One of the first instincts that most people have, when there is an issue with the appearance of old furniture, is to cover the damage or stain. There are several ways to go about this that require varying levels of effort.
Firstly, you could flip the cushion (if this is possible). You might place a furniture cover over the chair, couch, loveseat, etc. These covers can be fitted or draped over the affected area. Just be aware that covering the area might not be enough to smooth over texture issues or hide smells.
In most cases, upholstery cleaning is best left to the professionals. There is always a chance that you can make a bigger mess when you improperly clean furniture. But if the choice is between making a cleaning attempt and throwing away the furniture, why not give it a shot.
For the best chance of positive results, we would certainly recommend calling an expert celanner. If you are really trying to save it from the trash bin, even in the worst situations, having a real chance of restoring the furniture makes the most sense.
Even with a clean look, there can still be a lingering smell on a piece of furniture. Most people try to cover up or mask a scent rather than eliminate it at its source. If this smell is the result of a toxic chemical or allergen, you will not reduce symptoms or improve air quality by covering up the smell.
A true deodorizing cleaning agent will remove the smell by neutralizing or eliminating the substance responsible for the smell. A properly trained cleaner knows that an odor is a sign that remnants of the mess still exist. The smell of a stain must be removed to get the best cleaning result.
Ideally you would clean and deodorize your furniture before denoting it. But even if you choose to donate a distressed piece of furniture, there may be someone who is willing to do the cleaning themselves. They may even be fine covering the problematic area.
Just because the furniture is no longer up to your standards, it might be nicer than someone less privileged could afford. You can always pay it forward and donate via an online site or spend the time to drop it off at a charitable association.
If you are looking to make a smaller impact on the environment, or desire to be a bit more charitable, don’t throw out your old furniture. Cleaning upholstery is a great way to restore the luster to worn out and stained couches, chairs, love seats, etc.
Don’t let your furniture waste away in a landfill when the only issues are aesthetic. It is much better to clean something than to completely get rid of it. If you are not interested in keeping your furniture after it is cleaned, it will still make the next person who receives it that much happier.