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How to Remove Five Common Fabric Stains

Posted on May 1, 2017

by Furniture Clinic

Posted In: Fabric Protectors, Fabric Restoration, Stain Removers


The best way to describe stains on fabric? Formidable.


We've all been there. It's terrifying to see your favorite piece of fabric - whether it's clothing, furniture, a car interior or carpets - fall victim to a major stain.


If you're here because the stain has already happened, you're in luck! In this post, we review five common types of fabric stains and how to remove them.


1. Red Wine

Let's start with the stain that even the bravest among us lose sleep over - red wine. Red wine is troublesome because it can quickly sink into the fibers of the fabric. Given time to set, the red wine will permanently discolor those fibers - leaving your fabric a nice shade of Merlot or Cabernet.


To prevent the red wine from becoming a permanent fixture in your living room, bedroom, or car, there are a few steps you should take to act quickly:


  • Dab the stain - don't try to wipe or rub! By gently dabbing with a paper towel, you can try to absorb as much wine as possible. If the stain just occurred, this should be your first course of action.
  • Try Household Items - common items to test out include salt, soda or vinegar. Utilize items around the house can be effective to a point, but a good rule of thumb is to only use these if you don't have a professional product readily available.
  • Use a Professional Product- products designed for the specific type of stain are always your best option, as they not only tackle stains that have set in and become ingrained in the fibers beneath the surface, but they can also help to eliminate the odor as well. At Furniture Clinic, we recommend Remove It! Red Wine, Curry & Drinks Stain Remover - our product engineered for thorough wine stain removal.


2. Blood

Blood is another tough one, and just like red wine, letting it set for too long can often spell disaster. A good rule of thumb is to treat it within the first 24 hours - anything past that, and you will likely need to use a professional product, like Remove It!


Within the first 24 hours, here are a few tricks to try:


  • White Vinegar - a great option if you can get to the stain before it fully sets in the fabric. Gently pour the vinegar over the stain, and let it set for up to 10 minutes before blotting it. Again - don't rub!
  • Cold Water - suitable for blood stains on garments, rinsing the piece in cold water can help remove fresh blood stains
  • Hydrogen Peroxide - this only works with new stains, and it's important to mention that it can cause damage to delicate fabric materials. However, when diluted with water and tested beforehand, hydrogen peroxide is strong enough to remove certain stains that have yet to fully set in.



3. Pen/Ink

Unless your fabric is your canvas, it's never fun to accidentally cause a permanent stain due to pen or ink. Here are a few tricks you can try to remove pen and ink stains from fabric:


  • Alcohol-Based Hairspray- you'll notice a theme in these tips: alcohol. Alcohol is surprisingly effective at breaking apart ink stains, and alcohol-based hairsprays are a common household item that can produce results. Spot test before application, and blot the hairspray after letting it set for a minute or two.
  • Rubbing Alcohol- if you have rubbing alcohol in your home already, give it a try. Gently blot the stain. If it's a garment, throw it in the laundry after application of the rubbing alcohol if it was effective.
  • Professional Ink Remover- because ink is challenging to remove completely, you may want to skip ahead and use a professional ink stain remover, like Remove It! Paint, Oil, Dye & Pen Stain Remover

3. Pen/Ink

Unless your fabric is your canvas, it's never fun to accidentally cause a permanent stain due to pen or ink. Here are a few tricks you can try to remove pen and ink stains from fabric:


  • Alcohol-Based Hairspray- you'll notice a theme in these tips: alcohol. Alcohol is surprisingly effective at breaking apart ink stains, and alcohol-based hairsprays are a common household item that can produce results. Spot test before application, and blot the hairspray after letting it set for a minute or two.
  • Rubbing Alcohol- if you have rubbing alcohol in your home already, give it a try. Gently blot the stain. If it's a garment, throw it in the laundry after application of the rubbing alcohol if it was effective.
  • Professional Ink Remover- because ink is challenging to remove completely, you may want to skip ahead and use a professional ink stain remover, like Remove It! Paint, Oil, Dye & Pen Stain Remover


4. Coffee/Tea

If you're drinking either beverage for the caffeine, a positive of spilling it is that it will certainly wake you up! But in all seriousness - every coffee and tea drinker has spilled at some point, and chances are, the victim will be something made of fabric one day. In an effort to be proactive, let's review some common tricks for coffee and tea stain removal:


  • Detergent- it only makes sense that the chemicals in our laundry detergent can help remove the stain directly. To apply, rub a small amount of the liquid detergent onto the stain and let it set for up to 5 minutes.
  • Vinegar and Detergent Combination - if the detergent alone doesn't make a difference, you can combine equal parts of powdered detergent, vinegar, and water. The resulting paste can be gently rubbed over the stain.
  • Cold Water - cold is the imperative word here. Did you know that heat helps stains set? As that is the opposite goal of this post, keep in mind that any water you use to remove stains from fabric needs to be cold!
  • Try our Coffee and Tea Stain Remover - for a tested, tried, and true method, your best bet might be to just skip ahead and test out our professional product designed for coffee and tea stains: Remove It! Tea & Coffee Stain Remover

5. Paints/Oils/Dyes

You're painting the walls of your living room, when all of a sudden, one drop of paint slowly falls off the paintbrush and lands on the armrest of your favorite fabric recliner.


This could be you one day, so let's be prepared! A couple ideas for you to try if you find yourself in this scenario:


  • Alcohol-Based Cleaner - for acrylic paint stains, this is a good starting point if the stain has already begun to set into the fabric.
  • Paint Thinner - for oil-based paints and stains, you can try to remove the stain by applying a layer of paint thinner and tapping the stain with a brush or spoon.


  • Lift with a Knife - a fun little trick with paint stains is to lift the paint with a dull knife. Suitable for dried stains, the knife can carefully separate and remove the stain from the surface beneath.

5. Paints/Oils/Dyes

You're painting the walls of your living room, when all of a sudden, one drop of paint slowly falls off the paintbrush and lands on the armrest of your favorite fabric recliner.


This could be you one day, so let's be prepared! A couple ideas for you to try if you find yourself in this scenario:


  • Alcohol-Based Cleaner - for acrylic paint stains, this is a good starting point if the stain has already begun to set into the fabric.
  • Paint Thinner - for oil-based paints and stains, you can try to remove the stain by applying a layer of paint thinner and tapping the stain with a brush or spoon.


  • Lift with a Knife - a fun little trick with paint stains is to lift the paint with a dull knife. Suitable for dried stains, the knife can carefully separate and remove the stain from the surface beneath.


For a Professional Solution, Try Furniture Clinic

If you're just not feeling up to testing out a bunch of household items with no guarantee of whether they'll work, try our line of fabric stain removal products at Furniture Clinic. Our products can be quickly ordered online, and they ship right to your front door.


We wish you well on your fabric stain removal journey!