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Upholstery Recovery: Tips for Saving Your Water-Damaged Furniture

Upholstery Recovery

If your favorite sofa or your grandmother’s armchair has been damaged in a flood, don’t consider it ruined beyond repair until you’ve explored all avenues. Depending on how bad the damage is, furniture can often be saved with a little bit of help from DIY remedies or turning to the professionals.


The first step to upholstery recovery is to decide if the furniture is worth saving. If it’s an antique or family heirloom, you’ll likely want to go to any lengths to restore it. Otherwise, you’ll have to determine its monetary value and then decide if replacing it with a new piece completely will be cheaper and easier than trying to restore it.

Once you’ve decided to restore it, follow these tips to restore your furniture to its original state.


Upholstery Recovery
Image Source: Flickr


Upholstery is notoriously difficult to clean, as it traps mold and mildew easily. Start by separating the fabric from any other colored items to prevent any color bleeding, and then pull the upholstery off of the furniture as carefully as you can.

If the water damage is bad enough, you will need to strip the piece down to its frame in order to get it sufficiently clean. If you don’t feel comfortable with this, contact a professional to do it for you.


You will need to clean the piece of furniture as soon as possible to prevent it from molding or warping. Once you have stripped the fabric and padding off, clean the wood frame gently with a mixture of 8oz of bleach and 1/2oz of dishwashing detergent in 2 gallons of water.


Sometimes, the only way to save a piece of upholstered furniture is to replace the fabric. This might mean sacrificing a bit of its originality, but as long as you still have the frame, it will probably be worth it. Choose a new piece of fabric or padding that is similar to the original pattern, or go all out and reupholster it with a more modern fabric.

You might also need to replace springs or webbing, depending on the extent of the damage, so be prepared for that added expense.

Reupholstering furniture is not cheap, so it might be in your best interest to simply replace the furniture unless it is an antique or has special meaning to you.

Professional Help

When all else fails, turn to the professionals for help. There are many companies out there who have the experience and tools necessary to restore nearly every damaged piece of furniture. Some companies like Babayan’s will even come to you for upholstery recovery  ie. if you need your rugs, carpets, or upholstery cleaned or repaired. Finding a company that can cater to your needs won’t be difficult if you take the time to look.

Professionals will be able to see exactly what needs to be done in the most difficult cases. Sometimes, just drying out damp furniture will do the trick. Other times, letting it dry without proper treatment will warp or damage the furniture further, or trap diseases or mold inside the upholstery. But making that choice without proper experience might lead to disastrous consequences for your furniture.

If you have any doubts about what course of action to take, don’t wait to call the experts. You don’t want to wait so long that your furniture becomes irreparable.


Don’t trash your damaged furniture too soon. Whether you decide to tackle your damaged upholstery yourself or go straight to the professionals, repairing or restoring it is always worth a try.


About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anicahere.

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