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How to Remove All Types of Furniture Stains

How to Remove All Types of Furniture Stains

Are you dealing with a stubborn furniture stain?

We’ve all encountered furniture stains. From wine to mud, coffee, and grease, it can be a nightmare to clean.

The good thing is that it doesn’t have to be. Removing all types of furniture stains is easy if you know how. It all starts with doing research and knowing what kind of stain you’re dealing with.

From there, you only need to apply the right techniques and methods. While you remove the stains, you also have to be careful not to damage the furniture. For an in-depth guide on how to remove all types of furniture stains, read on.

Do Some Research First

Before you reach for an upholstery cleaner, you need to do some research. Every piece of furniture has its own requirements when it comes to cleaning. The vast majority of upholstered furniture, for example, has the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.

Finding this tag, usually behind or under the piece, is where you should start. It will give you advice about what sorts of cleaners and treatments that furniture can handle. The common symbols to look for are “W,” “S,” “WS,” and “X.”

“W” means that you can use water on that furniture freely. In contrast, “S” means no water. You’ll have to find a solvent-based cleaner instead.

“WS” means both water and solvent-based cleaners are safe. “X” means it should only ever be professionally cleaned. The only things you can do with an “X” is vacuum, brush, and dry-wipe it.

Following these instructions is vital. The last thing you want is to reach for something that ends up damaging your couch.

That said, not all pieces of furniture come with those instructions. You might also lose them if you ever did have them. It’s worth doing even more research into other surfaces.

Look into Other Surfaces

It’s a good idea to do some research on how to deal with different surfaces. Something like wood stains on your cabinet can be tricky to get rid of. Multi-surface cleaners are available in general stores but are often less effective.

You also don’t want to use a metal cleaner on wood or bleach on an upholstered couch. Using the wrong product can discolor your furniture and worsen the issue. It could also lead to stripping the paint or varnish off of wood or corroding and rusting metal.

If you aren’t sure about the fabric or surface you’re working with, look it up. Try to find a cleaner or treatment method that’s safe for your furniture. There are also professional cleaning services that can help.

Not All Stains Are Equal

Not all furniture stains are the same. If they were, then anyone with baking soda and a little elbow grease could take care of them.

Different kinds of stains require specific techniques to salvage the item. They range from wine stains to grease stains, spilled coffee, and even pet pee. We’ll go into the most common examples of furniture stains below.


Everyone loves a good wine party – except when it ends up on your nice white couch. Stains like wine can be harder to remove than blood, and this always depends on time.

The optimal window for getting rid of a wine stain on fabric is right when it happens. If you wait for the wine to sit and dry, you’ll be in for a few hours of scrubbing. Here’s what to do if you get a wine stain.

How to Deal with Wine Stains

The first thing you need to do is get rid of the excess liquid. Get a paper towel or a clean rag and dab the area – don’t scrub!

Scrubbing the affected area will only drive the stain further into the couch. You want to avoid that as much as possible. Blotting is the most effective way to pick up excess moisture.

Once you’ve picked up everything you can, move on to the next phase. Get some soda water. It doesn’t have to be fancy, as long as it’s carbonated.

Don’t use anything that’s flavored or has a ton of added minerals. Pour the carbonated water over the stain in small doses. Dab at it to dry it before pouring another dose.

You want the carbonated water agitate the fabric or upholstery to release some of the stain. Repeat it several times until you’re satisfied with the stain removal, or you can’t make any more progress.

If all else fails, use the holy grail of cleaning tips. Baking soda mixed with water can work miracles on most fabrics. For a red wine, stain go for 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/8 cup of water.

Aim to get a paste-like consistency. Apply the mixture over the stain like a plaster, and give it a few hours. You want it to dry on the stain.

After it’s 100% dry, vacuum it off and voila – the stain should be gone.

Oils and Grease

The best way to prevent oil and grease stains is to stay at the dinner table. However, some of us succumb to a lazy night in front of the TV for a show or movie.

This can range from the butter on your popcorn to the grease from fried chicken wings. Tons of sauces have oils as well, which can seep deep into your furniture. The good news is dealing with grease and oil stains isn’t as scary as you’d think.

Before we get into how to remove these stains, however, a small caveat is necessary. When you use any chemicals, such as dish detergents, you should make sure your furniture can handle them. These tips, like most of this guide, assume that you’ve checked for this first.

Dealing with Grease and Oil Stains

The first thing you need to do is lift the grease or oil from the furniture. Avoid scrubbing and instead reach for some baking soda.

You won’t have to mix it with water or apply it as a paste. Rather, you should sprinkle it over the stain like a light dusting of snow. Then you should leave it alone for around 20-30 minutes.

What the baking powder is doing is absorbing the oils in the stain, hence lifting it. Based on this premise, you don’t even have to use baking soda. Many people report success with cornstarch instead with the same process.

Once a suitable amount of time has passed, vacuum the area. Be sure to use an upholstery attachment for your vacuum. If you’re fast or dealing with leather, you might not even need the powder – the vacuum attachment will be enough.

The last step, if you still don’t like what you see, is to use a tiny bit of dish soap. You want to rub the dish soap into the area as gently as possible. Try to use a soft bristle toothbrush or something similar.

Don’t reach for the dish soap until you’ve tried the first two approaches. You run the risk of driving any surface oils into the fabric. The dish soap should help release the last remaining hints of grease from your furniture.

When done, dab the area with a damp paper towel to clean it.

Mud and Grime

Mud stains are inevitable if you live in a household with kids or pets. There is a method to it however, which you can do without always having to resort to chemical cleaners.

Dealing with Mud and Grime Stains

First things first, back away from the stain. It sounds crazy, but it’s necessary. Be patient and allow the stain to dry before touching it.

If you jump on that stain too soon, you’ll only scrub it into the fibers. Waiting for it to dry can make your job easier. You can dab the affected area with a paper towel or cloth to speed up the drying process.

This gives you the chance to scrape off dried-up debris with ease. A good vacuum can let you pick up the loose pieces. You want to get as much of it as you can out before you get the water and the sponge involved.

Once you’re ready to move on to the next stage, get some water and clear dish liquid. The ratio you’re looking for is 2 cups of water for every 1 tablespoon of soap. Take a sponge and dip it into the solution you made.

You want to apply the solution to the stain using that sponge. You don’t want to scrub, push, or force anything. Spread the solution to the area using only light pressure.

Dab it dry to pick up the solution and the released dirt. Repeat these steps until the stain is gone.

Coffee, Beer, and Blood

The good news is that coffee and beer stains are actually some of the easiest stains to deal with. Blood, on the other hand, has a reputation for being difficult. These tips help with all three types of stains.

Dealing with Coffee, Beer, and Blood Stains

If you’re dealing with a beer stain on your furniture, the first thing you should do is find an ice cube. Rubbing the ice cube onto the stain freezes the beer, turning it into microscopic crystals. This makes it easier to pick up and clean.

If you started by using hot water, you’ll only break down the proteins in the beer, causing it to sink deeper. This sounds far-fetched, but it’s a legitimate scientific phenomenon. This is why ice is a fantastic way to remove blood stains as well, from clothing as well as furniture.

Other strong stains, including tomato sauce, can also benefit from the ice cube trick.

Once you’re done with the ice, if the stain persists, go for a little bit of dish detergent and some lukewarm water. You shouldn’t need more than a teaspoon of soap for this.

What you’ll be doing is dipping a paper towel into the solution and dabbing at the stain. You’re trying to lift the stain, not scrub it away. If you’re dealing with coffee stains, you can skip the ice altogether.

Pet Pee

Have you brought home a new puppy or kitten? Potty training is often our first goal, but on a pet’s first night, they may not know where to go.

Pee stains can sink into your furniture, and the smell can last forever. It’s crucial to address pet stains as soon as you detect them.

The tried and tested formula is white vinegar. Mix it in a 1:1 ratio with cool water. It will not only lift the stain but deal with the bad smell as well.

Keep in mind not to soak the stain. What you want is to spritz only as much as you need on the area. Then use a paper towel or a clean rag to dab at the stain.

Start on the outside and work towards the middle. Repeat the process if you need to, but don’t go overboard with the solution. You’ll be stain-free before you know it.

Getting Rid of Furniture Stains

Now you know how to deal with the most common types of furniture stains. Oftentimes, the longer you leave them, the harder they’ll be to remove. By knowing how to deal with different types of stains, you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way.

Want to keep your house squeaky clean? Consider checking out our other blog posts. We have plenty of other guides to help you make cleaning a breeze.

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