For many of us, there’s nothing better at the end of a long day than sinking deep into the cushions of our comfiest chair or sofa, throwing a blanket over ourselves and settling down in front of the TV with a glass of wine in hand.
But even if you’re the most careful person, accidents happen. And whether it’s that glass of wine you’ve accidentally spilled on a cushion, or a large dollop of ice cream that’s escaped from the spoon, stains on soft furnishings can be tough to tackle. Fortunately, help is at hand. Experts at some of the UK’s biggest furniture retailers – who should know a thing or two about how to keep soft fabrics looking pristine – have recently offered a few top tips for dealing with stains on your sofa, whether this is a nasty red wine stain or just the accumulated dirt and grime of everyday life.
Time is of the essence
If the worst does happen and you end up with wine, pasta sauce or anything else making an unsightly mark on your sofa, you need to act fast unless you want a permanent reminder left on the cushion. Don’t waste time finishing off your dinner – head straight for the kitchen for the cleaning supplies. Simon Nicholson, furniture buying director at sofa and carpet specialists ScS, advises:
“As soon as a spill occurs, take a kitchen roll or a clean towel to soak up as much of the excess spill as possible, and then consult your manufacturer’s care guide to treat the rest of the spillage.” You should also resist the temptation to scrub the stain, as this will only spread it around and embed it even deeper in the fabric. Instead, after you’ve cleaned away the excess, blot the stain using a clean, dry cloth. Something cotton is the best choice for lifting the stain out, but tissue paper will work if it’s all you have available.
Use what you’ve got to hand
It’s not just paper towels and cloths you should be grabbing from the kitchen to help deal with a fabric stain. If you raid your cupboards, the chances are you’ll have something on hand that can help manage the problem. Baking soda is one old wives’ tale that actually has some truth to it. Try making a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water and applying it to the affected area. After leaving it to dry, you can then vacuum it up and hopefully lift the stain in the process.
If you don’t have any baking soda around, try mixing a tablespoon of liquid dishwasher detergent with a tablespoon of white vinegar and two cups of warm water. Then, apply this to a clean cloth and repeatedly blot the stain, alternating with a separate dry cloth, until the stain lifts. Be warned though – not all homemade remedies are equally effective. You may have heard that to get rid of a red wine stain, for instance, you should treat it with white wine. But if you try this, the chances are all that will happen is you waste more perfectly good wine.
Know when to call an expert
While swift action can help take care of some stains, more stubborn problems may well need the touch of a professional. Glen Ball, furniture technologist at Sofology, said: “Liquids like cordials and hot drinks can be removed with a little gentle persuasion. Things like red wine and orange juice are better handled by the professionals once you have tried the ‘blot, don’t rub’ approach.” Some fabrics, especially delicate ones, will require specialist care and cleaning methods – your manufacturer’s care guide should include everything you need to know. But whatever you do, don’t machine-wash the covers, even if they appear to be removable, Mr Nicholson added.
For dealing with more everyday grime, Sofology’s experts recommend a weekly wipe down with a slightly damp cotton cloth and a quick vacuum with the soft tip brush attachment. Of course, if you don’t want to do this yourself, our team of experienced professional cleaners at Cleaning Agency are always on hand to help. Get in touch with us today to find out more.