I get a lot of questions about cleaners- “What’s the best cleaner I can get for stains?”
The truth is that there is no one cleaner that will clean all stains. The real key to successfully remove a stain is to clean the spill quickly, before it sets in. There are 2 basic types of cleaners for the homeowner to get: 1) Water Based and 2) Solvent based. Check the cleaning code on the manufacturer’s label (usually sewn to the seat decking) for the type you will need to use. “S” is for solvent, and “W” is for water… and “WS” means you can use either one.
Spot cleaning- it’s the only thing a home owner should do.
The commercial cleaners are really no better than what can be purchased from your local hardware store or grocery store as long as you know what to get. There are a couple that I consider to be the best for each category, and they are available everywhere.
Water based: For a water based cleaner, it’s hard to go wrong with “FOLEX“. It’s found on the detergent aisle, or in the carpet cleaner section. I have found that it can get red Kool Aid out of car carpeting- and is excellent for spot cleaning. How to properly clean: Use a damp white terry cloth and spray Folex on the rag. It is very important that you use the rag to dab the area vigorously. A white rag will easily show you if the stain is being transferred from the item to your rag. NEVER spray directly on the stain as this will cause a ring to appear once it has dried. The drier area of fabric will wick the moisture away from the area being cleaned, and will pull any contaminates toward that edge- which will cause a ring. Try the cleaner is an inconspicuous area first to make sure it does not lift the dye from the fabric.
Solvent based: For solvent based cleaners, get a can of Spot Shot. Again, try in a hidden area first and spray in into the rag and blot up the stain. This will lift permanent marker, guaranteed. Use the same directions for cleaning as above.
For a general overall cleaning, it will be best if you call a local carpet/ upholstery company. They will use steam, or a hot water extractor to clean furniture. It’s not very expensive and the results will sometimes amaze you.
Remember… never attempt to clean seat casings or throw pillows by putting them in the washing machine- it could be a costly mistake. The average price of a replacement casing (if available) will be around $100 from the place where you purchased your furniture. If washed this way, sometimes the fabric fades just enough that they will not match when put back on the sofa or chair.