How to Spot Clean Upholstery Stains

Don’t be put off by stained upholstery, there are several ways you can spot clean it to look as good as new!

How to Spot Clean Upholstery|Designers Sweet Spot Blog|

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Upholstery Stains

We don’t have a lot of upholstered furniture. It may sound odd, but the majority of our pieces are just wood, or they are painted wood. In our house we have a sofa and a few chairs that are upholstered but that’s it. I don’t spend a lot of time messing with cleaning upholstery now that our kids are grown, but I did today. My recent re-decorating of our living room is about complete, as I found the finishing touches at the thrift store this week.

These two fabulous side chairs were donated to the store, practically brand new. They have a bit of water damage on them, probably from one of our recent summer rainstorms. It looks like they were perhaps under a window that was left open during a storm. The water damage is mostly at the back of the chairs, and a little bit on the arm and back of the seat. You can see the slight stains in these photos. Sad for them, good for me because I scored these chairs for just $14.00 each!

Water Stained Chair Back|Designers Sweet Spot blog|

I was not concerned with the damage at all, water is just water and it does clean very easily. Here’s how to do it:

How to Spot Clean Upholstery

You will need the following supplies for cleaning water spots:

  1. Spray Bottle
  2. 3 Tablespoons White Vinegar (do not use other types of vinegar or they may make the stain worse)
  3. 2 Tablespoons Rubbing Alcohol
  4. 1/2 cup water
  5. Soft lint free cloth

Combine all the ingredients in the bottle, shake a bit to mix them up. Spray along the water stain and rub it in with the cloth. Stains need to be saturated in order for the alcohol to work and evaporate the stain. Let dry over night. Reapply if needed.

How to Spot Clean Upholestry|Designers Sweet Spot|

The Results

My stains disappeared overnight. I am thrilled! So glad to have saved these chairs from the dumping ground, as they were perfectly useable! These spots were easy to remove because I could tell they were water stains. How do you tell what sort of stain you have? Here are some things to consider:

  1. Water leaves a brownish ring at the edge of the stain, but not in the middle.
  2. Animal stains will smell, these are hard to clean and get the smell out completely. If these chairs had animal urine on them I would have not bought them.
  3. Stains such as wine or juice will leave a gritty residue. The chairs showed no signs of this. If you think you have wine stains on your upholestry try using hydrogen peroxide and dish soap to clean them. (Beware hydrogen peroxide is like a bleach, it may bleach dark colored fabrics.)
  4. The stains were mainly located on the back of the chairs. Therefore, they really aren’t visible at all from the front. For me, I decided that even if I made a mistake and made the stains worse, it wouldn’t matter because no one would really see it anyway. I was willing to risk the $14 to figure it out, which brings me to my next point.
  5. I prefer recycling to buying anything. Who wouldn’t rather buy something gently used that needs a little fixing than spend a fortune buying something new.? This girl! That’s just who I am.
How to Spot Clean Upholstery|Designers Sweet Spot Blog|

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If you love this idea, try some of these other posts:

10 Products That Will Simplify Your Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

How to Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies

DIY Cleaning Products: The Steam Cleaner

DIY Cleaning Products: All Purpose Cleaners


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