled with extreme care. But for the majority of us, understanding the best ways to deal with spills, remove stains, and clean them up is crucial.

Protect Against UV Rays

The colors in your vintage fabric may fade due to harmful ultraviolet rays. There are several ways to reduce UV exposure. Close window blinds or curtains to block the sunlight during specific times of the day, or arrange your furniture to protect your prized antiques from direct sunlight.

Installing UV-blocking windows or covering your windows with the solar film are more expensive options. Fortunately, the cost will be justified by the fact that UV-blocking windows or solar film can significantly reduce the amount of heat entering your home, resulting in lower energy costs.

Polish Vintage Upholstery

How to Clean Vintage Upholstery? Maintain Antique Upholstery

According to some, oil should be applied regularly to prevent the drying out of antique furniture. According to to Go Cleaners, wood actually dries out because of a lack of moisture rather than an absence of oil. Therefore, keep your furniture out of dry, hot spaces at all times if you want to keep it safe.

Yes, furniture oils can momentarily restore the finish and appearance. But given that oils frequently leave a residue that acts as a magnet for attracting dirt and dust, this will unavoidably hasten the finish’s deterioration over time.

Applying a thin coat of superior paste wax to your furniture will protect the finish. It has a long-lasting effect and will keep dust and moisture out despite not being permanent. Make sure you are adhering to the manufacturer’s recommendations for furniture maintenance in order to prevent damaging the surface.

While you can wax your furniture once a year, you should use a lint-free cloth to dust it much more frequently. Simply slightly dampening the cloth and turning it frequently is all that is required. You should avoid using dry rags because they might scratch the surface.

Relocate Vintage Upholstery

While each item has its own specifics, you should always check for loose or damaged joinery before start moving them:

  • Carry chairs by their seat rails rather than their top or back rails, arms, or backs.
  • Carry tables using the legs or the apron. It might become disconnected from the base if you carry it by the top.
  • Other bulky objects should be lifted rather than dragged across the space.

Always take out the drawers, doors, and shelves. Moving blankets or another suitable padding should be used to protect glass doors. Transport larger objects on their backs.

Conclusion: Clean Vintage Upholstery

You can make Dad’s old chair smell and look brand new by using some of these fundamentals. Nevertheless, just because you can doesn’t mean that you always will, in part because different fabrics, cleaners, and techniques yield various results.

Your antique furniture will last the longest and retain its beauty if you have it professionally cleaned at least once a year. A knowledgeable, experienced professional can safely achieve the best results, foresee potential issues, and identify the best cleaning agents and techniques for each type of fabric.


How Do You Clean Old Fabric?

Make a mildly heated bath with white vinegar, water, and Twenty Mule Team Borax in a big plastic tub. (I occasionally even include a drop of Ivory dish soap.) Allow fabrics to soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then gently hand wash them. Keep in mind that overly vigorous agitation of the fibers occasionally results in tearing.

How Do You Deep Clean An Old Upholstered Chair?

Prepare a solution of one part laundry detergent and four parts warm water while you wait. To apply the cleaning mixture to your upholstery, use a rough sponge or a soft-bristle brush. Till the stains and dirt are removed, scrub the fabric perpendicular to the grain. To remove any remaining suds or dirt, use a damp, clean cloth.

What is the Best Homemade Upholstery Cleaner?

Mix 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol, 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and about 1 cup of water. Prior to applying it to your upholstery, be sure to shake it well. You can adjust the amount of water in your mixture if you’re dealing with stubborn stains.

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