Removing Common Summer Stains from Upholstery

Summer is full of fun activities, many of which are outdoors and bring along unwelcome guests like stains on your furniture. After decades of serving clients in the commercial furniture market, we understand the importance of maintaining clean, inviting spaces, especially in student housing units where high traffic areas and messes are the norm. 

With some students staying around campus through the summer months, there are a few specific “messes” to look out for, such as sunscreen, grass marks, ink, and other common spills that can leave your upholstery spotted and stained. But no worries — whether you’re looking to clean your current upholstery furniture or replace it with pieces that are built to withstand the test of time, we’re here to help with easy tips for removing common seasonal stains.

Understanding Your Upholstery Furniture

First things first: When it comes to commercial upholstery furniture, different types of fabrics and product joinery often require different cleaning methods. While the following steps are generally great for spot-treating many different upholstery pieces, you should always check the care instructions on your furniture to ensure effective results…

How to Remove Common Summer Stains

Sunscreen Stains

Sunscreen stains can be particularly stubborn, appearing oily on upholstery fabrics. To remove these common summertime stains, blot any excess sunscreen off the surface with a dry cloth. Then, sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the stain and let it sit for 15 minutes to absorb left-behind oils.

Next, vacuum off the baking soda or cornstarch before applying a mixture of dish soap and warm water to the stain. Blot gently with a clean cloth, rinse with fresh water, and repeat these steps as necessary.

Grass Stains

If you’ve ever been told not to put your shoes on furniture, this is a good reason why. Grass stains require a bit more effort to remove from upholstery, mainly because they contain a mix of pigments, proteins, and organic matter that bind strongly to fabric fibers. This can make it challenging to break down and remove the stain without the right cleaning approach.

When removing common stains like grass (or even the yellow-green pollen that comes with the season), create a paste using baking soda and water, then apply it directly to the stain. Let it sit for about 15 minutes before scrubbing gently with a soft, clean brush. Rinse with fresh water and blot dry.

Ink Stains

A frequent issue in student living settings, pen stains can be challenging to remove from upholstery. To tackle tough ink stains this summer, start by blotting (not rubbing) the stain with a clean, dry cloth to absorb any excess ink. 

Next, pick an inconspicuous “test spot” and apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to ensure it doesn’t damage the fabric. Once it dries without damage, you can apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball or cloth next, dabbing it gently onto the ink stain. Continue blotting until the ink begins to lift and, once the stain is less visible, rinse the area with cold water and blot dry.

Beverage Spills

Refreshing summer drinks like soda, wine, and fruit juice can leave dark or sticky stains if not addressed immediately. And let’s not forget coffee — a year-round favorite. If your upholstery furniture comes into contact with one of these beverages, it’s best to blot the spill right away with a clean cloth to absorb as much liquid as possible. Then, mix equal parts vinegar and water, dabbing it into the stain. Follow with a mixture of dish soap and water, then rinse and blot dry to rid your furniture of the stain.

The Benefits of Replaceable & Removable Furniture

Been cleaning and spot treating the same pieces of furniture for a while now? One of the smartest solutions to stain management is investing in replaceable and removable (R&R) furniture on your next order. R&R upholstery allows you to easily replace stained or damaged pieces without having to reupholster the entire item — particularly beneficial for high-traffic areas like student housing where frequent spills and untreated stains often occur.

Instead of working hard to get a noticeably-damaged product back to a like-new condition, R&R upholstery ensures your spaces always look fresh and inviting while extending the life of each piece. Not only does this offer more cost savings over time, it also helps reduce the amount of furniture sent to landfills by keeping yours in use longer. Win, win!

“Spill Proof” Your Spaces with R&R Upholstery

While we may not be able to prevent future spills from happening, a partnership with Smarter Furnishings guarantees you’re investing in durable fabrics and construction methods that make cleaning and maintenance a breeze. Our upholstered sofas, loveseats, chairs, and sectionals are all designed to withstand heavy use while maintaining a high quality appearance. We also offer the ability to customize your upholstery furniture pieces to fit your specific project goals and space requirements.

Whether you choose to explore the custom commercial furniture route or browse our existing upholstery collections, we’ll be here to help you rest easy with an easy solution to fighting stubborn stains during summer and beyond.
Enjoy this read? Check out our video on Easily Replacing Upholstery, featuring the Keystone Lounge Chair in a short demonstration on removing arm chairs. Have a project in mind? Book a consultation to learn more from our team before making a decision.

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