Recently, I had a great good fortune. For a long time, I've imagined myself with a huge, comfortable arm chair (to fill my huge, comfortable, dream house, naturally). There have been many times that I've imagined how I might make this dream come true, but they all involve money that would be more wisely spent elsewhere, and rearranging all of the furniture in my living room - likely eliminating seating rather than increasing it. Imagine my shock when, two weeks ago, I went to Ginny's where she was having a garage sale and I found a chair that would match my things perfectly. Is it as huge and overstuffed as I'd imagined? Not quite. But, it's nice to sit in and pretty good looking. Maybe once I get my mansion, I can upgrade!
While Harry (Ginny's husband) and I made valiant efforts to squeeze the chair into the back of my Corolla, it just wasn't happening. The next day, I borrowed my dad's van (and my dad, as it happened) to go pick it up. He helped me haul it back to the apartment. Here it is on the first day!
I decided that, before moving everything around and making changes, I would spend a little energy cleaning the chair. While it was in very good shape when I got it, I thought it could use a little freshening up. I knew that mine would be (at least) the chair's third home and I thought a little work might make it look practically new. I was right!
I did some research on the internet about how to clean upholstery. I learned that it's very important to save the tags on your upholstery, and believe me, if I ever by new upholstered furniture, I'll be sure to do so. The tags give you lots of important information about how to care for the fabric, so they're nice to pull out later. But, I also ran across some webpages created by people like me, who really didn't know anything about the content of their fabric. Of course, you'll want to try whatever method you use in an inconspicuous spot to see how it works.
I decided to start with plain water. This wasn't very effective for me. I didn't notice that anything was looking cleaner, and I noticed that there was almost a watermark where I'd used it. The fabric remained darker in that area even after it had dried. Bummer. The internet research continued. One suggestion I saw multiple places was to whip together dish detergent and water.