Free Shipping on Rugs & Decor Free Shipping on Rugs & Decor

Furniture Care Tips

How to Clean and Remove Stains from Upholstery

Choosing the appropriate type of cleaning method is the most important factor in cleaning upholstery. The manufacturers tag, usually sewn or glued under the furniture will have a Fabric Cleaning Code. 

For a “W”  Cleaning Code spot clean with a water-based cleaner.  For a “WS” Cleaning Code spot cleaning can be done with a water-based cleaner  or a solvent-based cleaner.  For an “S” Cleaning Code spot clean using only a solvent-based cleaner.  For an “X” Cleaning Code the fabric can only be vacuumed and cannot be cleaned with any type of cleaner.

Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning methods, and pre-test any product in a hidden area for colorfastness of fabric. If you have an antique chair that is hand embroidered and may not indicate a Cleaning Code, then it would require a different cleaning technique than a sofa that was store bought. While Chapin carries and recommends Guardsman Furniture Care products, we will walk you through several upholstery cleaning tips to make the job easy and worthwhile.   If you have a Guardsman treated piece of upholstery, follow their instructions or call their 800 number to insure you do not void your warranty.  Otherwise, here are some tips:


Butter Stains

For butter, the best option is to choose a dry cleaning solvent. Apply a little onto a clean, white cloth and blot at the stain, never rub. Next, mix one tablespoon of a mild, ph-balanced detergent with one cup of warm water. Again, blot at the stain. Next, using another towel, sponge the solvent and detergent off with clean, warm water and allow the spot to dry. 


Oily Cheese Stains

Mix one teaspoon of mild, ph-balanced detergent with one cup of warm water. With a clean white towel, blot at the cheese stain. Then mix one tablespoon of regular ammonia with one-half cup of water, again blotting the stain. Finally, blot the stain with clean water to remove any detergent or ammonia and let the area dry. 


Ink Stains

Be patient and persistent, as ink stains can be stubborn. Just make sure you only blot. Rubbing could cause the ink stain to worsen. You have a number of options such as:

  • Spray hairspray onto a clean, white towel and then dab at the stain, followed by blotting with a clean, dry towel.
  • Treat a clean, white towel with isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Again, blot the ink stain, followed by a dry towel. 
  • Again, with a clean, white towel, apply nail polish remover or acetone. Blot the ink stain from the outside edges toward the center.
  • Using a clean, white towel, use spirits of turpentine, blotting as with the other treatment options.


Coffee Stains

Mix one teaspoon of a mild, ph-balanced detergent with one cup of warm water, then blot from the outside in. Follow this with blotting the stain with a mixture of one-third cup white vinegar with two-thirds cup of water. When finished, use a clean, white towel to absorb any excess, allow the area to dry. 


Regular Cleaning

Since dust settles onto fabric more than hard surfaces, regular cleaning to keep your upholstery looking and smelling clean is essential. We recommend you clean your upholstery furniture once every two months. Use your regular vacuum cleaner with the appropriate attachment to keep it clean. Keeping the dust off will help your furniture last much longer.