Removing stains from furniture is one of the jobs that strikes fear into the heart of any homeowner. Because a sofa or a chair tends to be one of the focal points for a living area and something the eye will always be drawn to, it’s important for it to look clean at all times.
From mud and wine to ink and chocolate, stains can be extremely difficult to get out of upholstery without damaging the fabric or affecting the colour underneath. You want to get the stains out quickly but you don’t want to ruin your furniture – how can you do it?
If your sofa cushions have removable covers that unzip, you should be able to put them in the washing machine or take them to the dry cleaner to get any stains out. This is a major advantage of sofas of this type – it’s the sofas that don’t have removable covers that present more of a problem.
It’s always easiest to clean stains when they’ve just occurred – for surface stains that aren’t yet ingrained, you can use baby wipes or white vinegar poured onto a cloth to gently lift them up and restore your upholstery to its normal state immediately. As long as you don’t oversaturate it, there should be no negative effects, though remember to air the spot for as long as you can to get rid of the smell if you are using vinegar.
Stains that have been allowed to set into upholstery will be more difficult to get out than stains which you deal with soon after they happen. While you may have to work a little harder and try a few more techniques to remove the stain once and for all, it is unlikely to be a permanent problem.
1) Vacuum the affected area – you’d be surprised at how much difference the suction can make in lifting up surface dirt. Vacuuming your furniture should be a weekly habit, as the cleaner it is, the easier it will be to remove stains that might occur.
2) Use a cloth soaked with a mixture of soap or mild detergent and water to blot the stain and begin to lift up some of the mid-level dirt that should have been exposed by the vacuum. Dry the stain with a clean cloth and water and repeat until the stain is completely gone.
3) If the stain is still there and hasn’t demonstrably faded, use a specific upholstery cleaner, having first tested it on your furniture in a discreet spot, and follow the directions the manufacturer specifies.
4) If you’re in a hurry, use a hairdryer to dry the area.
Different types of stains
Many people have different methods of dealing with specific stain types that they swear by, but it’s worth remembering that the methods which work for them won’t necessarily work for you. Ensure that you can use the same products they recommend and that those products won’t adversely affect your sofa or chair.
Fabric sofas are difficult enough to remove stains from, but leather sofas are completely different. Water will stain them, so you can’t use a water-soluble solution. The easiest thing to do is invest in a few specialist leather cleaning products which are designed to remove stains without damaging the leather. Some people additionally opt for steam cleaning which, while it is effective in terms of removing surface dirt, won’t penetrate the leather to remove the more stubborn stains.
The method you use to sort out your sofa stains will depend on the stain, fabric type and length of time the stain has been on the sofa. No stain is unresolvable, but you must be careful not to damage the upholstery while you remove it. Tackling stains at the earliest opportunity will make your job a lot easier and enable you to restore your furniture to its full glory.