Several of my recent furniture acquisitions had stains and general dinginess to the fabric (hence the low prices on them ;-) I knew a good cleaning would take care of most of it, so I rented a Rug Doctor at Home Depot with a gift card and went to town, taking care of some carpet and rugs in the meantime.
The most dramatic improvement was seen in this upholstered club chair and ottoman I just bought last week. I got it from a woman with two small kids and a cat, so it showed lots of grubby fingers, various beverage stains, pet hair, and the occasional marker and paint scribble. It took about two compete passes and a third spot treatment to get it decent-looking. I won't even tell you how dark and dirty the collected water was, but suffice it to say, I knew the machine was working!
I still plan to make fitted arm covers for the rolled arms, as they bore the brunt of the wear and tear, but that will just give me a chance to use some complimentary material in a fun and functional way (I went digging through my fabric closet and found a favorite print I bought almost a year ago; now I have the perfect use for it)! Here's the before and after Rug Doctor makeover.