Above: Whipped detergent is an easy-to-make green cleaner that's good for spots.
Cleaning up spills and spots on upholstery can be tricky, but it's an important part of making sure that you can use your furniture as long as possible, helping save resources. We've rounded up a few tips after the jump on how to spot-clean upholstery safely and sustainably, so that you'll want to cuddle up with your couch again. First, it's good to vacuum off cushions, or use a brush, every week, so dirt doesn't get ground in. When a spot happens, here are several green cleaners you can use (test in an inconspicuous place before getting to work):
- For red wine spills, hydrogen peroxide is amazing. Blot up as much as you can with a paper towel, and then mix a teaspoon of eco-friendly dish soap with a cup of hydrogen peroxide. Blot it on the stain, with a dry towel behind the fabric to soak things up. This works on carpet, clothing, and other fabric, too. We've seen a glass of red wine literally disappear from snowy white carpet. Hydrogen peroxide can also remove ink stains.
- For coffee stains, Ecocycle recommends mixing an egg yolk with luke-warm water and rubbing that on the spot.
- For any type of stain, whipped detergent works well. Fill a container with half dish detergent, half water, and use a hand mixer to whip it up. Use a rag to rub the froth into the spot, and then rinse with water.
- Shampoo mixed with water is also a good general stain remover.
- Steam-cleaning takes electricity, but uses only water, and can often remove stubborn spots.
- If you're facing really stubborn stains and want to hire outside help, one option is Chem-Dry, which uses carbonation to clean upholstery (and carpets) without solvents, enzymes, harsh chemicals, and with very little water.
(Image by Adele Peters)