Upholstery fabric stains present larger problems than your average clothing stain, for one, the cost of replacing a sofa or chair is much larger than a shirt or skirt. We've tried to make it easy with our top ten tips for getting rid of unsightly sofa stains.
Upholstery fabrics made from natural fibers and / or dyes or finishes may require special treatment so it's wise to heed the advice of your upholstery fabric manufacturer. Fortunately most have made it easy for us by categorizing their fabrics according to these simple codes:
S – Solvent clean (that is "dry-cleaning")
W – Water clean
WS – Water or Solvent clean
X – No liquids, vacuum clean only
Where accidents happen, follow these tested and tested steps toward fast and easy stain removal:
1. Always test your chosen potion on an inconspicuous area of your upholstery before applying to your stain, and analyze the result.
2. Act fast: as a rule of thumb, the longer a stain sets, the harder it is to remove so fast action is definitely a step in the right direction.
3. Wet stains – blot a white cloth on the area to absorb any excess moisture. Do not rub.
4. Thick stains – leave the stain to dry and brush off the residue.
5. For non-protein based fabrics (ie "W" or "WS" fabrics: acetate, herculon, nylon, olefin and polyester), rinse the stain in pure water, blot with a white cloth, rinse, blot, rinse, Until the stain disappears. For more stubborn stains rub in a mild, water soluble detergent into the area in a circular fashion, and then continue the rinse, blot, rinse cycle again until the stain lifts.
6. For protein based fabrics (ie. "S" fabrics: cotton, linen, rayon, silk and wool) apply water free solvents or dry cleaning products (to avoid water stains) to the area and gently rub, rinse and blot.
7. Blood: mix 2 tablespoons of table salt with 1 quart of water and apply the rinse, blot, rinse technique. If the stain persists, try applying a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide.
8. Organic dye stains like juice, wine, mustard: spot clean with water-based cleaner ie. Stain magic, or dab with a mixture of 1 part vinegar and three parts water.
9. Red Wine: mix equal parts of soap detergent and hydrogen peroxide and rub, or dash or spray over your stain. Keep in mind that they hydrogen peroxide could well lighten some dyes so test this method first.
10. Ink: spray hairspray on the area and wash as usual.
Upholstery fabric manufacturers usually suggest regular vacuuming to remove dust and allergens from fabric, as well as professional upholstery cleaning once per year to maximize the life of the fabric.