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14 ways to remove stains from your sofa

No matter how much you care and look after your fabric sofa, unfortunately accidents happen. A stain or spillage doesn’t have to ruin the look of your fabric sofa if you act fast and follow the tips in this article. Doing this will put the chances of removal in your favor.

Most common sofa stain culprits:

  • Grease from food, chips, sauces;
  • Red wine and fruit juices;
  • Ballpoint pen ink;
  • Pet urine.


  • To avoid affecting dyes or fabric, test a small, inconspicuous area with your stain treatment before trying a large area.
  • Check your care tag to see if your fabric is machine washable. If so, you may be able to remove the covers and wash gently. Place the covers back on the cushions while they are still damp, so that they do not shrink.
  • Never use bleach on sofa covers as most materials will discolour badly and ruin your sofa.


Method #1: Bicarbonate or corn starch. Cover the stained area with talc powder, corn starch or bicarbonate of soda.
Allow the powder to sit on the stain for at least 15 to 20 minutes to help absorb the grease and pull it out of the fabric.
Remove the powder with a vacuum cleaner.

Method #2: Dish soap. Cover the grease stain with a bit of mild dish soap and let it sit for a few minutes. The detergent will help cut the grease and make it easier to wash away.
Using a cloth with a bit of warm water, rinse the affected area of the upholstery.

Method #3: Ammonia. Mix equal parts water and ammonia together.
Test a hidden area first to ensure there is no damage to the color or texture of the upholstery.
If all goes well, blot the mixture onto the stained area. Never scrub a stain or you will end up damaging the fabric of your sofa.

Method #4: Baby wipes. Use baby wipes or glass cleaner wipes to clean the stain. The alcohol in these wipes helps remove the grease.

Method #5: If after following these steps the grease stain still remains, dampen a cloth with a solution of equal parts of hydrogen peroxide 3% and water and scrub the stain to lift any remaining grease.

Method #6:  If the stain is really stubborn, spray on a citrus degreaser. These are effective in removing all kinds of grease stains. Rinse by blotting with a cloth moistened with plain water, or using a wet vac and allow the area to dry completely.


Method #7: Vinegar. Spray a little vinegar and water to get this stain and smell out of your sofa.
Sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda on the spot to take care of the smell and help absorb moisture from inside the sofa as well.


Method #8: Salty water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to 500 ml of cold water, placed in a bowl. Dampen a clean cloth in this mixture and blot the stain. Let the blood stained fabric soak in the salty water for about 20 minutes before using a soft brush to gently scrub and remove the blood stain from the fabric fibers. In many cases, the blood stain will be removed completely by the end of this step.

Method #9: Hydrogen Peroxide. Use Hydrogen Peroxide to remove stubborn or dried blood stains from fabric. Tip: Just remember every fabric responds differently, so test a hidden area first before you do the whole sofa to prevent discoloration. If it doesn’t change the colour of the fabric, go ahead.
Pour a bit of hydrogen peroxide over the stain, rub gently with a toothbrush and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes. The stain will start to fade. Come back to check the progress and if needed, reapply the peroxide and leave it for another 10 minutes.
Rinse with a damp cloth and let it air dry.


Method #10: Sparkling water. Apply a cloth immediately and clear up any excess liquid.
Firmly press cloth against the stain but do not scrub at this stage otherwise you might spread the stain making it worse.
Pour a small amount of sparkling water on the stain and continue to blot.
If the stain is a real stubborn one, then pour baking soda on the stain to absorb it. Leave it for a few hours till it dries.
Clean up the residue.


Method #11: Vinegar and alcohol. Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar with 2/3 cup of rubbing alcohol.
Using a clean white cloth, blot the stain with the vinegar and alcohol solution.
Blot repeatedly until the stain disappears.
Sponge with cold water and let it air dry.

Method #12: Hydrogen peroxide as described in #9 is also effective for removing fruit juice stains.


TIP: Remember to never rub in an ink stain, it will only make it worse! Always blot.

Method #13: Alcohol. Ink stains often come out with rubbing alcohol. Use 90% isopropyl alcohol but you can use 70% if that’s the only one you have. First, test the alcohol in an inconspicuous place of the couch to make sure that it won’t damage the material.
Apply rubbing alcohol on a clean white cloth. Do not pour alcohol directly on the stain.
Dab the ink stain with the cloth carefully. Do not rub or wipe. Rubbing will cause the stain to spread.
Repeat the process until the cloth is not absorbing any more of the ink. Make sure to change the cloth when it is saturated with ink.
Clean and rinse the area thoroughly with clean water.
Dry the area with a towel.

Method #14: Vinegar and dish washing soap. Combine 1 tablespoon of dish washing soap, 2 teaspoons of white vinegar and 1 cup of water in a small bowl.
Dab the solution on the stained area using a soft cloth.
Rub gently. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
Clean and rinse the affected area with a soft cloth damped with cold water. Rinse the affected area thoroughly until the solution is completely gone.

If your sofa has a large or particularly stubborn stain, it can be a good idea to buy sofa covers to hide the stain or use a dry cleaning service. Sometimes it is worth spending a bit more money rather than constantly being annoyed at having a stain on your sofa.

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