Cleaning Ancient or Stained Upholstery

Perhaps your family is one of those that believes furniture is never trash and no matter how long the original owner has been dead, you must pass this piece on down through the family tree. My family is just this type. When I tell you we never throw anything away, I mean it. Cleaning the upholstery of ancient furniture is a tradition in our home. If one thing won’t get out that unsightly stain we try another until at last, the piece is clean.

One of the very first concoctions I try when attempting to remove an upholstery stain is very simple. I take some Dawn dish washing liquid and place it on a Bounty paper towel. It is very important to use Dawn since it contains a unique chemical that helps remove stains, although I am not sure exactly what that unique chemical is. I can tell you no other dish washing liquid works quite as well. Bounty paper towels are great quality and most of the time will not disintegrate into thousands of tiny pieces. Add warm to hot water to the paper towel, dish washing liquid. Then you simply apply to the stain and lightly scrub. This works great for light stains. Some darker stains will fade slightly but most of the time you will need a stronger cleaner.

Woolite makes an excellent upholstery cleaner that can get out the more set in stains. This product is called Woolite Fabric and Upholstery. The first step is to wet the existing stain with cold water. Make sure you do not attempt to give the furniture a bath, just get it a little damp. Spray the stain with the Woolite Fabric and Upholstery cleaner. With a clean sponge or cloth, gently wipe the stain. Take a dry cloth or towel and blot the stain dry. Repeat as necessary until satisfied. This product also gives your furniture a clean smell. Most grocery and retail stores sell Woolite products.

For those of you that own a rainbow vacuum cleaner, there is an upholstery cleaner attachment that you can get to help clean your favorite upholstery. This attachment is fairly easy to use and comes with simple to follow directions. If you are trying to clean a piece of furniture that has been in storage for quite some time that may have a mildewy fragrance, I suggest asking around and seeing if you can find a friend or neighbor that may have a rainbow with the upholstery cleaning attachment. This will make cleaning the furniture a lot easier and also help with the smell. I have actually cleaned dusty furniture with a rainbow and discovered the original colors within a few minutes.

If you are in a bind and need a quick fix to an upholstery stain, carpet cleaners often can do the trick. Make sure you blot as much of the stain out as possible prior to applying the carpet cleaner. Take a clean sponge or clean cloth and gently blot the stain. Carpet cleaners can work in a pinch.

Best of luck with your upholstery cleaning projects!

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