How to Clean A Cushioned Chair Like a Pro: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Cushion chairs are a popular choice for outdoor seating, providing a comfortable and stylish place to relax and enjoy the sun. Chair slipcovers or chair mats do protect them for a while. However, over time, these chairs can become dirty and stained, making them less appealing and less comfortable to use. Especially, washing their cushions becomes a challenge. Fortunately, with the right techniques and products, it’s possible to wash cushioned chairs like a pro, restoring them to their former glory and ensuring they stay looking great for years to come.

In this article, we’ll explore how to clean a cushioned chair, including tips on removing tough stains and preventing future damage. We’ll cover the most effective cleaning methods for different types of cushion materials, from canvas to polyester to vinyl, and provide step-by-step instructions to help you get the job done quickly and easily. With these expert tips and tricks, you’ll be able to keep your cushion chairs looking clean, fresh, and inviting all season long.

Types of Chair Cushions:

Cushioned chairs are a common accessory used to provide comfort and support while sitting. There are many types of chair cushions available on the market, each designed to meet different needs and preferences. Some cushions are made for specific types of chairs, while others are more versatile and can be used on a variety of seating options. But basically, it is divided into two categories:

Cushions with Removable Covers:

Cushions with removable covers are a type of cushion where the cover can be easily removed and washed or replaced. These cushions typically consist of foam or other filling material enclosed in a fabric cover that can be zipped, buttoned, or secured with Velcro. The cover is designed to be easily removable so that it can be washed or replaced with another cover. Removable covers are popular because they are easy to maintain and keep clean.

removable cushion cover

Cushions with Non-removable Covers:

Cushions with non-removable covers are a type of cushion where the cover is attached or sewn onto the cushion and cannot be easily removed for washing or replacement. These cushions typically consist of foam or other filling material enclosed in a fabric cover that is permanently attached to the cushion. Cushions with non-removable covers are often found in furniture pieces such as sofas, chairs, and benches, where the cushion is specifically designed to fit the shape and size of the furniture.

non-removable cushion cover

Check the Care Tags First:

When checking the care tags on cushions, it is important to pay attention to the cleaning codes indicated on the tag. The codes are usually represented by letters and symbols that indicate the appropriate cleaning method for the cushion.

“S” Tag:

This tag indicates that the cushion should only be cleaned with a solvent-based cleaner. Avoid using water or water-based cleaners, as they can damage the linen materials. Always follow the instructions on the solvent-based cleaner carefully.

“W” Tag:

This tag indicates that the cushion can be cleaned with a water-based cleaner. However, it is important to use a gentle, mild detergent and avoid saturating the material with water. Always test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area first before cleaning the entire cushion.

“SW” Tag:

This tag indicates that the cushion can be cleaned with either a solvent-based cleaner or a water-based cleaner. Again, always test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area first before cleaning the entire cushion.

“X” Tag:

This tag indicates that the cushion should only be vacuumed and not cleaned with any type of cleaner. Avoid using water, solvent-based cleaners, or any other cleaning products on the cushion.

Necessary Supplies to Clean a Cushion Chair:

If you want to keep your upholstered cushion chairs looking their best, regular cleaning is essential. To effectively clean your cushion chair, you will need some basic supplies. By having these necessary supplies on hand, you can keep your cushion chair clean and looking like new for years to come.


Water is one of the essential supplies for cleaning a cushioned chair, particularly if the care tag indicates that water-based cleaning methods are appropriate.

Vacuum Cleaner with Upholstery Attachments:

Vacuuming your cushion chair regularly helps remove surface dirt, dust, and debris that can accumulate over time. An upholstery attachment is a tool that attaches to your vacuum cleaner and is specifically designed to clean fabric surfaces like the cushion on your chair.

vacuum cleaner upholstery attachments

Steam Cleaner:

Steam cleaning is an effective way to remove dirt, stains, and bacteria from cushion covers without using harsh chemicals.

steam cleaner


An iron can be a useful supply for cleaning a cushioned chair, particularly if the cushion cover is wrinkled or creased.


Rubber Gloves:

Rubber gloves protect your hands from harsh chemicals, prevent cross-contamination, and provide a better grip on the cleaning tools.

rubber gloves

Empty Spray Bottle:

It can be used to apply cleaning solutions or water to a specific area of the cushion, making it easier to target and remove stains or dirt.

empty spray bottle

Microfiber Cloths:

Microfiber is a synthetic material made from extremely fine fibers that are much smaller than human hair. This unique material is highly effective at picking up dirt, dust, and debris, making it an excellent choice for cleaning furniture.

microfiber cloth

Dishwashing Liquid:

It is a mild detergent that is effective at breaking down grease and grime, making it a great choice for removing stains from fabric.

dishwashing liquid

White Vinegar:

White vinegar is a versatile and natural cleaning supply that can be used to clean a cushioned chair. It is a mild acid that can help break down stains and odors, making it an effective alternative to harsh chemical cleaners.

white vinegar

Baking Soda:

Baking soda is another versatile and natural cleaning supply that can be used to clean a cushioned chair. It is a mild abrasive that can help lift stains and odors from fabric surfaces.

baking soda

Rubbing Alcohol:

Rubbing alcohol is a disinfectant and cleaning supply that can be used to clean mold off cushioned chairs. It is a powerful solvent that can dissolve stains and kill bacteria and germs.

rubbing alcohol

Hydrogen Peroxide:

Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful and natural cleaning supply that can be used to clean a cushioned chair. It is a strong oxidizer that can break down stains and kill bacteria and viruses.

hydrogen peroxide

Clean Towel:

Once you have applied a cleaning solution to the cushion and scrubbed away any dirt or stains, you will need to remove the excess moisture with a clean towel to ensure that the cushion dries quickly and evenly.

clean towel

Nylon Brush:

A nylon brush is a useful cleaning tool for removing dirt and stains from a cushioned chair. The bristles of a nylon brush are strong enough to scrub away grime and dirt but gentle enough to avoid damaging the fabric.

nylon brush

Leather Conditioner:

Leather conditioner is a product that is specifically designed to help keep leather furniture, including cushion chairs, soft, supple, and protected from damage.

leather conditioner

Fabric Protector:

Fabric protector is a product that is designed to help protect cushion chairs and other upholstered furniture from spills, stains, and other forms of damage.

fabric protector

How to Clean a Cushion Chair? (Non-removable Covers):

Cleaning a cushioned chair with non-removable covers can be a bit more challenging than cleaning one with removable covers, but it’s still possible to get good results with the right tools and techniques. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step-1: Remove the Pet Hairs with Your Hand:(wear the gloves first)-

Put on a pair of rubber gloves. Run your gloved hands under a little bit of water to dampen them. This will help the pet hair stick to the gloves. Use a circular motion and apply a bit of pressure to pick up as much pet hair as possible.

Step-2: Vacuum the Dirt and Debris-

Use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to remove any loose dirt, dust, and debris from the surface of the chair. Be sure to vacuum in all the nooks and crannies, including the seams and corners.

Step-3: Dampen a Microfiber Cloth with Water-

Simply fill a spray bottle with water and mist the cloth until it is slightly damp. Alternatively, you can wet the cloth directly under running water and then wring out any excess moisture.

Step-4: Blot Up the Spills and Stains-

Start by using a clean, dry towel or cloth to gently blot the affected area. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the fabric, as this can push the stain deeper into the fibers and make it harder to remove.

Step-5: Prepare a Mild Cleaning Solution of Dishwashing Liquid and Water (¼:1)-

Add a small amount of dishwashing liquid to the water. A ratio of 1/4 to 1 is a good starting point, but you can adjust the ratio depending on how dirty the cushioned chair is.

water and dishwashing liquid mix

Step-6: Whisk Until Sudsy-

Use a whisk to mix the solution thoroughly, creating suds. Make it properly sudsy.

Step-7: Dip a Microfiber Cloth in the Suds-

Dip a clean microfiber cloth into the suds, making sure to saturate it with the cleaning solution.

Step-8: Wring Out the Extra and Wipe the Cushions-

Starting at the top of the cushion, wipe in a circular motion, using gentle pressure. Continue wiping the cushion in a circular motion until you reach the bottom.

Step-9: Dampen another Microfiber Cloth with Water-

Dampen another microfiber cloth with clean water. Wring out the excess water so the cloth is damp but not soaking wet.

Step-10: Rinse the Solution-

Rinse the solution frequently with clean water to remove any soap residue.

Step-11: Put Hydrogen Peroxide on a Microfiber Cloth-

Dampen a microfiber cloth with hydrogen peroxide. Wring out the excess liquid so the cloth is damp but not soaking wet. Starting at the top of the cushion, gently rub the stained area with the damp cloth.

hydrogen peroxide on a cloth

Step-12: Blot the Spills and Stains-

Use a clean and dry microfiber cloth to blot up any excess liquid or debris. If the spill is a liquid, start at the edges and work your way inward to prevent the liquid from spreading.

Step-13: Let it Dry-

After cleaning the cushion, make sure to let it dry completely before using it again. To ensure proper drying, move it to a well-ventilated area with good air circulation and avoid direct sunlight or heat sources.

Step-14: Sprinkle Baking Soda in Case of Foul Stench-

If your cushion chair has a foul odor, sprinkle baking soda over the surface and let it sit for several hours. This will help absorb any unwanted smells.

Step-15: Let it Sit-

After sprinkling baking soda on your cushion chair, it’s important to let it sit for several hours to give it time to absorb the odor. You can leave the baking soda on the cushion for a few hours or even overnight, depending on how strong the odor is.

Step-16: Vacuum it Up-

Once you have treated the stains, spills, and odors on your cushion chair, it’s time to vacuum it up. Use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to thoroughly vacuum the surface of the cushion. This will help remove any remaining dirt, debris, or baking soda residue.

Step-17: Repeat the Process if Needed-

If your cushion chair is heavily soiled or if you didn’t get all the stains out in one go, you may need to repeat the cleaning process.

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How to Clean Cushion Chair? (Removable Covers):

Cleaning cushion chairs with removable covers is essential to maintaining their appearance and hygiene. With a few simple steps, you can effectively clean the covers and keep your chair looking and feeling fresh. Here’s a quick guide on how to clean cushion chairs with removable covers.

Remove the Cushion Covers from the Chair:

Carefully take off the cushion covers from the chair. If there are any zippers or buttons, undo them to make it easier to remove the covers.

Put them in the Washing Machine, Use a Gentle Cycle:

If the care label allows for it, putting cushion chair covers in the washing machine on a gentle cycle can be an effective way to clean them. However, it’s important to follow the care label instructions and use a mild detergent to avoid damaging the covers.

Let them Air Dry:

After washing the covers, wring out any excess water and lay them flat on a clean, dry surface. Depending on the weather conditions, it may take several hours for the covers to completely dry, so be patient and avoid using them until they are fully dry.

Fill a Bucket or a Sink With Water and Dishwashing Liquid (16:1):

The recommended ratio of dishwashing liquid to water is 16:1, meaning 16 parts water to 1 part dishwashing liquid. Mix the solution thoroughly to create a soapy mixture.

Submerge the Cushions, Keep Pressing:

Submerge the cushions in the solution and use your hands to press them gently, making sure the entire cushion is covered with soapy water.

Fill the Sink with Water Again:

Fill the sink with clean, lukewarm water. Make sure the water is not too hot, as this can cause shrinkage or damage to the fabric.

Rinse the Solution from the Cushions:

Drain the clean water and refill the bathtub or sink again if necessary to ensure all soap residue has been removed. Once you’re confident that all soap residue has been rinsed away, squeeze out any excess water from the cushions.

Cover the Damp Cushions with a Clean Towel:

Lay a clean towel flat on a clean, dry surface, such as a table or countertop. Place the damp cushions on top of the towel, making sure they are in a single layer and not overlapping.

Gently Press the Water Out:

Gently press down on the towel to help absorb any remaining water or moisture from the cushions.

Let them Air-Dry:

Allow the covers to air dry completely. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day, depending on the humidity and temperature of the room. Flip the covers over periodically to ensure they dry evenly on both sides.

Put them Back in the Covers:

Hold the cushion by its edges and insert it into the cover, making sure to push it into the corners. Smooth out any wrinkles or bumps in the cover, making sure it fits snugly over the cushion. If the cover has zippers or buttons, fasten them securely.

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How to Steam Clean Cushioned Chair?

steam cleaning a cushioned chair

Steam cleaning is another effective method to clean cushion chairs. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Vacuum the cushioned chair to remove any loose dirt, dust, or debris.
  2. Fill the steam cleaner with water and turn it on to allow it to heat up.
  3. Test the steam cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area of the cushioned chair to make sure it won’t damage the fabric or cause discoloration.
  4. Hold the steam cleaner nozzle about 1-2 inches away from the cushion chair surface and slowly move it back and forth over the cushions.
  5. Apply the steam to the entire surface of the cushioned chair, making sure to cover all areas evenly.
  6. You can also set the iron to its lowest heat setting and turn off the steam function.
  7. Once you have finished steaming, wipe down the cushions with a clean, dry cloth to remove any excess moisture.
  8. Allow the cushions to air dry completely before using them again.

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How to Clean the Cushioned Chair Wheels?

Cleaning the wheels of a chair cushion is important to keep them functioning properly and prevent them from getting clogged with dirt and debris. Here’s how to clean chair cushion wheels:

  1. Carefully flip over the chair onto its back so that you can see the wheels.
  2. Carefully pull on each wheel to see if it can be removed from the chair frame.
  3. Check each wheel to see if it’s attached to screws. If so, use a screwdriver to carefully remove the screws.
  4. Once the screws have been removed, gently pull the wheel out of the chair frame.
  5. Take a few sheets of paper towel and fold them into a small, thin shape that can fit between the wheel and the chair frame. Insert the folded paper towel into the hard-to-reach area, making sure it is in contact with the wheel.
  6. Using a pair of scissors, carefully cut the hair as close to the wheel as possible. Once you have cut the hair, use a pair of tweezers to pull any remaining strands or pieces of hair from the wheel.
  7. Take the wheels and line them up with the holes in the chair frame. If the wheels were attached with screws, use a screwdriver to reinsert and tighten them.

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Things to Remember:

When cleaning cushion chairs, there are a few important things to keep in mind to ensure that the process goes smoothly and effectively. Here are some key things to remember:

Can Use Water and Vinegar Solution instead of Baking Soda:

You can use a water and vinegar solution instead of baking soda to clean your cushion chairs. Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that can help remove dirt and stains from fabric surfaces, including cushion chair covers.

Make Sure the Room is Well Ventilated:

When cleaning cushion chairs, it’s important to make sure the room is well-ventilated. This is because many cleaning products and solutions can emit fumes that can be harmful if inhaled in large quantities.

High Heat Could Damage the Cushions:

Using high heat could potentially damage the cushions of your chair. This is especially true for cushions made of synthetic materials or delicate fabrics. High heat can cause the fibers in the cushion to melt, shrink, or become misshapen, which can ruin the appearance and functionality of the cushion.

Spot-testing is a MUST:

Spot-testing is a crucial step that should always be done before cleaning your cushion chairs. This involves testing a small, inconspicuous area of the cushion cover with the cleaning solution or product you plan to use to make sure it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration.

Use a Fabric Protector Spray on a New Cushioned Chair:

Using a fabric protector spray on a new cushioned chair can be a good preventative measure to protect the cushions from spills, stains, and other forms of damage.

Fabric protector sprays create a barrier on the surface of the fabric that repels liquid and prevents it from seeping into the fibers and causing stains.

Use a Leather Conditioner on Leather Upholstered Chairs:

Leather upholstery can add a touch of luxury and sophistication to a chair, but it requires proper care and maintenance to keep it looking its best. One important step in caring for leather upholstery is using a leather conditioner. A leather conditioner helps to nourish and moisturize the leather, preventing it from drying out, cracking, or fading.

Care Label Shows “X”? Leave it to the Pros:

If the care label on your chair cushion or upholstery shows an “X” symbol, it means that the fabric should not be cleaned with water or solvent-based solutions and should be left to the professionals.


Why is it important to clean cushioned chairs?

Regular cleaning of cushion chairs is important for maintaining their hygiene, appearance, and durability. Neglecting to clean cushion chairs can result in a buildup of dirt, dust, and other contaminants, which can compromise their overall condition and lifespan.

How often should I clean my cushion chairs?

As a general rule, it is recommended to clean cushion chairs at least once every 6 months, or more frequently if they are heavily used or exposed to dirt and spills.

How do I remove stains from cushion chairs?

It’s best to address stains as soon as possible, blotting with a clean cloth and treating with a suitable cleaning solution or stain remover according to the care instructions.

How do I deep clean my cushion chairs?

To deep clean cushion chairs, start by vacuuming or brushing away loose dirt and debris. Next, use a cleaning solution, such as a water and vinegar solution or mild detergent, to clean the cushions thoroughly. Rinse and air dry completely before placing back in the chair frame.

How do I dry my cushion chairs after cleaning them?

The best way to dry cushion chairs is to place them in a well-ventilated area, out of direct sunlight, and allow them to air dry naturally. You can speed up the drying process by using a fan or opening windows to increase air circulation.

Can I use regular soap and water to clean my cushion chair?

Regular soap and water may be too harsh for delicate fabrics or may not be effective in removing tough stains. It’s best to use a mild detergent or a cleaning solution specifically designed for the type of fabric on your cushion chair.

How do I prevent mildew from growing on my cushion chair?

To prevent mildew from growing on your cushion chair, make sure to keep it clean and dry. Avoid leaving the chair in damp or humid environments for extended periods, and consider using a dehumidifier in areas where humidity is high.

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