How to Get Stains Out of a Couch: A Complete Guide 

Published October 10, 2022
Men resting after cleaning couch

You're doing your normal couch cleaning and notice a mystery stain. After a good eye roll and wondering how it made its way in that spot, you need to get it out, and flipping the cushions isn't an option. Grab your gloves. It's time to learn how to get stains out of a couch with just a simple walk to your pantry.

How to Remove Stains From a Fabric Couch

Your couch is an important part of your house. It's the area where you just put your feet up and chill with a bowl of ice cream. It's a great place to have a little wine with friends. It's also where you'll find a lot of stains. From a fresh pasta drip to an old mystery stain, learn how to clean them all on your couch.

First things first, pull off your cushions or flip that baby over to find the tag. You'll see a few different codes to be aware of.

  • W - can clean with water
  • WS - spot clean with detergent foam, dry cleaning agent, or steam
  • X - no water to clean
  • S - dry clean only
    How to remove couch stains from different fabrics infographic

Tips for Removing Stains From Cotton and Blend Fabrics

Can your couch handle water? It's probably made of cotton, linen, and other durable fabrics. Stains on cotton couches are pretty easy to clean. It's like dealing with that stain on your T-shirt. For these, you can grab:

  • 1 tablespoon dish soap (blue Dawn recommended)
  • 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • Spray bottle
  • White microfiber cloth
  • Old toothbrush

Now you are ready to get cleaning!

  1. Add the water, dish soap, and white vinegar to the spray bottle.
  2. Add baking soda.
  3. Let it fizz.
  4. Add the sprayer.
  5. Spray your white cloth with the cleaner.
  6. Dab the stain.
  7. For deeper stains, spray the stain directly and scrub with a toothbrush.
  8. Use a dry microfiber cloth to dab away any remaining solution.
  9. Allow it to dry.

Tricks for Getting Stains Out of Wool Blend and Synthetic Fabric Couch

Does your couch have a little wool in there? Wool can be a delicate fabric that needs a bit lighter touch than, say, cotton. While you can use a cleaner designed specifically for wool, like Woolite Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner, you can also make a simple cleaner right at home. Just make sure to check that you can use water on the couch.

Woman using spray cleaner to clean couch
  • 1 tablespoon dish soap (blue Dawn recommended)
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Baking soda

While it doesn't matter what brand of dish soap you use, make sure it's a mild dish soap on wool.

  1. Add the dish soap to the warm water.
  2. Use your finger to mix them up.
  3. Dip your cloth into the mixture.
  4. Wring it out, so it's damp, not dripping. (You aren't trying to saturate the stain, you just want to pull it out of the fabric.)
  5. Scrub the stain using circular motions.
  6. Blot with a damp cloth.
  7. Allow it to dry.

For grease stains, add a bit of baking soda prior to cleaning to absorb it from the fabric.

How to Clean Stains on Microfiber Couch

You take good care of your microfiber couch. That is, until your kiddo spills punch on it. Now you are scrambling to remove it before you have to buy a new couch. Act fast by grabbing some:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Spray bottle
  • White cloth
  • Bristle brush

Before you get started, you'll want to add the rubbing alcohol to the spray bottle. Then follow these simple steps.

  1. Use a cloth to blot up as much stain as you can. Acting fast makes sure you have less mess.
  2. Spray the rubbing alcohol directly on the stain.
  3. Blot and rub with a white cloth.
  4. Repeat until no stain is left.
  5. Brush the microfiber with the bristle brush to fluff and get rid of roughness.

How to Steam Clean Stains on Fabric Couch

Who doesn't love steam? It's great for opening your pores and getting you sweating. Well, your couch loves it just as much! Steam cleaning is great for old and new stains on your couch. To get started, all you need is:

Woman using vacuum cleaner with hot steam on couch upholstery
  • Steam cleaner
  • White vinegar
  • Fabric shampoo (if necessary)

It's important to follow the instructions for setting up the steam cleaner. Make sure to add the recommended amount of fabric cleaner to the machine if necessary.

  1. Vacuum any and all crumbs off the sofa.
  2. Pre-treat any deep stains with a good coating of white vinegar.
  3. Turn on the machine and clean in small sections.
  4. Allow it to dry completely before sitting on the couch.

How to Get Water Stains Out of Fabric Couch

Did your kiddo spill water on the couch? Have you noticed some random drip marks on your cushions? You don't think about water staining your couch. But, depending on the material, it can leave a clear mark. Thankfully, getting it out is pretty easy. You'll need:

  • White cloth
  • White vinegar or lemon juice
  • Hairdryer

You can use either white vinegar or lemon juice for this method. Both work exactly the same, it just depends on what you have at home.

  1. Take a cloth and dip it in either straight white vinegar or diluted lemon juice. Dilute lemon use with equal parts water.
  2. Wring it out.
  3. Test an inconspicuous area with the solution to ensure it doesn't cause issues.
  4. Dab at the water stain, starting at the inside and moving into the middle.
  5. Dab the entire stain with the solution.
  6. Allow solution to sit for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Take a clean white cloth and wet it with water.
  8. Wring it out.
  9. Dab the area again.
  10. Dry with a hairdryer on a low setting.

How to Remove Stains From White Couch

Do you have a white couch? Well, you can use a few different cleaners because you don't have to worry about the bleaching factor. For cleaning white couches, you need:

  • OxiClean
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Dish soap
  • White cloth
  • Bristle brush

Remove Stain With OxiClean

Who doesn't love OxiClean in the laundry room? It's great for getting your whites brighter and getting out those random stains. Well, you can try it on your couch.

  1. Mix OxiClean scoop line B to 1 cup of water.
  2. Stir it up well.
  3. Put your cloth in the mixture.
  4. Wring it out well.
  5. Blot the stain until the stain is gone.
  6. Use a water-dampened cloth to blot the area to rinse.

Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Remove Stains

Don't have OxiClean? Don't worry about it. You can use hydrogen peroxide to remove stains on the white couch.

  1. Create a mixture of 2 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide and 1 tablespoon dish soap.
  2. Apply the cleaner to a white cloth.
  3. Use a bristle brush to work it in.
  4. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Dampen a cloth with water.
  6. Blot at the stain until gone.

How to Remove Stains From Leather and Faux Leather Couch

Cleaning stains on a leather or faux leather couch can be a little scary. Many people worry about ruining their leather. Typically, rubbing alcohol is going to be your go-to. You just work the stain with equal parts water and rubbing alcohol until gone.

Woman leaning faux leather couch with alcohol

How to Get Pee Stains Out of Couch

Pet stains bring on a whole new cleaning element. Not only do you have to worry about removing the stain, but the odor they leave behind. You can try several different methods to get pee stains and smell out of your couch.

Tips for Keeping Your Couch Stain Free

Couches aren't cheap. So, you want to attack stains fast. Beyond just being a speedy Suzy, you can try these tips to keep your couch looking new.

How to Get Stains on Couch and Keep Them Gone

Having stains on your couch doesn't mean it needs to go to the trash. You also don't have to run to the store either. Check your pantry and use a few cleaners you have right at home to eliminate that stain for good. Now, it's time to get cleaning!

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How to Get Stains Out of a Couch: A Complete Guide