This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click through to an online shop and make a purchase I may make a small commission. Thank you if you choose to do this.
25 April 2024

How to remove common stains from your family sofa

Family life can be messy, especially if there are young children or pets involved. You may feel like your days of having lovely things in your home are over, at least until the children are older, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. Several common stains can be removed from furniture with a few tips, tricks and home remedies. 

A dog sitting beside a grey sofa, looking guiltily at a trail of muddy paw prints on a beige rug
Rescue your stained furniture with these useful cleaning tips

Before you start cleaning

First things first, check if you still have the manufacturer’s guide, as they often have the cleaning instructions included. It’s worth consulting this to see if there are definite dos and don’ts that you should adhere to before attempting to remove a stain. In fact, if you don’t follow the instructions set out, you could find that you void the warranty on the item (if it is still applicable).

If your piece of furniture still has the care label in place, this may also give you some clues as to how to clean it.

If neither of these places give any advice, it’s always best to vacuum the item before you start cleaning it to remove any residual debris. If you are in any doubt as to how your furniture will react to being cleaned, test the cleaning method out on a very small, hidden area, that way if it causes any bleaching or damage it wont be on a visible area. 

Once you’ve made the initial preparations, how you proceed with the cleaning will then depend on the type of stain. Here are some of the most common stains and how to remove them:

Removing Ink Stains

Ink stains are a common problem when you have young children. Even if they are taking care with their pens, there will be moments when their little hands slip and you end up with a line across your dining room chairs.

If this is the case for you, the usual treatment for an ink stain is to mix a tablespoon of white vinegar in two thirds of a cup of rubbing alcohol. Dip a clean cloth in the solution and dab at it to blot the stain. Do not rub it, as this could cause the ink to spread further.

Removing Muddy Marks

Has a pet or a child tracked mud into your house and onto your sofa? If so, your best bet is to let the mud dry. Once dry, you can scrape off the excess and vacuum any larger, loose pieces.

If a mark has been left by the mud after you’ve vacuumed, use one tablespoon of washing up liquid in two cups of water, and then sponge this onto the stain. Blot dry, and repeat if required.

Cleaning Up Coffee and Tea Spills

Some stains we can’t blame on the kids! If you’ve spilt coffee on your furniture, first soak up as much of the coffee as possible using some kitchen roll. Then use a teaspoon of liquid detergent mixed with warm water and blot the stain using more kitchen roll until the stain lifts.

For tea stains, once again soak up as much as possible as soon as the tea has been spilt and follow the same instructions as that of the coffee stain.

If you have a specific cleaner for the area in question, e.g. an upholstery or carpet cleaner, try this first on tea or coffee stains, but remember to patch test on a hidden area if you’ve not used this particular cleaner before!

Removing Red Wine Stains

Red wine is one of the most dreaded stains, usually simply because the colour is at such odds to the item it’s being spilt on. However, it’s not impossible to remove. 

One of the important aspects of dealing with red wine is speed: act quickly, and firstly blot the affected area with a clean, dry towel or cloth. This will remove any excess liquid. Be sure to blot the stain rather than scrubbing it.

Then, if you have it, pour a small amount of sparkling water onto the stain and blot dry. Repeat if required. 

If you do not have any sparkling water, you can mix half a teaspoon of washing up liquid with two cups of cool water and sponge the stain with the solution. Once again, blot the stain rather than scrubbing it. Once the stain has been absorbed, sponge with cold water and blot dry.

I think I’ve covered some of the most common stains in this article but I’d be interested to know if there are any other stains you come across regularly or struggle with? Let me know in the comments below!

Would you like to comment?