Guide for Reuse, Repair, Recycling, and Safe Disposal
for Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and the City of Palo Alto

Furniture Repair

Repairing, reusing, repair, reupholstering, and remanufacturing poor condition furniture is good for people, the planet, and the business according to the Center for Environmental Health.

The following furniture repair recommendations may prolong the lifespan of your current furnishings and reduce the need to buy replacement furniture.

Repairing and Cleaning - DIY

Wood Repair

Leather Stain Removal

Fabric Repair:


This process includes removing the old upholstery and batting and applying a new covering to the original furniture frame. Recovering is simply putting new fabric over the old fabric. For the best results look for a local professional as they will have all the proper tools, materials, and knowledge. If you choose to reupholster yourself, here are some helpful tips:

  • Review videos and instructions and make sure you have the right equipment, such as a sewing machine, staple gun, strip tacks, fabric glue, etc.
  • For beginners, Pick furniture that is easy in design, such as dining room table chairs or a headboard. Look at the bottom frame and make sure it's hardwood and kiln-dried. Check for strong, intact corner braces and stable construction.
  • Avoid using thick fabric like leather and vinyl, because they can be very difficult to work with. Take into consideration how the furniture will be used. For example, if the furniture will be exposed to food and liquids, consider a liquid repelling fabric. If in a bedroom, consider softer material.
  • Before deconstructing to remove the old fabric and batting, review how it is currently constructed. Take a picture(s) for reference.
  • Before choosing to work with an upholsterer, ask your friends who they recommend. Sites like Thumbtack and the National Upholstery Association can also help you with your search.

Expert Furniture Repair

Find furniture repair and reupholster vendors, as well as boat and vehicle reupholsterers in RE:Source Guide.

New Furniture

If you need to purchase new furniture, use the Center for Environmental Health's guide to Choosing Healthier Furniture.

When bringing in new furnishings to your home, consider learning more about sustainable furnishings and follow these guidelines to reduce indoor air pollution including:

  • Acquire used furniture; air it out; avoid particleboard; check certifications; and apply paints &/or chemicals outside

Note: No guarantees are given that any stain will be removed completely when following these guides and StopWaste accepts no responsibility for any damage.

Produced in partnership with CPSC.

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