Removing Mystery Stains from a Microfibre Sofa


Happy Friday – may I just say, YAHOO!  What a week it’s been here at CMS.  Busy to say the least.   I get a LOT of questions via private message on the YouTube channel, which is cool.  I share the answers on the blog for everyone to see.

This one is about cleaning furniture stains – this is always an interesting one.  Stains can be from anything and you have to take 3 things into consideration when treating a stain.

1) What is the stain from (i.e. blood, food, wine, etc.)

2) How long has the stain been there (fresh, a week, um – a very long time etc.)

3) What material is the stain on (i.e. carpet, leather, silk, etc.)

These three toggles will help determine how best to treat a stain.  The question below comes from a viewer who didn’t know much about points one and two, but did know it was on a microfibre material.

See the question below from a YouTube viewer.

Hi! I’ve been picking up any cleaning tips I can from your series and it’s reminding me of some older problems I might now try to resolve, such as cleaning furniture.

I have a microfibre living room set and after 5 years of careful use I’ve managed to discover a few small stains that have now set in since I don’t even know how long they’ve been there or what they are from. Is it beyond hope by now or is there something you know of that might give it one last chance? Worst case, it’s only minor and near the edge so I can just try flipping the cushion over or hope it goes unnoticed until the furniture is old enough to become “basement/den second generation” less important artifacts.

Thanks for any advice, or confirmation if I’m just screwed…Thanks for your message and my apologies for taking some time to reply.

Very interesting!  Here’s what I responded with.

OK – first question – has the sofa been Scotchguarded?  This is a form of protection on fabric typically for microfibre or other cloths).  If so, wiping the stains away should work.  However, if not, the next question would be what you think it is from.  I know you say you don’t know, but does it look like a dirt stain or does it look like an oil stain.  What colour is it?  These are very particular questions because figuring out how to treat a stain is quite dependent on the type of stain that it is.

Now, if you what to give it a shot you can try a few things.  Keep in mind that when ‘chemicals’ are applied to a stain to treat it, it’s pretty much your one shot at making it work. After that, you may have set the stain permanently.  I like the gentler stain removal methods for that reason.  Further, don’t use anything hot i.e. hot water or cloth, heat sets stains.

A couple things you can try:

Sprinkle salt over the stain and add some club soda (not too much, you don’t want to soak the cushions).  Try to keep the liquid contained so that the stain doesn’t spread to new territory.  Then, take an old (clean) toothbrush and gently agitate the salt and club soda.  Have a clean cloth nearby and start to ‘pat’ the liquid, trying to roll the stain up/blot it up.  Repeat until the stain is gone.  You can also try mixing in some liquid dish soap to this mixture to see if that helps.  Treat the stain with the salt and dish soap and water and let it sit for a few minutes.  Then, agitate with a toothbrush and spray clean water on the surface until no more bubbles from the soap are left (or else that leave a ‘residue’ stain.  Less is more here, you don’t want to use too much because the soap residue will hang out in the cushions.  Use one tiny drop, it’s enough soap, believe me!

I wouldn’t suggest a stain remover with bleach because you will very likely discolour the fabric.

Let me know how that works out for you.  If you have no luck with that, perhaps the next time you have a professional carpet cleaner over you can ask him to see if they can clean the cushions and remove the stains.  They typically know what to do with any kind of stain they encounter!

I hope that helps – let me know!

Now, I had to think up the most delicate treatment I could because we didn’t know two thirds of key ‘stain removal’ information.  I hope this does it for him 🙂

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Melissa Maker is the host of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube, editor-at-large of, and founder of Clean My Space (a well-known Toronto-based cleaning service). She's been knee-deep in the cleaning game since 2006. Follow Melissa: @MelissaMaker on Instagram, SnapChat & Twitter!