Removing Furniture Stains

If there’s one thing we love at Alison at Home, it’s a gorgeous, well designed and finely kept interior. Quality pieces can transform the home, setting the mood from sunrise to sunset. From the kids’ latest art project, to that last glass of red wine, it’s all too easy for beautiful furniture to grow tainted from everyday wear and tear. Stay on top of the stains with our simple guide, and keep your stunning pieces looking their very best.


  • When treating your couch or chair for general stains, vacuum first, removing dirt and dust that could make it look dirtier once wet. Upholstery attachments are great for reaching between those cushions, and regular vacuuming promotes longevity
  • For fresh stains, immediately blot to stop spreading.  The sooner you can get them, the better!
  • Make your own mixture of 1 cup warm water mixed with ¼ cup of dishwashing soap, mixed until it makes thick foamy blend. Remove cushions and vacuum
  • For tough stains, use an iron to steam the fabric. Loosen the stain out, and repeat blotting process


  • Mix together  1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent and 1 teaspoon Borax with warm water and spray onto your outdoor cushions
  • As this material is generally more tough and durable than upholstery, stains might take longer to remove; be patient and persistent!
  • Always cover your outdoor pieces during off-season, protecting them from the elements while they aren’t in use


  • Wipe out those white rings left by wet glasses by mixing vinegar and olive oil.  Apply with a soft cloth, moving with the grain of the wood, and use a clean soft cloth to shine afterwards
  • Wood is vulnerable to changes in temperature and moisture, which is something to stay mindful of over time
  • See our Mango Wood guide for insight on the upkeep of your mango wood pieces

Food-specific tips:

  • Coffee use hot water to get the stain out
  • Chocolate and tomato-based stains:

Do NOT use hot water, as this will set the stain into your fabric.  Try instead a cold water solution

  • Gum freeze with an ice cube first, then scrape off
  • Blueberries use vinegar and dishwashing detergent solution
  • Grease

blot wet stains with a paper towel, then sprinkle with baking soda and wait 15 minutes for it to soak

  • Red wine blot with cold water, then apply a baking soda-water paste mixture

Other tips

  • Always consult the tags of your furniture, and don’t treat them with anything harsh before you do this.  Each fabric is unique, and the tags can be a useful guide for where to begin
  • Beware of direct sunlight! Overexposure can fade colours over time, from wood to upholstery, so be sure to rotate pieces to keep them looking bright
  • Don’t forget to shake your cushions out from time to time.  This will help them retain their shape and avoid sagging
  • Stay clear of cheap furniture cleaners. While more expensive doesn’t always mean higher quality, you don’t want  your cleaning product to work counterproductively as a result of low-grade chemicals that could damage your furniture
  • Test new cleaning liquids on a remote, inconspicuous area of your stained fabric before applying a large amount elsewhere
  • Be patient; just because the stain doesn’t come out the first time, it doesn’t mean your couch is ruined! Some marks are more stubborn by nature, so don’t be discouraged if you need to repeat the cleaning process a couple times

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a beautifully designed room.  Our dwelling places are where we go to relax after a long day, entertain loved ones, and everything in between.  Quality furniture makes a beautiful home, so keep your pieces looking fresh and clean with our simple tips.


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