Furniture is one of the biggest investments you can make in your home. Small wonder why it’s so important to keep them in top shape, free of dirt and grime, wear and tear and unpleasant stains.
Thanks to today’s fabrics, keeping your comfortable chairs and sofas looking like new is easier than ever. Every couple months you should vacuum the nooks and crannies under the cushions and dust or vacuum the surface to remove any dirt. Crumbs, loose change and other items can create wear spots on the underside of the cushions, so make sure you brush them out. Every six months or so you should flip the cushions to even out the wear.
Every fabric needs to be cleaned differently, so you want to check with the manufacturer’s information or look on the tag to see recommendations for your particular chair or sofa.
Always start by cleaning just a small spot in an inconspicuous place. Once you’re certain there’s no damage or discoloration, you can confidently clean the rest of the furniture.
If you need to clean specific stains, here are the most common treatments:
Butter – Apply a bit of dry cleaning solvent (available at most retail stores) with a clean white cloth. Don’t rub it in. Instead, blot it. Then take a tablespoon of mild detergent and mix it with a cup of warm water. Blot the stain, and then use a soft towel to remove any of the remaining detergent. Let the stain air-dry.
Oily Cheese – Use a teaspoon of mild detergent and mix it with a cup of warm water. Blot the stain with a clean white towel. Then use a tablespoon of ammonia that has been mixed with a cup of water and blot the spot again. Finally, use clean water to remove any remaining cleaning agents and allow the stain to dry.
Ink – This can be a tough stain to remove, but you can use any one of the following methods: 1) Spray hairspray onto a white towel and then dab the stain. Blot it dry with a different towel. 2) Use some rubbing alcohol on a white towel. Blot it with a dry towel to remove excess moisture and air dry. 3) Apply a small amount of spirits of turpentine or nail polish remover to a clean, white towel and carefully blot the stain. 4) Commercial products like Carbona may also do the trick.
Coffee – In a cup of water mix a teaspoon of mild detergent. Blot the stain with a clean, white towel. Then blot it again with a mixture of water and vinegar. Use another towel to soak up the excess liquid.
Red Wine – We all know that club soda sponged into a red wine stain will remove it. But did you know that sponging white wine onto the stain could do the same thing? If these fail, try shaving cream. Foam it in, then blot it back out with a clean, white towel.
Regardless of the type of stain, remember always take these precautions. First, never rub the stain. This will only drive it deeper into the fibers and you may end up with a mark that’s permanent. Never apply heat. While it may be tempting to speed dry a treated stain with a blow dryer, heat can set a stain so that it can never be removed. Finally, if the stain doesn’t come out immediately, let the fabric rest for a day or two and then treat it again. If these measures fail to remove the stain, it’s time to call in a professional. They often have access to techniques and treatments that aren’t available to homeowners.