How to Remove Stains From Upholstered Furniture

Want to learn how to remove stains from upholstered furniture? Well you’re in luck because I captured my entire process of removing a 7 month old black stain on my upholstered chair. And guess what?… It only took me 2 minutes to remove the stain!

This tutorial provides a guide to removing stains from upholstered furniture along with a step by step tutorial with photos using my favorite fabric stain removal product – Folex!

blotting a stain on an upholstered chair.

Before You Get Started: Assess the Stain Situation

Identify the Fabric

Different upholstery fabrics require different cleaning methods. Check the manufacturer’s care instructions or the furniture tag to determine the appropriate cleaning approach. Common upholstery fabrics include cotton, linen, polyester, and microfiber, each with its own cleaning recommendations.

Pre-Test in an Inconspicuous Area

Before applying any cleaning solution to a visible part of your furniture, test it in a hidden spot to ensure it doesn’t cause discoloration or damage. I usually test on the bottom of the furniture if the fabric extends that far.

Common Stain Removal Techniques

  • Coffee and Tea Stains: Blot the stain with a mixture of vinegar and water or a mild dish soap solution.
  • Wine Stains: Combine hydrogen peroxide and dish soap, apply it to the stain, and blot gently. Be super careful with hydrogen peroxide though, it can bleach colored fabric so it’s only advisable to use it on white fabric.
  • Ink Stains: Use rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth to dab the stain; be gentle to avoid spreading the ink.
  • Grease and Oil Stains: Sprinkle baking soda on the stain to absorb excess oil, then vacuum or brush it away. If the stain still persists, also clean with water and a mild dish soap solution.

Using Folex to Remove Stains from Upholstered Furniture

Folex is my go to for removing stains on fabric furniture. It’s never let me down! You may be wondering, what is Folex and why would you want to use something that is called Carpet cleaner on your furniture?

Yes, I know that the bottle says carpet cleaner but if you read the fine print at the bottom it also says that it’s great for upholstery. I’ve used it to remove stains from my upholstered bed and just this week I used Folex to remove a 7 month old dark stain from an upholstered chair.

I am embarrassed that it took me 7 months to clean a stain but if it’s any consolation, the stain happened by my movers back in May and if you’ve ever moved your entire life to a new state you know how exhausting it can be to get settled. Anyways here is proof that my favorite upholstery cleaner works magic and a step by step process for you to follow when removing pesky stains from your fabric furniture.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.  Thanks for the support!

Let’s start with the few supplies that you’ll need.



Soft Bristle Brush

Clean cloth

Here is what the nasty stain looked like before I cleaned it. You can tell it was dirty fingers from the movers.

Now I’ll show you how easy it is to remove a stain like this using Folex.

Step 1 – Spray Folex on the Stain

Spray Folex directly on the stain. Make sure that it is completely saturated.

Step 2 – Gently Agitate the Stain

Use a soft brush to gently agitate the stain. I just used a soft bristle toothbrush that I had on hand. I lightly moved the brush in a circular motion and watched the stain disappear!

Step 3 – Blot the stain with a clean cloth

Next you’ll want to blot the stain dry with a dry clean cloth. Don’t skip this step. If you don’t blot the excess cleaner it could leave a dark mark on your upholstered furniture. Just push the clean rag into the saturated portion and pull up as much of the liquid as you can.

blotting a stain on an upholstered chair.

Step 4 – Let the Upholstery Dry

Allow it to air dry and voila – say goodbye to that stubborn stain! If you need it to dry faster, you can always use a hair dryer.

You can’t even tell that the stain was there!

Before and After

I’m so pleased with how clean the chair came out and honestly a little embarrassed that it took me so long to tackle this project. The entire process of cleaning only took about 2 minutes and then I let it dry overnight.

Here are the before and after photos! It’s almost as good as new now.

Other Upholstery Cleaning Tips

  • Steam Cleaning – For a deeper clean, consider using a steam cleaner, especially for tough stains or overall maintenance. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific upholstery fabric.
  • Professional Cleaning Services: If the stains persist or if you’re dealing with delicate fabrics, it might be wise to consult professional upholstery cleaners. They have the expertise and specialized equipment to handle a wide range of stains without causing damage.

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