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Contract Upholstery Care: Seating Fabric Cleaning Cheat Sheet

upholstered seating at The Cinnamon Club, Westminster

There are many different types of seating fabric and while most can be easily cleaned with warm water and detergent, stubborn stains will need specific treatment.

Nylon, Polyester and other man-made woven seating fabrics

Nylon and the many other man-made fabrics are strong, lightweight and require relatively little care and maintenance. They are crease and mildew resistant.


Clean spills immediately using warm water and detergent. Stubborn marks can be scrubbed.

Use anti-static spray such as Ambersil Anti-Static to remove dust-attracting static charge.

Dried-on stains can be vacuumed.

Deep Cleaning

For stubborn stains (ink, cosmetics, wine etc) use water with 20% methylated spirit dissolved in it, followed by detergent and warm water.

To remove nail polish, dab with nail polish remover and use acetone if the stain does not disappear.

To remove oil, sprinkle talcum powder on the spot and leave it to work and brush it away after a few minutes. Then carefully dab it with a benzene or methylated spirit moistened cloth.

To remove chewing-gum or wax, cool with ice or frozen material in a plastic bag and scrape away.

Wool seating fabrics

Wool is warm in the cold, cool in the heat, anti-static and environmentally-friendly. But wool is a thick fabric and penetrating stains can be difficult to remove.


Clean spills as soon as they happen by first soaking up as much of the liquid as possible. Use luke-warm water, sparingly, with detergent (wool can stretch or shrink). Dust can be vacuumed

Deep Cleaning

Wash stubborn stains with luke-warm water and detergent, as above, but be more vigorous.

To remove stains resistant to water, lightly dab a cloth sparingly moistened with acetone, benzene or turpentine.

To remove chewing gum and wax, first cool with ice cubes in a plastic bag, break up the wax and take away the loose pieces. 


Hard scrubbing can damage the structure of wool fabrics

Cotton seating fabrics

Cotton is a natural fibre known to be a soft and comfortable with wide-spread use. Cotton is absorbent if not treated with protectants.


Clean spills immediately using warm water and detergent.

Deep Cleaning

To remove tough stains, try applying a cotton specific stain remover such as Vanish Gold Oxi Action Powder – but always first test the product on a hidden area, following the products instructions.


Cotton fabric protectors such as Scotchguard Fabric and Upholstery Protector are available and will make your upholstery less prone to staining.

As always the best way of repairing furniture is to avoid it getting damaged in the first place. Read our 17 common causes of contract furniture damage here. Want more tips about contract upholstery? Read our blog and discover 25 points to consider when ordering that will affect the speed of delivery, lifespan, and overall design and feel of contract upholstery, sofas and soft seating.

Free Furniture Care & Maintenance Guide

Get more from your contract furniture by caring for it properly.
Download our Furniture Care & Maintenance Guide to learn how to make your furniture last longer in a hospitality space.


Topics: Furniture care, Contract upholstery,

By Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth on 05/12/17 11:37
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