Tips For Cleaning Spills And Stains Off Upholstered Furniture


Children and pets can be hard on furniture, so learning how to effectively remove spots and stains from upholstery is usually your best defense. A few common household products and some elbow grease are all you need to safely clean up spills that landed on a couch, chair or ottoman. The following tips will help you bring back the beauty of any upholstered piece in your home.

What You Need

As long as you have these products on hand, you can remove many types of ugly spills and spots from your upholstered furniture:

Before You Start

Keep these tips in mind before you attempt to clean up a spill from an upholstered surface:

  • Test a small area: Make sure you test a small, inconspicuous area of the upholstered item before you apply any new cleaning products to it. This will help ensure that the product you plan to use won't damage the upholstered item.
  • Blot, don't rub: Never use a rubbing motion to clean a spot off your upholstery. Blot it instead because rubbing will likely embed the stain into the material, making it harder to remove.
  • Vacuum first: Vacuum the surface before you apply any product to your upholstered furniture. Using the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner will help remove surface dust and any lightly ground-in dirt or debris from the upholstery fabric.

Removing Red Juice and Wine Spills

If you catch the spill immediately, try blotting it clean with a baby wipe, first. Baby wipes are gentle and not overly saturated so they work great at safely removing liquid spills. If a spot remains on the fabric after cleaning it with the baby wipe, follow these steps:

  1. Mix 2/3 cup of rubbing alcohol with one teaspoon of white vinegar.
  2. Dip a lint-free cloth into the mixture and apply it to the spot with a firm blotting action.
  3. Once the spot is removed, let it air-dry.

Removing Oily Stains

If a stain is created by something oily, like mayonnaise, peanut butter or cooking oil, these steps will help you remove it from your upholstered furniture:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda (or cornstarch) onto the stain and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
  2. Vacuum the baking soda from the surface of the stain.
  3. Apply dry cleaning solvent to the stain with a white cloth using a blotting action.
  4. Continue blotting until the stain is removed, then allow it to air-dry.

Removing Tomato Stains

Tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce and ketchup stains can usually be removed in just a few easy steps:

  1. Blot off the excess sauce with a baby wipe.
  2. Using a white cloth, apply dry cleaning solvent to the spot using a blotting action.
  3. Repeat the blotting action until the stain is removed, then allow the area to air-dry naturally.

Removing Most Other Types of Food and Drink Stains

For stains created by foods and drinks other than those previously mentioned, you can typically remove them using this easy technique:

  1. Gently mix (without creating too many suds) one tablespoon of mild laundry detergent with two cups of cool water.
  2. Dip a colorfast cloth into the mixture and apply it to the stain with a blotting action.
  3. Continue to blot it until the spot disappears.
  4. Rinse the area by dabbing it a few times with plain, cool water.
  5. Using a dry, lint-free cloth, blot it as dry as you can.
  6. Allow the fabric to naturally air-dry.

After cleaning any of these stains from your upholstered furniture, you can use a blow dryer to dry them, if necessary. However, allowing them to naturally air-dry provides the best results if you aren't pressed for time. To shorten the drying process, try opening windows and turning on fans to create a breeze.


16 October 2014