How to Get Activated Charcoal off of Sofa Cover
September 4, 2014 12:59 PM   Subscribe

I (well, the dog) got some activated charcoal on my cream sofa. How do I get it out? The cover comes off and is machine washable, but I'm not sure what it's made of, or what temperature to wash it at. I am worried that if I wash it at a not high enough temperature it will stain the whole cover grayish. Any ideas?

When I Google, I just get results about using activated charcoal to clean things which is not what I want. Thanks in advance.
posted by bimbam to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
You in fact don't want to wash it at a high temperature, as that will set the stain.

I'd rub it with dish soap and then wash as normal on the coldest cycle you have. Check it when it comes out; if it isn't perfect, do NOT TUMBLE DRY. Instead, let it air dry and take it to the cleaners.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:10 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Try to vacuum and dry stiff brush as much of it off as possible. If you don't get it wet first it may come most of the way off/out. Unless it was already wet when it spilled?! A small amount of liquid laundry detergent directly on a stain works really well. Drying in the sun can also help if there is a faint mark after washing.
posted by Swisstine at 1:34 PM on September 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

You might want to try Oxiclean or some similar stain remover. I'd figure out what your sofa cover is made of and do some Googling. Oxiclean works amazingly on some stains and poorly on others - it all depends on what type of stain it is and what the material of your sofa cover is. You can simply add it to the washing load, but I've had the best luck presoaking the stained item in a concentrated solution of Oxiclean.
posted by ClaireBear at 2:25 PM on September 4, 2014

Have you tried getting some of it off with really sticky tape, like packaging tape or similar? You can try that before brushing, and see how much comes with the tape.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 3:03 PM on September 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Whenever I've got a stain that really vexes me, I bring it to a good dry cleaner before I mess with it. They have tricks you can't imagine.
posted by quince at 3:35 PM on September 4, 2014

I use activated charcoal, so I know exactly what you are talking about.

Use a sticky tape type lint brush & vacuum - YES.

I guess cold water rinses on the spot in the tub, final wash or two w/cold water and detergent in a washing machine.

This is a fine powder. Temperature has nothing to do with this.

In general, hot air (dryer) will set a stain. Just FYI.
posted by jbenben at 3:40 PM on September 4, 2014

I'd probably just take it to a dry cleaner. They'll know the best way to deal with it, and have access to specialty chemicals and equipment you don't.
posted by novelgazer at 7:46 PM on September 4, 2014

Thanks all! The charcoal was wet when it went on (mixed in with dog drool). I combined all the advice - hand rinsed/scrubbed off what I could in the sink with a nail brush and Woolite, then soaked it in a Vanish OxyClean solution and washed it on the machine's coolest cycle (30C). Part of it is hanging up to dry now and it's cleaner than it's been since the first day I got it! You will be pleased to hear the dog has also survived this unfortunate episode. Thanks for all your help.
posted by bimbam at 8:33 AM on September 5, 2014

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