Washing Upholstery Fabric (Or What We've Been Doing At Home)

March 27, 2020

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Hanging Upholstery Fabric To Dry

Hello friends, I hope you're all doing well during these unprecedented times. We've been hunkered down for quite a while and trying to make the most of all our free time.

At first, there were big lists and grand plans to exercise, clean up and out, read and write and craft. However, as reality set in, here in NY, the motivation to do much more than disinfect and enjoy each other's company has faded.

But we are still crafting and creating.

As a matter of fact, it's become a family affair now.

With all their performances canceled for the foreseeable future, my girls have started cooking and believe it or not, sewing.

The machine is out on the kitchen table. They've been reworking their old clothes...cropping sweatshirts, turning pants into skirts and dresses into two piece outfits.

TikTok Profiles

They're even documenting their processes on TikTok and getting thousands and thousands of views. It's amazing how many questions they're getting, too, from others interested in doing these things themselves.

I love to see that...kids with a genuine interest in sewing. A silver lining for sure.

Anyway.

All their fabric play got me thinking about my kitchen sink skirt. It's been up there for over a year and, while we don't touch it with dirty hands, it probably needed a wash. It was a thought that had occurred to me months ago, but I never took any action.

Then early last week, as I was running over surfaces with my Clorox wipes, I realized there wasn't any good way to disinfect that...so I removed it.

It was a simple task. I just took a flathead screwdriver and slipped it under the wooden dowel and carefully pried it up.

Removing A Sink Skirt

Then I used a pair of pliers to remove the staples that held the fabric to the dowel.

Using Pliers To Remove Staples In Fabric

And then I slid the dowels out of their rod pockets. I thought about putting the fabric panels in a bag for safekeeping until the dry cleaner opened again, but that could be months. Scary, I know.

Removing Sink Skirt Dowel

Instead, I decided to try my hand at washing them in my own machine. I'd never washed upholstery fabric before. I've always brought it the dry cleaner.

I know that when people make clothes or quilts they often prewash the fabric, but since I'm always making curtains or pillow covers, I figured it was unnecessary.

I either shake them out in the sunshine or bring them to the cleaners. As I stated, not an option this time. I was a little concerned about damaging seams, fading fabric and shrinkage, so I was super careful.

First, I dropped them into the machine on the hand wash setting, water set to cold and wished them luck.
How To Wash Upholstery Fabric
When they came out, they hadn't shrunk or faded and alloy seams were intact.
They looked great. I was quite surprised.

Next, I hung them in the kitchen window, in full sun and above the warm radiators, to dry.

Hanging Upholstery Fabric To Dry

Not all the way, though. While still a tiny bit damp, I ironed them, it was oddly relaxing this time.

Ironing Upholstery Fabric

They came out crisp, fresh, clean and bright. I popped the dowels back into the pockets and hung them in the closet. For now.

Waverly Red Roses

Truth be told, we really do mostly use our feet to open the cabinet. Like I said, no one touches that skirt with dirty or wet hands....because no one wants to face Kim's wrath if found responsible for making a mess of her pretty sink skirt. 😉

In all seriousness though, hard surfaces are easier to clean.

In the meantime, I've found myself enjoying the lighter look of the plain, warm, cream cabinets and the lace curtain hanging above.

With the forsythia hedge in bloom and the trees starting to bud, filling the kitchen with color from the garden, I've been contemplating the idea of an airy, monotone sink skirt for summer.

Cottage Style Kitchen Sink

Goodness knows, I have plenty of fabric in my stash to whip one up.

And I certainly have enough time on my hands.

Of course, I will have to elbow my way through the crown to that machine.

But if I can't schedule some time there to make it on my own, I know two girls who can probably do it for me.

How have you been spending your days?

How To Safely Wash Upholstery Fabric At Home










  1. It will be planting season soon here in NC. Normally I buy tomato plants and herbs from the local garden center. This year because we are staying at home, I ordered some from Burpee online and they will be shipped here mid April. We have been doing spring cleaning and making a lot of comfort food. Stay safe...

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    1. Believe it or not, Penny, I’ve been cooking and baking a lot, too. It’s so silly because cooking is my least favorite activity, but for some reason, now, it’s become my solace. Who knew? And enjoy your planting. Some local nurseries are doing driveway deliveries here, so I just might get some pansies dropped off to brighten things up! Safe safe my friend.

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  2. Well, I can't go out and get my already short hair cut, so I decided to shave it today. A new self-reliance probably many of us never considered we'd be faced with. But we're faced with it now.
    Brenda

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    1. Absolutely Brenda. I bet you look adorable! My daughter asked me to cut her hair this week, I’ll see…and I haven’t had my hair colored in months. I was supposed to go this week. I guess this will be fun experiment.

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  3. Hi Kim,
    I am painting everything in site lol! Just trying to stay busy and sane. I am so happy I love my sweet little cottage house since we have to stay in. I find comfort in my home as I know you do too. Stay safe and well and sane! Have a good Friday and wonderful weekend.
    xoxo
    Kris

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    1. Thank you, Kris! I wish you a lovely paint filled weekend!! xoxo

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  4. Kudos to your girls for their creative projects! Our local nursery will bring your order out to your car. The Urban Farmer has planted seeds and put them in pots on a heat pad under lights. We always enjoyed checking out all the nurseries in the area but not this year. This virus thing is kinda scary but the upside is that families are drawing close. Take care...

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    1. We have certainly been getting closer…we’ve always been a tight knit group, but this has given us the time to really connect and do some fun things together. Enjoy those plants! Gardening is a lovely activity, I hope to do some myself. Take care…

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  5. They look great!
    I love that your girls are sewing and getting others interested in it too.

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    1. I've been trying to teach them for years, Mari. I'm glad they came to it themselves...makes me smile.

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  6. Kim what you said about just trying to stay sane really hit home with us too. My youngest has online courses she is taking and the rest of the time she devotes to art projects. It can be so hard to become motivated so I am also going to whip out my sewing machine and teach my girl to sew. Once the spring cleaning is done. Stay safe and sane my friend.

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    1. The online classes do help keep them a bit busy, Mary. I'm glad they still have that going on. It's a nice distraction. Sewing is another one. Sending you wishes for safely and sanity, too!

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  7. I love that your girls are using the time at home creatively. I think feeling less motivated and trying to keep up with necessities is a common feeling during this season. Thanks for the great tip! Blessings, Cecilia

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    1. Sunshine helps, too Cecilia. Take care and blessings to you, my friend.

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  8. I've been listing on Etsy/Ebay like crazy. Our yard is a garden of weeds, so hubby and I have attacked it today & will succeeding days. No cooking, mind you. Doing some cleaning, but I'm waiting for the pollen to finish falling before I get into my big Spring cleaning. I'm sorry we can't go to the gym, but we're walking in the neighborhood, and have met some neighbors we didn't know. We're doing OK. I don't mind staying home and not going anywhere. I'm in my happy place now. Glad to hear your girls have found a new interest!

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    1. Sounds like you've found a way to make the most of your time, Florence. I'm glad to hear that! You've been quite productive. That's wonderful.

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  9. Hi,
    I love that the girls are sewing and creating their own fashion line. That is fantastic!
    I planted more seeds today. I will soon be re potting the seedlings I started last week. Atticus is having fun helping me. And my husband has been practicing playing guitar. I am in hopes he can play Harvest Moon for me by summer. :-)
    Carla

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    1. Sounds like you are all diving into things you love right now, Carla. I think that's fabulous. We're hoping to get out in the garden this weekend. Nothing like hands in the dirt for a little to bring a little joy.

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  10. i had grand plans of all the things I would get to do or accomplish with everything cancelled....then my son asked if I would watch my grandson full time until this is over. I watched him 15 to 20 hours a week before 3 days in a row then 5 days off (with 2 of those off days doing a 5 to 7 AM shift change watch....if that makes sense!).

    So now I Watch him Mon-Tues from 5-7 AM then again (the same day)from 9 to 2:30 or 3. (I go home & nap between 7 & 9!) Wed & Thurs 8Am to 2:30 or 3 then Fridays 5 or 6 AM to anywhere from 9 to noon depending on how quickly my daughter-in-law can get finished for the week. Did I mention he's two yrs old? Did I mention I AM EXHAUSTED? And this is just my first full week!

    He is a very happy & compliant little boy but I am his grammy (Wawa to him...who knows where that came from) so I rarely tell him no. I'm ready to do whatever he wants to do if I am physically able to do it. I hope I don't ruin him for life.

    So I'm spending my days laughing a lot, forgetting the rest of the world & living in a constantly messy house. My nights I crash. The only crafting I'm doing is play dough sculptures, sand castles & coloring with crayons.

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    1. Jenny, you must be exhausted! I have 6 great nieces all under the age of 6 and sometimes I baby-sit. It's a whole different ball game than when I was in my 30's chasing toddlers. After 2 hours I'm ready for a nap. I'm sure you are having a ball, enjoying him, but I totally get it. Have fun with those play dough sculptures! I love that stuff...take care!

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  11. Thank you for the reminder - now would be a great time to wash the slipcovers on the sofa!!

    Wow, your girls are just as talented as you, lucky them!!

    I'm about to go put my eyeballs in (contacts) and get into my work clothes and see if I can get one garden bed cleaned out before the rains come. Nothing in bloom here yet (lucky you!) but it won't be tooooooooooooo much longer. Gloomy week ahead though, no sunshine in sight.....sad. I'm loving working from home but I have a busy week ahead with virtual training, management and sales meetings, and dealing with anxious wedding couples. I could use some sunshine and flowers for sure!

    Be safe, my friend xoxo

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    1. It's raining here too, today, Deb. Not thrilled about it, except maybe it'll keep more people inside. I've been thinking about you and all those anxious couples. We know several people who've had to cancel weddings recently. That makes me sad. I hope you get some sunshine and into that garden this week. Take care my friend. xxoo

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  12. You are teaching your daughters such important skills! Creativeness is born out of necessity--and that's part of something I read somewhere probably but still so true. The children and young people of today will have so many stories to tell their children and grands someday, won't they? And a lot of the stories will be heartwarming not sad. It made my day on FB this morning to see pictures of our son and daughter-in-law having a special at-home dance last night to replace the cancelled Father-Daughter dance at their elementary school. Pretty dresses and hairdos, flowers given by their father and all. And of course fun snacks on trays instead of supper at the dinner table.

    Your fabric is lovely and I'm so glad it came out fine for you. But anything to make all this disinfecting easier, right? We're getting more done around the house and garden now but not nearly as much as I thought we would. Where does the time go?

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    1. Oh Dewena, your family's dance sounds so sweet. I bet there's a lot of that going on right now all over the country. I know these kids are forgoing a lot of special events. I too have seen the virtual birthday parties, kids having Netflix group watching parties and adult ZOOM cocktail parties. Where there's a will there's a way. My own daughter will be having a virtual college graduation ceremony. Four years of intense study and Dean's List placement deserves more than a video commemoration, but right now, it'll have to do. Please take care...

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  13. This is the perfect time to do projects around the house Kim. It's great that you cleaned the fabric you had on the kitchen door. I love that your daughters are sewing and refashioning their outfits. I am keeping myself so busy with crocheting, cooking, and doing Zoom Zumba classes with some of my gym friends. I just ordered online lettuce & veggie seeds, and trays to start planting to transplant into my pots for a veggie garden. I look forward to some gardening soon. Hope you enjoy the weekend. Stay safe and be well. :)

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    1. Julie, I would love to do some gardening now. A lot of local nurseries around here are delivering. I think if my husband gets some mulch, I’m going to add on a few items of my own! :)

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  14. You have spiked my interest... what is TicTok? It sounds fun!
    Turning out attention towards home is a comfort and busy thing. I have enjoyed seeing what others are doing. You are always way ahead of the curve!

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    1. Tik Tok is a newer very popular social media platform with the kids. I don’t understand most of it, to be honest, but they’re having fun with it. The kids are the ones who are always ahead of the curve!

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  15. I still have a list of projects that need my attention and no there's no excuse. I actually did some sewing... after ripping out a seam 4 times I finally straightened out my machine's tension issue. Staying healthy and busy are the goals right now!

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    1. Oh Ann, been there! My daughter was actually there this week, too. I told her seam ripping was just all part of the game! And I agree, great goals.

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  16. You've been busy, Kim! I've started this lockdown with great plans, a lot of things that need doing around the house. It's been mostly crafting so far, if I'm honest. I hope to settle into some sort of routine and soon, it seems like an 'out-of-time' experience but you can only stay idle for so long... :-)
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. It really is time out-of-time, Amalia. A friend of mine lives in Jerusalem and last night she texted me at 2am our time…and I answered her back. She responded, Kim! Go to bed!! I texted back that we were ALL awake. Not only have we lost track of the days, but apparently we’ve lost track of time! Be well my friend! xo

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  17. It's so awesome to hear that the girls are getting into sewing and making over some of their cloths. My daughter took up embroidery. I never ever have thought that would happen, and she's really good too :D Here in South Africa we've been in full lock down since last week, but fortunately I can still support my African banking clients remotely so it's business as usual except I get to stay in my PJs all day :D Stay safe Kim <3

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    1. PJs are awesome, Michelle. I've been spending a lot of time in my own. Embroidery sounds lovely. I really thought that sewing and embroidery were fading crafts, but I'm glad to see they are. Take care my friend.

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  18. Kim, I'm glad the fabric came out so well. It is so beautiful, I'm glad it held up. I loved it as your kitchen skirt, but the doors look great too. It is nice to have a change once in awhile. Stay well my friend..xxoJudy

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    1. Thank you, Judy. I’m glad it didn’t get ruined. I was a little worried, but it needed to be cleaned…and it passed a few hours in a meaningful way. That was a nice distraction. Take care…xoxo

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