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Help me clean my couch
April 14, 2011 6:19 AM   Subscribe

We have a two-year old sofa that looks terrible and needs to be cleaned. The upholstery is 100% light-colored polyester that looks like linen. The problem is that any water leaves a very noticeable ring on the fabric. Although we're pretty good about keeping food and drinks off the couch, we have a very drippy-nosed greyhound who has left dozens of little drip marks all over the cushions. Cleaning with water and a wet rag only makes the problem worse. I also tried using Goddard's Dry Cleaning fluid (a solvent), which just left a whitish spot. Any suggestions? Would hiring a professional do the trick?
posted by jrichards to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
 
which just left a whitish spot

Is that because it stained/bleached fabric, or just because it actually cleaned it and now you have a clean spot?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:41 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


By "makes the problem worse" I assume you mean that there's now a big ring around the area you used clean water on. Did the clean water get rid of the small dog-drool ring, or do you now have concentric circles? I once "cleaned" a taffeta dress that I'd spilled something on (it's another type of fabric that makes terrible water marks) but dunking the whole thing in water, and it just came out a shade darker all over. It would be a big project to clean the whole sofa, not just spot-clean, but is it possible that it would come out looking pretty consistent, even if the cleaned fabric doesn't look just like the original?
posted by aimedwander at 7:44 AM on April 14, 2011


Is that because it stained/bleached fabric, or just because it actually cleaned it and now you have a clean spot?

I think it's a combination of being slightly cleaner than the surrounding area and also that the solvent (which turns into a white powder when it dries) is embedded in the fabric, which has a bit of texture to it. The couch itself is clean - it's really just these drip marks that are making it look dirty.

Did the clean water get rid of the small dog-drool ring, or do you now have concentric circles?

The water will get rid of the drip mark, but leaves a bigger water mark. Even if I carefully rub and dry the fabric with a hairdryer, the circle is apparent. This is a big couch, so cleaning the whole thing with water would be difficult. Also, the cushions are partly filled with feathers, so they shouldn't get wet.
posted by jrichards at 7:52 AM on April 14, 2011


I've had great luck with a hand steamer and seemingly unremovable stains. It may help get out the white marks, but I would try it on an area that can't be seen first, just to make sure that no water marks happen (I've never had that problem, but you never know).
posted by newpotato at 8:44 AM on April 14, 2011


Oh my god, I've just done this exact cleaning job. Here's what I did. (And yes, it was a PITA).

Vacuum to within an inch of the sofa's life. Go to Sally's Beauty Supply and buy a bottle of 40 volume developer, which is hydrogen peroxide. Dilute it, about 12 parts water to 1 part developer.

You'll probably want to work in sections. Cover the area adjacent to the one you're working on, or you'll have MORE water marks.

Lightly but thoroughly saturate each area with the spray bottle. For visible marks, work from the outside towards the center of the stain with a small brush. It will all look like hell when it is wet, but when dry you'll see a huge difference. The trick is to evenly wet the fabric.

My sofa is off-white cotton, and the developer made a HUGE difference. You can use the same technique with another liquid, like oxygen bleach or vinegar and water. Good luck! (MeMail me if you have questions.)

And afterward, ScotchGuard may repel the nose drips... worth a shot.
posted by cyndigo at 10:36 AM on April 14, 2011


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