How to remove stains from fabric furniture

When you've spilt something you need to act fast, the longer you take, the harder it will be to remove the stain later. The type of damage limitation you need will depend on what type of spill you're dealing with.

Follow these steps to make sure the stain doesn't set:

  • Test your cleaning product 

    Use your cleaning product on a hidden area just in case it causes loss of colour, dark rings or shrinkage.

  • Check it 

    Consult the furniture's cleaning code for guidance.  This is usually found under the seat cushions.

  • Do not scrub or rub the surface

    Use a clean white cloth to apply cleaning fluid in a blotting motion, working from the outside in. Try not to get the stain area too moist when you do this.

  • Dry it 

    As soon as you've cleaned the spot, brush gently with a clean dry cloth to blend the edges and dry with a fan to prevent rings forming.

  • Swab it 

    With small stains, use a cotton swab to apply the cleaner and to remove stains.

  • Repeat it 

    If a stain won't budge, repeat these steps until it does.

Be prepared in case it happens again.

Acting quickly is critical for preventing a permanent stain, so make sure you've got the right stain-busting products for the job and you'll never be caught unprepared.

Liquid spills

The majority of liquid stains must be dealt with whilst they're still damp, especially hot tea or coffee stains – once they set it'll be a lot more difficult to remove them later.

Always use white absorbent cloths or paper towels to gently blot up the liquid – rubbing will damage the fabric.

Solid spills (e.g. food)

Gently remove what you can using a spoon or other blunt object. Then treat as a liquid spill.

Dry spills (e.g. ash or make-up)

Don't be tempted to wet the area, as liquid will only make this type of stain worse. First vacuum the area, then beat with a flat object. Use a spot cleaner for any remaining stain.

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