How to Remove Stains From Upholstery

Remove stains from upholstery using the techniques shown here no matter what the cause. Whether it's your beloved sofa, a padded dining chair, or your car's seats, stains on upholstery need to be removed as they can make your home and car look less than fresh. You may have tried cleaning upholstery before, only to find that it looks worse than it did before you tried to clean it. The good news is, when you use the right tools and cleaning products, removing stains from upholstery - be it furniture or auto seats - is entirely possible.

Remove Stains from Upholstery

When you use the right tools and cleaning products, you can get stains out of upholstered furniture and auto seats is. The trick is often using the right product, at the right time, in just the right way.

Removing Stains From Washable Furniture Upholstery

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • Laundry Detergent
  • Laundry Stain Remover
  • Clean Rags

Furniture makers have finally responded to our pleas for sofas, chairs and other furniture items that we can clean with ease by outfitting many modern furniture pieces with removable cushion covers or slipcovers that can go in the washer and come out looking great.

Removing stains from washable furniture upholstery is often just this simple:

  1. Blot up any fresh liquid or semi-solid spills from your furniture.
  2. Locate your furniture's upholstery care tag, and make sure the item truly is washable.
  3. Remove the slipcover, cushion cover, or other washable item.
  4. Treat the stain with laundry stain remover, and wash the cover according to directions.
  5. Hang to dry. Check the stain, and re-wash if any stain remains.
  6. Treat any stain that may have penetrated the fabric and soaked into the cushion or other part of the furniture. Clean it with a damp rag and a tiny bit of laundry detergent. Allow to dry fully before replacing the slipcover.

Removing Stains From Furniture Upholstery That is Not Washable

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • Upholstery Cleaner/Dry Cleaning Solvent
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Clean Rags

Cleaning upholstered items that can't be thrown in the wash is often a challenge. The way to remove stains from this kind of furniture is as much to do with technique as the products used. Saturating these stains with water or other cleaners often makes them even more noticeable, and using the wrong type of product doesn't help. Use foam upholstery cleaner when ever possible, and take care not to oversaturate a stain.

As a general rule, you should never attempt to remove an upholstery stain without checking your furniture's fabric care label. Most upholstery requires you to use upholstery cleaner or dry cleaning solvent to remove stains. Using the wrong product can ruin a perfectly good piece of furniture, so check it to determine what products are safe to use on the fabric.

  1. Blot up any fresh liquid or semi-solid spills from your furniture.
  2. Locate your furniture's upholstery care tag, and determine whether upholstery cleaner or dry cleaning solvent is recommended for removing stains.
  3. If the stain is on a removable cushion cover, remove the cover and treat any stain that may have penetrated the fabric and soaked into the cushion. Clean the cushion with a damp rag and a tiny bit of laundry detergent. Allow to dry fully before replacing the slipcover.
  4. Apply either upholstery cleaner or dry cleaning solvent to a clean rag.
  5. Gently the blot the stain with the rag, then wipe with a dry section of rag. Repeat until the stain is gone.
  6. Allow a cushion cover to dry before putting it back on the cushion. For other treated areas, allow these to dry fully before reusing the furniture.

Removing Stains From Car Upholstery

What You'll Need Before You Start:

  • Upholstery Cleaner/Dry Cleaning Solvent
  • Clean Rags

Car upholstery is especially vulnerable to stains. From fast food to dirt to mud, nearly every stain-causing agent known to man will eventually make it's way into your car. Removing these stains quickly can help you keep your car in like-new condition.

  1. Blot up any fresh liquid or semi-solid spills from your car upholstery.
  2. Locate your furniture's upholstery care tag, and determine whether upholstery cleaner or dry
  3. Apply either upholstery cleaner to a clean rag.
  4. Gently the blot the stain with the rag, then wipe with a dry section of rag. Repeat until the stain is gone.
  5. Allow treated areas to dry fully before using the car.

Always take care when cleaning upholstered items not to damage the fabric by scrubbing too vigorously. Use gentle scrubbing motions when removing a stain, and take care to use a lint-free cleaning rag that will not damage the fabric's fibers, or bleed onto the fabric. This handy guide to stains will help you identify the stain agent and remove it with ease.