How to Say Good-bye to Stains from Leather, Wood, and Fabric Without Ruining Your Furniture
We've all been there. You know it's about to happen. One false swipe and your wine, coffee, or that can of paint you were using to spruce up your living room starts to fall ... in ... slow ... motion. You scream out, “Nooooooo!!!” and reach out to catch it, but alas. It splashes all over your beloved leather sofa, or downright stately wooden coffee table, or just-barely-lived-in fabric accent chair. The mess has been made, the damage has been done. Or has it?
Keep in mind that if you have a furniture warranty, you should file a claim first. Attempting to remove a stain with any products may void your warranty. However, if you don't have one, there's still hope. Don't chuck out your furniture just yet or attempt to flip over those cushions. Here's how to get rid of stains on leather, wood, and fabric without inflicting more damage on your precious furnishings.
Getting Rid of Stains on Leather
If something just spilled on your leather furniture, blot the stains as soon as they appear. Use a warm and damp (never dripping wet!) towel and liquid detergent or a moisturizing soap to clean it up. There is also leather soap you can use to remove stains.
If you have a water stain that has dried, use a soft, damp towel to wipe gently outward from the stain toward the edges in all direction. Use less moisture as you move outward.
If the stain is a grease stain, you should avoid the water and use a dry, soft cloth and a blotting action. Then, apply cornstarch or talcum powder to the stain, and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Brush gently with a soft-bristled brush, and repeat the process if needed.
Have a dark stain on light leather? Mix one part cream of tartar with one part lemon juice. Gently rub the paste on the stain and let it sit for 10 minutes. Add another layer of paste, rub it in, and remove with a damp towel.
Did someone think it would be fun to write in ballpoint pen on your leather loveseat? Use a gentle soap solution to clean the stain out. If it's a big job, contact a professional.
Removing Stains from Wood
Wood: it's such a sturdy material, yet so vulnerable at the same time. At least when it comes to stains.
Water stains are the most frequent problem that affects wood furniture. You can tell how much damage the stain has caused by looking at the color. White or light-colored stains mean only the waxed or polished surface has been affected. Dark stains mean the actual wood has been affected.
If you have a light stain, use oil to displace the water mark. You can rub the area with oily furniture polish, petroleum jelly, or mayonnaise to clean it. If that doesn't work, add some toothpaste to a wet cloth, and gently rub the stain. If it's still there, you can add some baking soda to toothpaste to create a strong yet mild abrasive, and rub that on. Then, re-wax the surface for one that's good-as-new.
Dark stains that have penetrated the wax, finish, or wood require more heavy-duty removal. You can use a furniture stripper, oxalic acid crystals, or a two-step liquid laundry bleach or wood bleach to strip off the finish. Once it's dry, rinse the area with clear water. Then, restain the wood with a matching wood stain, and refinish the piece.
Eliminating Stains on Fabric
Fabric furniture is super comfy, but when you're bum is on an unsightly stain, the seat becomes just a little less appealing. The encouraging news is, preventative maintenance goes a long way toward keeping fabric upholstery stain-free. Prevent pesky problems like crumbs, dirt, and dust from accumulating into stains by vacuuming your fabric furniture once a week. Even with stains that have set in, a good vacuum cleaning is a great first step toward making the stain go buh-bye. Get it cleaned professionally once or twice per year to keep it in tip-top shape.
When something like tea or coffee spills, blot off the liquid as quickly as possible with a clean towel. Then, soak a cloth with equal parts white vinegar and alcohol. Dab it over the stain, then press the area with a dry cloth.
If someone got literally tipsy with their alcohol drink and spilled, dampen a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol. Then, mix cold water and liquid detergent, and dip the cloth in and blot. Use a dry cloth to blot the area dry. Repeat the process as necessary to make those stains vanish.
Similar to leather furniture, if the stain is a grease stain, use a soft and dry cloth and a blotting action, then apply talcum powder or cornstarch. Wait at least 10 minutes, brush gently with a brush with soft bristles, and repeat if needed.
And if you want to avoid deep stain problems in the future, go for furniture made of microfiber. It's stain-resistant and durable, so it's more capable of weathering life's big or little messes.
Stain? What Stain?
It's pretty much a given that the quicker you can get to work on a stain, the less severe it will be. Set-in stains may require multiple clean-up processes, but have patience, friends. There's rarely a stain that's too damaging to conquer. Remember:
- With leather: Use a warm and damp towel soaked in water and good-ol'-fashioned soap, and be gentle, very gentle, when getting the stain out.
- With wood: Start with your wood furniture cleaner — it might just do the trick. Up the ante with different materials like toothpaste and/or baking soda for deeper stains.
- With fabric: Vacuum like it's your job at least once a week. White vinegar and alcohol are your friends for removing basic stains, but for tougher jobs like red wine, add some liquid detergent.
Don't want to take any stain chances with your furniture? We hear you, and we're here to help. The Oops-Proof five-year furniture protection plan provides comprehensive coverage against stains. Talk to us for information.