8 Magic Secrets to Cleaning Stains Out of Upholstery

Published by Topher Gabellini on

Wine, spaghetti, pizza, chances are not in your favor, one of these foods will sooner or later come to rest on your favorite chair or sofa. Since plastic covers for furniture are out of style the only solution is to learn how to remove that enemy of a spot! Here is a general guide to removing stains from your upholstered furniture:

Know the fabric: check the furniture tag so you can determine the best method of stain removal. Letters are utilized to inform the customer on which cleaner is best to use on the fabric in question.

  • W: Spot clean with a water-based solution or mild detergent. It is best to use the foam produced by the solution to do the majority of the work.
  • S: Spot clean with a solvent only in a well-ventilated room (Toxic!). Cleaning with solvents may cause spotting and any water stains may be permanent.
  • SW: means spot clean with either solvent or water-based foam
  • X: means you are out of luck! Vacuum only! If you have children of pets, this was most likely not a good buying decision.

Try and remove excess soil or food product right away if at possible Children are notorious for spilling things in between the sofa cushions where you find it months later! The longer a spill stays on the fabric, the harder it is to remove. Vacuum the fabric as soon as you can. If the spill is thick, scrape the excess spill with a dull spoon or table knife.

Find an inconspicuous spot to test your cleaner. The bottom hem of the back of the sofa is great space spot!

If the fabric can be cleaned with water, use one gallon cool or warm water to about 5 teaspoons of mild dishwashing liquid. If the spill is grease or something that has caramelized sugar, your solution should be 50% white vinegar and 50% water. Get your math skills out for this one!

Don’t over-wet the fabric. Let the foam of the solution do most of the work. Blot it frequently, whether you are using water or solvent, and work from the outer edge to the center of the spot to help prevent rings.

Don’t rub the fabric too vigorously or it may pill and sometimes it will even push the stain deeper into the fabric.

Rinse the fabric with a clean sponge and clean water (unless you are using solvent).

Blot the liquid with an absorbent towel. Use a white cotton towel to avoid color transfer. Paper towels are great for this job. Some experts recommend placing a heavy weight over a thick layer of towels and replacing the towels periodically.


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