How To Clean A Recliner


A recliner is more than just a chair; for many, it’s a haven of relaxation. Over time, dirt, stains, and odors can build up on your cherished seat, but with proper care, you can keep it looking and smelling fresh. Here’s how to clean and maintain your recliner.

Understand the Fabric Type

Before you start, check the recliner’s label or manual. Most manufacturers will provide cleaning codes that guide you on what kind of cleaning solutions are safe.

  • W means it’s safe to use water-based solutions.
  • S indicates that a solvent-based cleaner is required.
  • WS or SW suggests either water or solvent-based cleaners can be used.
  • X means only vacuuming; no water or solvents should be used.

Steps to Clean a Recliner

Gather Cleaning Supplies

Depending on the fabric type, gather the following:

  • A vacuum with an upholstery attachment
  • Mild dish soap
  • Soft white cloth or sponge
  • Clean water
  • A soft brush
  • Solvent-based upholstery cleaner (for S labeled recliners)

Regular Maintenance

1. Vacuuming

vacuum cleaner for home

Start by vacuuming your recliner regularly. Use the upholstery attachment to gently remove dust, pet hair, and crumbs. Make sure to get into crevices, folds, and under the seat.

2. Rotation

If your recliner has loose cushions, rotate and flip them periodically to ensure even wear and tear.

Spot Cleaning

  • For W-labeled recliners: Mix a few drops of mild dish soap with cold water. Dampen a white cloth with the solution and gently blot the stain, moving from the outside in. Don’t rub, as this can push the stain further into the fabric. Blot with a separate dry cloth to absorb excess moisture.
  • For S-labeled recliners: Dab a little solvent-based cleaner onto a cloth and gently blot the stain. Always follow the cleaner’s instructions and do a spot test in an inconspicuous area first.

Full Cleaning

If your recliner needs a comprehensive clean:

  • W-labeled recliners: Using the mild dish soap solution mentioned earlier, dampen a cloth or sponge and gently clean the entire surface. Wipe down with clean water and a fresh cloth to rinse off the soap. Allow it to air dry.
  • S-labeled recliners: Use a solvent-based upholstery cleaner, following the product’s guidelines. Typically, this involves applying the cleaner, allowing it to sit for a set time, and then blotting away. It is easy to remove the back of the recliner but you need to follow the necessary steps.

Leather Recliners

Leather recliners require special care:

  • Dust regularly with a soft cloth.
  • Use a leather cleaner or mild soap solution to wipe down the surface.
  • Apply a leather conditioner periodically to keep the leather soft and prevent cracking.

Dealing with Odors

To refresh your recliner and rid it of unpleasant smells:

  • Sprinkle baking soda generously over the upholstery. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight and then vacuum it up. Baking soda naturally absorbs odors.
  • For leather recliners, avoid using baking soda. Instead, place the recliner in a well-ventilated area or use a leather-safe odor remover.

Regularly Check the Reclining Mechanism

While this isn’t about cleaning, it’s essential to ensure the functionality of your chair. Dust, dirt, and small items can sometimes get lodged in the mechanism. Regularly inspect and clean this area to ensure smooth operation.


With regular maintenance and timely deep cleaning, your recliner can offer a comfortable space to relax for many years. Respect the fabric type, address stains promptly, and ensure the reclining mechanism is always in top shape.

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