First and foremost, you should consider which type of fabric is used for your upholstery. Cleaning solvents will not react the same way to each type of fabric. You should check the manufacturer’s label on your furniture and at the very least determine whether the upholstery is made from synthetic or natural fabrics. Synthetic fabrics can typically be cleaned easily and safely without concern for damaging the upholstery. However, natural or natural/synthetic blends are a bit trickier. You should test your cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous spot on your furniture to be sure it doesn’t distort the colour of the upholstery. If your upholstery contains more than 50% cotton, you should always seek professional cleaning, especially for large, dark stains on noticeable parts of the furniture.
Size and Location of the Stain
Another important consideration is the size and location of the stain. Small, hidden stains can be cleaned more easily, and as already mentioned you don’t need to worry about bleaching or otherwise distorting the colour of your upholstery. If you’re dealing with a large stain, you probably want to consider getting professional help regardless of the type of fabric of your upholstery. Similarly, it’s important to treat stains immediately after they occur; so if you’re dealing with a set-in stain you may have more difficulty.
- If you’ve decided you’re ready to clean the stain on your own, these tips should help you get the best results.
- Use as little moisture as possible when cleaning upholstery. Spot removers are often a better alternative, but if you must use a water-based approach, remember that a lot of water is unnecessary and may damage your furniture.
- Spot cleaners and upholstery stains work best on organic stains, but they are usually useless for removing grease or oil stains.
- If you have young toddlers or infants, try baby wipes to clean your furniture. They have just the right amount of soap and water while providing a gentle cleaning option.
- To clean coffee stains, combine a small amount of dish detergent, water, and vinegar and dampen a wash cloth. Dab the coffee stain lightly until it disappears.
- Mold and mildew stains can be removed with a solution of a quarter cup hydrogen peroxide with a quarter teaspoon of colour-safe bleach. Dip a cloth in the solution and lightly rub the stain; clean the area with a cloth dipped in clean water.