January 03, 2022 6 min read

How To Remove Food Stains From Your Furniture Upholstery

When food and furniture are in the same room, the resulting combination can either make or break. your evening. Cleaning up from an epic get-together can be quite the task if your furniture has food stains from that one slightly clumsy guest (yes, Kyle, It’s you).

But what is the best way to clean a stain on your upholstered furniture? Do you spray it down? Should you use a chemical cleaner? Should you just throw out the whole piece and buy a new one? What are the best ways to solve your furniture stain problem?

Furniture Fair sells multiple upholstery fabrics including performance fabrics designed to repel potential stains. We’ve been selling upholstered furniture for over 50 years, and we know a thing or two about how to prevent and treat stains.

We want to share some of that experience with you for when that unexpected stain happens, so that you will be ready for action.Read on to discover the best ways to treat and prevent stain damage on your upholstered furniture.

How To Remove Food Stains From Your Furniture Upholstery

Purchase A Protection Plan For Your Furniture

Sometimes the best way to fix a problem is to prepare for the possible problem happening. Thankfully with most new furniture you can prepare for accidents by purchasing a protection program.

Protection programs cover a wide range of damage and each program may cover different levels of damage. Be sure to check out what damage is and isn’t covered, so you will have a good idea of what you are protected against.

Furniture Fair offers a Premium Plus Protection Plan which can be purchased with new furniture for added peace-of-mind. The Premium Plus Protection Plan is the perfect plan to meet your needs, covering fabric upholstery, leather and vinyl, wood, case goods and other hard-surface furniture.

Most manufacturers' warranties only cover up to a year, whereas The Premium Plus Protection Plan provides peace of mind coverage.

Manufacturer’s warranties also only apply to product defects and not cosmetic damage while the protection plan does. Here are just a few of the accidental damages that the plan covers, including fabric stains.

  • All stain types, including dye bleed and dye transfer onto or into upholstery fabric, leather or vinyl
  • Punctures, rips or burns
  • Liquid marks or rings
  • Household heat marks
  • Gouges, dents, scratches or chips that penetrate the finish exposing the substrate
  • Damaged caused by nail polish remover
  • Checking, cracking, bubbling or peeling of finish caused by specific incident
  • Glass or mirror chipping, breakage or scratched
  • Pet damage- single incident only

With a stain protection program you are covered against stains. If you aren’t able to get rid of a stain, the protection plan will be there to assist you in fixing your stained upholstery.

For more information about Furniture Fair’s protection plan, check out our article breaking down the features and benefits of the protection plan.

Buy Performance Fabric

One of the best ways to prevent stains on your furniture is to purchase a fabric specifically designed to prevent stains. Multiple brands of performance fabric available will make cleaning stains a breeze.

Many manufacturers feature performance brand fabrics. Smith Brothers features a polyester or polypropylene fabric called Clarity fabric which is designed to resist stains and make cleaning easier.

Best Home Furnishings offers a line of stain resistant fabric called Revolution Performance Fabric. Revolution fabrics are designed to prevent moisture from absorbing into the cushions and make cleanup easier than ever.

Another performance fabric that cleans and resists stains well is Sunbrella Fabric, which England Furniture uses in their custom furniture program. Sunbrella Fabric is designed to withstand stains, cleaning, and sun-damage while still maintaining a crisp, non-faded color.

There are many other performance fabrics available depending on the furniture brand you go with, so if you are shopping for new furniture and want to get the best fabric for stain-resistance, consider brands that offer performance fabric.

How To Remove Food Stains From Your Furniture Upholstery
How To Remove Food Stains From Your Furniture Upholstery

How To Clean Stains From Upholstery

Alright, now that we’ve covered potential preventative measures, let’s take a look at how you can clean and hopefully remove stains from your fabric upholstery.

An important thing to remember when cleaning stains is that furniture manufacturers often have tested methods for removing stains from the furniture that they sell. A great way to ensure that you are removing a stain correctly is to check with your manufacturer.

Once you’ve done that, apply the recommended steps to your furniture and you should hopefully have a stain-free upholstered piece again.However, if you cannot find your manufacturer recommended cleaning method, here are a few steps we recommend for cleaning a stain from upholstered fabrics.

How To Remove Food Stains From Your Furniture Upholstery

How To Clean Wet Stains

If there is such a thing as the best time to find a stain on your couch or chair, that time would be right after the stain occurs. A wet stain can be much easier to get out of a fabric, since it hasn’t had time to soak into the fabric and dry.

For wet stains, our recommended practice for stain removal is to take a dry cloth and press lightly into the stain to draw out the liquid and hopefully the stain. Do not rub aggressively, as this can push the stain into the fabric and spread it further.

If some of the stain remains in the fabric, use a small amount of mild dish soap along with some water and apply to a cloth. Do not over-saturate with water. The key is to make the cloth damp but not soaked.

Apply damp cloth to spot and press the cloth in lightly and blot once again. The goal should be to absorb the stain and not rub it further into the fabric. Vigorously rubbing could affect the fabric color in that area.

Once the stain has been removed, be sure to blot the section gently again with a dry cloth. Once this process is finished, your stain should be blotted and removed from your couch, sectional, or sofa. If the stain persists, consider having it cleaned by a professional.

How To Clean Dry Stains

Dry stains are a bit of a different story. A dry stain has had time to get comfortable and can be more challenging to get rid of than that obnoxious friend who always overstays their welcome (Kyle). Thankfully, there are some ways to clean dry stains from your fabric as well.

If you find a dry stain on your furniture, mix a solution of a small amount of dish soap and warm water. Then, take a cloth, make sure it is damp with the solution (not soaked) and wrap it around two fingers and then press into the stain, rubbing in one direction.

Do not rub back and forth, as that process could mess up the fabric color or create a fabric burn, resulting in a lighter area on the piece. Once the stain has lifted, take a dray cloth and blot up any access water.

If the stain persists, take the same steps as mentioned previously and see about getting a professional cleaning service.

How To Remove Food Stains From Your Furniture Upholstery

A Note On Cleaning Chemicals

Be cautious when considering using any cleaning chemicals on fabric upholstery. Different chemicals can have different effects on every fabric. If you do decide to try a cleaning chemical, be sure to test it in an inconspicuous location on your furniture.

While you may find a perfectly safe chemical to clean your products with, it’s best to avoid any chemicals unless you have no other options. Treating fabric stains with chemicals can create an even bigger problem if they react negatively.

If you’re curious about how to find the proper method for cleaning fabric upholstery, check out our article onmethods for cleaning fabric upholstery.

How To Remove Food Stains From Your Furniture Upholstery
How To Remove Food Stains From Your Furniture Upholstery

Get That Stain Out Of Your Fabric!

Now that you know what steps you need to take to prevent and treat stains, you can invite your friends over worry-free, knowing that you will be ready for any stains you might have to clean.

Remember that protection is the best way to prepare for a stain, and a protection plan will ensure that you get rid of that stain one way or the other. If the stain is wet, try to blot up as much liquid as possible and if it’s dry make sure to use a damp cloth.

Remember not to rub the stain vigorously or you risk damaging the fabric color. Don’t use any chemicals unless you’ve tested them before, and check with you manufacturer for recommended cleaning methods.

If you are in the market for some new upholstered furniture, consider shopping at Furniture Fair. We have 11 locations throughout the Cincinnati, Dayton, and Louisville areas.

We offer many delivery options, including our new Curbside Delivery option. Check us out today!