How to Remove Stubborn Stains From Soft Furnishings and Upholstery


Angie Tang is one of the laundry experts at Laundrapp, a service that collects, professionally cleans, and delivers dry cleaning to your door. In this post, Angie will be talking about how you can tackle three of the most common household stains.

Our homes are spaces for living, dining, and entertaining, so try as we might to keep them looking perfect, there’s always a chance that a little accident or mishap will lead to an unsightly stain on our soft furnishings or upholstery.

But, there’s no need to panic: as long as you act quickly, it’s possible to remove even some of the most noticeable stains, including coffee, blood, and chocolate.

If your sofa upholstery, rugs, cushions or bedsheets have fallen victim to an accidental spillage, there are plenty of ways to pre-treat them before washing to help lift the stain and get them back to their dazzling best.

Just read on to learn how you can keep your favourite home furnishings looking as good as new. 



Next time you splash coffee on your snowy white bedlinen or a favourite cushion, there’s no need to panic. Instead, blot up as much of the coffee as you can with a tea towel or some kitchen roll.

Then, while the stain is still damp, rinse the problem area with plenty of cold water: coffee is water-soluble, so it should help to remove the worst of the stain.

Next, mix some powdered laundry detergent with equal parts water and white vinegar to create a thick paste.

Apply this carefully to the stain, and gently rub it in using a soft cloth — if the item in question has a fluffy or woolly surface, be extremely careful not to rub too hard, as this can make it look frizzy.

If the coffee stain just won’t lift, then try using a specialised stain-stick or spray to pre-treat the area before machine washing according to the label.



At some point, we’ve all been feasting on some delicious chocolate in front of the TV, only to discover that an errant piece has somehow escaped and melted into the fabric of our sofa cushions.

When chocolate melts, it gets smeared and stuck into every nook and crevice of the fabric, which can make it a nightmare to remove.

But, unlike the other stains I’ve listed here, chocolate is actually one of the few stains that you shouldn’t treat while it’s fresh. Instead, you’ll want to wait until its completely dry before you remove it: this way, you can take a blunt knife and simply scrape it away from the fabric.

If the material is delicate or fluffy, use your fingers to carefully pick away the residue.

Once you’ve got rid of the worst of the dried-on chocolate, you can treat any remaining stains. Rinse the area with cold water (hot will simply melt the chocolate into the fabric again) and then gently rub in some liquid detergent or washing-up soap.

Leave it for at least five minutes, and then let it soak in a bowl of cold water for twenty minutes. If some of the stain remains, treat the area with a stain remover before washing as normal.


Nail polish

We all love a home manicure, but there’s nothing worse than spilling a drop of brightly coloured nail polish on your sofa cushions or bedsheets.

Nail polish can be very tough to remove, especially after it hardens and dries, so you’ll want to act as quickly as possible.

You can remove these extra-tough stains using ordinary nail polish remover — but, there’s a knack to getting it right.

First, check the label to see if the fabric contains acetate, triacetate or modacrylic, as acetone-based removers will react with the chemicals in these materials, and can even cause the fibres to melt.

You can use an acetone-free remover if you’re in any doubt. If you want to be absolutely certain that the remover is safe to use on your upholstery, test it out on a small, inconspicuous area to check it won’t stain or damage it in any way.

If the stain is still wet, gently blot up the excess polish with a clean dry cloth (you can skip this step if the polish is already dry). Be careful not to rub, as this will just work the stain further into the fabric.

Then, soak a cloth with nail polish remover, and gradually dab the stain until it starts to lift: move from the outside in to stop the stain from spreading.

Once you’ve removed as much of the polish as possible and colour is no longer transferring, wash the item according to the directions on the label. If any marks remain after machine washing, then contact a cleaning professional for more help.

Accidents are a fact of life, so every house-proud homeowner should have the right tips and tricks up their sleeves to treat these common stains as and when they happen. Take my advice on board, and you should be able to keep all of your soft furnishings and upholstery in top condition.


Coffee: both Unsplash

Chocolate: both Unsplash

Nail Polish: Unsplash and via Pinterest

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