dirty chair

  1. What's the name for such material? Is it cloth?

  2. Without buying steam cleaners or machines, or transporting to cleaners, how can it be cleaned at home? I have a steam clothes iron, if it can help?

  • 2
    I just realized: you did not mention what kind of "dirty" we talk about: is it plain dust, or something sticky, or greasy, or just cemented "ancient-everything-mix", like it sometimes happens with chairs.
    – virolino
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 10:58
  • @virolino The chair's exposed to room air, so dust, sweat. But no food or stickiness.
    – user1869
    Commented Aug 24, 2019 at 3:11
  • There are many kinds of dedicated fabric cleaners available, some works better than others, I had good experience with carpet foam cleaner. But to get a recommendation you'll have to be more specific with your location
    – Rsf
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 9:27

3 Answers 3


I used very simple method:

  1. Put some water on it (not much)
  2. Take a soap and rub it on it
  3. Use a bit more water and friction to make the soap work
  4. Take a vacuum cleaner and put dry toilet paper inside (so it can absorb water)
  5. Vacuum clean the sofa to take the water and soap out.
  6. Add a bit more water to dissolve the redundant soap in the fabric
  7. Repeat steps 5 - 6 until the fabric is reasonably soap-less :-)
  8. Let it dry out
  9. Remove the wet toilet paper from the vacuum cleaner :-)

The vacuum cleaner will actually take out so much water that it will dry much faster. I usethis procedure any time when I for example spill some liquid on my carpet or an upholstered chair and the liquid needs to be removed as soon as possible (to not catch mold), and eventually needs to be cleaned.


I did something similar with the seats in my car.

  1. I prepared a solution of water and kitchen liquid detergent.
  2. I applied a very thin layer on the chair, so it would not soak in the foam below (not much, at least).
  3. I brushed a little, and then let it rest, a little. Brushed again.
  4. Used a vacuum cleaner to extract the solution and dirt, and let the place as "dry" as possible.
  5. Repeat 3 and 4 with clean water, 1-2 times.
  6. Left the doors open for good ventilation for drying.

Instead of step 1, there are special detergents for carpets. You apply them, and then they dry. After that you just vacuum the solids, containing the detergent and the dirt.

I have no personal experience with these detergents, but I cannot see how you can fail.

If there is only dust, then you can just "beat" it out fo the chair.

  1. Take the chair to an area where creating dust around is not a problem.
  2. Using a stick (or anything similar) beat the cloth of the chair - similar with beat-cleaning a carpet.
  3. As needed, a vacuum cleaner will help manage the mess.
  4. Continue until no dust comes out of it.

As an example, search on you tube for things like: "dust bus chair", and you will see examples of this procedure, applied to apparently clean seats. I would not recommend the use of a hammer (as seen in one of the videos), as it might damage the cloth.


Vacuum it regularly. If your vacuum has various settings, set it to cloth/curtains/rugs (whatever yours says) to not create a vacuum. (I know, ironic isn't it?) This will help prevent some stains from setting. Before you clean it, I'd suggest testing in a place that's not visible to see if its color will come off or not. Underside of the seat, perhaps?

Use a damp cloth to rub it gently after vacuuming. You might not even have to do anything else to keep it clean.

But if you still get stains, spray warm water on it and wipe it with a damp cloth. Soap is often not needed as water will do the job. But depending on the stains, sometimes soap will help. Add just a few drops to the water. Soap can actually attract dirt and make stains more visible over time.

Put a towel on the seat and apply pressure by, for instance, sitting on the chair. I find this to be the easiest, quickest way. If the towel gets wet quickly, change it to a dry one and repeat. Maybe have a good read and a cup of tea while you wait? Let the chair air for an hour or two before using it.

Please don't use a vacuum cleaner to suck water from any surface or fabric. I see people giving you this advice and unless it's a wet/dry vacuum, I'd advice against it. A regular vacuum is not a closed system and we all know that water and electricity do not mix. That some people never had an accident or ruined their vacuum this way, is not evidence it's safe.

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