Up next in Stains & Laundry (80 videos)
No matter what you spilled on your clothes or furnishings, we can tell you how to get it out.
You Will Need
- Clean, white cloths
- Dishwashing liquid
- Rubbing alcohol
- Baking soda or cornstarch
- A vacuum with a hose attachment
- Dry-cleaning solvent
Clean stains immediately
Blot spills immediately with a clean, white cloth, and then clean the spot as quickly as you can. The more time that elapses, the more difficult it will be to remove stains.
Look at the label
For upholstered furniture, check for an instructions tag before attacking any stain. "W" means you can spot-clean the item with water-based detergent. "S" indicates cleaning with a water-free product, like dry-cleaning solvent. "SW" means you can use either water or a dry-cleaning product. "X" means the item should be professionally cleaned.
Test a small area
You have several options for washable upholstery, depending on the stain. Test an inconspicuous area of the furniture before applying any product.
Fight food stains
Get most food and beverage stains out by swishing 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid with 2 cups of cool water and dabbing the resultant suds onto the stain with a clean, white cloth. Blot until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat the dabbing and blotting until the stain is gone. Dab with cold water and blot dry.
Be berry careful
For berry stains, follow the previous procedure, but replace the dishwashing liquid solution with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 2/3 of a cup of rubbing alcohol.
If gravy, margarine, mayonnaise, cooking oil, or butter has left grease marks, sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on it, let it stand for about 15 minutes, then vacuum. Then apply a dry-cleaning solvent to the area with a clean, white cloth, blotting it until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat with solvent as needed.
Know some exceptions
With peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, and yogurt stains, even on washable upholstery, use dry-cleaning solvent, available online. Apply it with a clean, white cloth, blotting, and repeating until the stain is gone.