July 31, 2021

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Spilled wine, pizza grease, smelly cat pee: How to cleanse your sofa of stains and odor

This is my sectional couch in its heyday. I’d like to restore some of its former glory.


Brian Bennett/CNET

Living room sofas direct a full, nevertheless really hard lifetime. From animals to little ones and messy older people, your couch is usually the hub of activity in the home. The downside to that is it’s continually exposed to a variety of potential threats. These contain dropped food items and drink, dripped grease and spills of wine and other adult drinks. Cats and puppies can result in mayhem as well, leaving deposits in the two liquid and sound form.

Except you seal your home furnishings up absolutely in plastic, mishaps and stains will materialize. When that working day comes, really don’t worry — have a game prepare as an alternative. That way you would not waste essential time letting a mess fester and flip into lengthy-time period injury.

This manual lays out lots of prevalent resources of house soiling and what to do if it finishes up on your sofa. We’ll also make clear how to place-cleanse your sofa by yourself, or find out when it truly is time to connect with in the execs.

Brian's couch a little rough

6 decades, one particular pandemic, and two big canine later on and my sofa has observed greater days.


Brian Bennett/CNET

Discover the cleaning code

In current yrs, furniture makers have started including cleaning guidance with their merchandise. Typically this direction is made up of a physical tag on the home furnishings alone. On the tag there need to be just one of 5 lettered cleansing codes. 

If you’re fortunate, your couch’s tag will have a “W” code printed on it. Standing for water, this implies you may be in a position to use drinking water-centered cleansing answers on your sofa’s fabric. It signifies the most inconvenience-free cleansing classification. Generally synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon and acetate slide into this category.

Other groups include things like “S,” which implies that only water-free solvents are authorized. Usually you’ll uncover purely natural textiles these kinds of as cotton, linen, and wool categorized this way. The “SW” or “S/W” code indicates the material in question can cope with both of those water-free solvents or drinking water-based cleaners.

The past two categories are the most restrictive. Couch fabrics with the “X” code label ought to be vacuumed or brushed only. Forgo using any h2o or liquid cleaners. The “DryCln” code suggests that a couch can only be cleaned by a expert dry cleaner.

No cleansing code label?

You may perhaps uncover that your couch lacks a cleaning code label. Which is the situation with my couch, a Jonathan Lewis sectional marketed by Macy’s again in 2015. Luckily, I was able to monitor down the cloth, which I recall putting as a special buy. 

Oddly plenty of it’s named “Bennett Peacock” and is a placing hue of teal that Jonathan Lewis even now sells right now. I was also satisfied to learn that the material has a “W” cleaning code.

For all those whose furnishings failed to occur with cleaning instructions you might be equipped to locate additional info on the internet. If you strike out there as well, then I suggest calling the company specifically. 

Offer with incidents promptly

When it comes to spills and other mishaps, time is not your buddy. As shortly as the spill occurs (or as shortly as you see it), clean up it up immediately. For spills or liquid messes, dab with a dry absorbent paper towel or cloth. For strong substances, use a fork or spoon to carefully clear away as a great deal physical squander as doable.

Vacuum first, then colour check

Before diving in with solvents and cleansing answers, it’s a fantastic concept to eliminate any dust or good particles from your couch very first. Do this using a vacuum cleaner and upholstery attachment. With that done, the next stage is to perform a place test for colorfastness. 

Choose a section of your mentor that is normally hidden, say against the wall or on its side. Now implement a handful of drops of the cleansing agent you’ve established is suitable with your furniture. Just after 10 seconds, blot the area with a white absorbent cloth. If you never see apparent discoloration on the sofa cloth or coloration transferred to the fabric, you can proceed. 

Pink wine

If your couch supports water-dependent cleaners then look at a delicate detergent solution. Combine 1 teaspoon of liquid dish cleaning soap to 1 cup of lukewarm drinking water. Froth the combination right up until you make suds. Choose up some suds with a dry microfiber fabric or sponge. Carefully rub the spill with the fabric and cleaning soap. Start out from the exterior of the spill and operate your way inward. 

As the spill or stain materials lifts from the material, change to a clear segment of your fabric. Future rinse your cloth or sponge with contemporary h2o and wring to get rid of excess humidity. At last, dab the spill with your fabric to pull away any residual cleaning soap.

If you’d desire a tiny a lot less operate, take into consideration specialty solutions this sort of as Folex and Chateau Spill. Both of those let you spray, then dab — rinsing not demanded.

Focus on sofa stains with suds if the soil and material are suitable.


Brian Bennett/CNET

Grownup beverages

Like any food, you can tackle cocktail and mixed-drink spills with delicate detergents. Just make confident your sofa cloth can tolerate h2o-based cleaners. Carefully rub the spill with suds from your dish cleaning soap alternative. Rinse the fabric, wring it out, then blot to rinse the spill absolutely free of detergent.

Pizza grease

For oil and fat residue you may have to have a cleaner specially intended to target grease stains. A person these kinds of products is AlbaChem PSR II Powdered Dry Cleaning Fluid. It sprays on to fabric as a liquid, bonds to greasy stains, then dries and brushes absent as a powder.

Cat and puppy pee

No make any difference if you personal a pet dog or a cat, the messes they can build call for a solid counter measure. Specifically, I suggest an enzymatic cleaner these as Nature’s Wonder. It really is obtainable in the two doggy and cat foam formulas, as nicely as spray bottles.

These are h2o-dependent cleaners so make confident your couch can endure the therapy. To use them, you can fully saturate the impacted region. Soon after 5 minutes, wipe absent any residual option and let for the fabric to air-dry. I’ve personally utilized the solution on my mattress just after one of my large dogs as soon as damp the bed there in epic vogue. Impressively, just after two months all odors have been eliminated.

Puppy drool

That very same canine enjoys to slumber on the couch, far too. However, she has a inclination to drool, and her breath isn’t really what I would contact minty contemporary. Luckily, the exact Nature’s Miracle Doggy Stain Foam labored like a appeal here, as well. After a 7 days or so all traces of canine saliva funkiness ended up absent. 

When all else fails

Numerous of these solutions really should help treatment your sofa-cleaning woes. However, there might come a stage when stains have had as well considerably time to set. Or most likely very little you’ve attempted will banish your sofa’s off-placing aromas. 

If so, it truly is significant time to take into account turning to a experienced cleaning service for help. There are a selection of massive national chains to select from — Stanley Steamer, Chem-Dry and Coit just to identify a handful of. You are also most likely to have area cleansing outfits to consider. And if the pros really don’t pan out, there is certainly generally the previous vacation resort — splurging on a new couch.