How to remove stains from your sofa

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You can be as careful as possible with your sofa, but sometimes accidents do happen. Don’t worry, it is possible to clean and make even the most stubborn stains disappear. All it needs is a little elbow grease and the right ingredients; bespoke furniture experts James and Rose is here to tell you more.

Which cleaning products should you use?

Upholstery cleaning products are easy to get your hands on, but there are plenty of items in and around the home that can be used to clean your furniture.

  • Warm water and very mild laundry detergent. This should be mixed well together to create plenty of suds and bubbles.

  • Baby wipes. These should be a staple tool in your upholstery-cleaning kit. They are very gentle so there’s no chance of damage, and they aren’t too wet so they won’t completely soak your sofa.

  • White vinegar. This should be the first thing you reach for when removing surface stains, but be sure to follow up with soapy water for a deep clean. Make sure to use near an open window if possible to reduce the smell.

Five step cleaning process

These are more guidelines than actual rules – there’s no set scientific formula for cleaning your furniture. But the techniques listed below should help to clear things up. Try and test to find the method that works best for you and your upholstery.

1. Blot, blot, blot

As soon as you notice the spill has happened, blot up as much excess as you can with a clean folded towel. Never ever rub at the stain, always blot.

2. Hoover first

Before applying any products, give the area a good vacuum to remove as much dirt and dust on the surface as possible. Make sure you use the correct attachment to avoid damage to your sofa – the soft brush is perfect for this.

3. Spot clean

This is where the baby wipes come in handy. Or if you don’t have any, white vinegar applied to a strong microfiber cloth. Apply either to obvious stained patches, wiping very gently as you work. If this is your first time cleaning, test any products on an inconspicuous part of the sofa before tackling the stain.

4. Deeper clean

Now it’s time to bring out the soapy water. Using a clean microfiber cloth, gently wipe the area with the solution, being sure to allow it to soak in and deal with the dirt underneath. But be very careful not to saturate the material, so only use a small amount at a time.

5. Dry

It’s understandable that you may be tempted to get a hairdryer on the affected area – you want to sit on your sofa, after all – but allowing it to air dry naturally is much better. It’s well worth the patience. To speed up the process a bit, place the drying cushions near an open window and let the breeze work its magic.

Last hope

If the stain has survived your attempts so far then you know for a fact that you are dealing with something very stubborn. Now might be the time to call in the professionals. These people remove stains like this for a living, so if all your efforts have failed so far get them in as soon as possible. The longer a stain is sat there, the more difficult it becomes to remove.

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