So, we have these chairs. We’ve had them for about 8 years now. They’re microfiber and they’re great and they really don’t show the mess too much if you keep them vacuumed. Microfiber is really popular because for the most part it’s pretty easy to take care of like that and it can look really good for a long time. Until it gets really dirty. Or you get a dog. And then the madness that ensues is embarrassing. Proof to follow.
So here are the chairs in question:
And here was the problem:
(If you ever come to visit me and ever sit on these chairs, you’d better look away now. Like really away. Just stop reading.)
As you can see, this has kind of become Chuck’s chair.
So what do you do when you get into a situation like that? To the google-mobile!
If you look up how to clean microfiber, you’ll find all kinds of great advice. The thing with microfiber is that cleaning it with water doesn’t really work that well because you’ll end up with water spots wherever you wet it. A lot of people recommend using Windex because it dries so quickly, although that can be a problem if you have light-colored furniture because Windex often has color in it that can discolor the microfiber. A lot of other people also recommend using rubbing alcohol, again because it cleans well and dries quickly. I love rubbing alcohol! So good for so many things like cleaning grease, cleaning paint, cleaning permanent marker, etc.
And check this out!
Look at this! (Or don’t look if you ever sit on these chairs. What are you still doing here anyway? I told you to look away!)
Look what came off after just a few seconds of rubbing with a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol! That’s disgusting! I really didn’t think these chairs were actually that dirty.
So, I wanted this to be the answer. I really did. As I said before, I love rubbing alcohol. After you’re done rubbing, you can just take your scrub brush and brush up all of the tiny microfibers and your fabric will look good as new! ….just maybe not after 8 years of abuse. My chairs looked a little better after this, but still pretty dirty. I’m sure if I kept scrubbing for awhile, I’d eventually pull up all the mess, but I’m just not that patient.
So what did I do? I threw caution to the wind, pulled the covers off wherever I could, and tossed them in the washing machine. I figured they’d probably be ruined, but I figured that if they stayed that dirty, I’d probably get frustrated and buy new chairs anyway, or sew some new covers, so I went for it.
The covers aren’t really meant to come off like regular couch slipcovers are, so they were a little tight, but I fought it out.
I was sure they’d shrink or shred or something, but look!
Bam! That’s one clean chair!
Definitely significantly cleaner than before! I even popped them into the dryer so they dried quickly without water spots. No scrub brush required afterwards!
So if you have microfiber furniture that’s looking a little sad, you can definitely still use the rubbing alcohol and scrub brush method on the parts that aren’t removable, but do yourself a huge favor and clean any parts that you can in the washing machine! It works!
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.