How-to: Clean Stained Upholstery

And now it's Not!

Do you have some pet-stained furniture?

I was given some free chairs and a table a week ago. No need to be jealous, because if you saw those chairs when they first arrived . . . Well . . .

They weren't pretty. They were heavily stained, and I suspect a number of the stains were Poodle in origin.

Still, I didn't have any extra chairs sitting around to use with the new table, so I decided to try to salvage these. Googling around, the most recommended (cheap!) cleaning product was dish soap, foamed up with a hand mixer.

I was honestly expecting these chairs to be beyond help, so I didn't bother with any before/after pictures. . .but look! They're just about as good as new!

 Here's How

This method should work on pet stains and general dirt on any upholstered furniture item that isn't prone to water spotting. (That means, don't try it on silk or other sensitive fibers!) I would imagine it would do a number on grease stains as well. When in doubt, always test on an inconspicuous area first!

  1. Mix 1/2 a cup of dishsoap and 1 cup of water in a large mixing bowl. Mix on high with a hand-mixer (egg-beater would work, too, with a little oomph) until the mixture turns almost completely into foam.
  2. Fill another bowl with clear, warm water. Get two rags.
  3. Dip the first rag into your suds and dollop foam liberally onto stains. (Or in my case, the entire chair. Ha.)
  4. SCRUB the daylights out of it.
  5. Scrape off excess suds by firmly dragging a flat-edge (think rubber spatula or plastic ruler) across your soapy surface.
  6. Take your clean rag, dip into warm water, and wring it very well. Blot whatever's left of the soap and prepare to be surprised.
  7. I'm going to hazard a guess that your work is done! But if not--and if you made any progress (indicating that the stain CAN be got up this way) repeat as necessary.
  8. Place your damp furniture in front of a fan to dry.

The great thing about this method is that your furniture shouldn't be sopping wet when you're done--which means you won't just replace that stain with some funky eau de mildew!

If you were dealing with a particularly disgusting and/or germy stain you might still mist the area with a disinfectant spray after it has dried.

Shared at: Liz Marie: "Clean It!" Link Party!

How do you rescue stained furniture?


Cathie said…
Hee, that's my dirty little cleaning secret too. :) Amazing what ordinary household cleaners can do! BTW, I like those chairs. A LOT. Has the one in the back not undergone the Cinderella transformation yet?
Marissa Deen said…
Hehe, yep. :) The one in the background is actually clean, too, it just looks funny because the nap is rubbed the wrong way.
momstheword said…
Isn't it funny how we often look for something complicated when soap and water (and some SERIOUS scrubbing) will do?

Loved your comment about throwing a laptop at a spider once. Hey, you use what you have nearby, right? Lol!
Natasha said…
will this work on microfiber?
Unknown said…
I have to agree with everything in this post. Thanks for the useful information.
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Unknown said…
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Unknown said…
Great post! You can also clean leather furniture by using similar technique.
Unknown said…
This works!

I added three elements to the above. 1) Vacuum 2) vinyl gloves 3) scrub brush
I vacuumed first because I had some "3-d" dirt on my couch. Then you can pick up copious amounts of foam on a scrub brush, and it cleans fast. I didn't need to scrape off the foam, there was no extra. For rinsing, to get a damp cloth, just dip the cloth halfway into the water, then ball it up to get it exactly as damp as you want.

I call Marissa a genius. Soren Kierkegaard said that genius, like a divining rod, never gets the idea of wishing except when the thing wished for is present.