How To Spot Clean Difficult-To-Wash Fabrics

Spot cleaning refers to the process of targeting and treating specific stains or soiled areas on an item without tossing it into your washing machine. Depending on the severity of the stain, cleaning can involve little to no product use or need more extensive treatment. Spot cleaning is particularly useful in situations where a full wash is not necessary or feasible. The beauty of spot cleaning is that it can be used when you want to quickly address a stain or soiled area on clothing, upholstery, or other items without washing the entire item. Whether it's a spill on clothing, a stain on upholstery, or mud on the carpet, spot cleaning allows you to address the problem area directly without the need to wash the entire item.

The spot cleaning technique is mainly beneficial when you're dealing with fresh stains that haven't had a chance to set, since quick action increases the chances of successful stain removal. This method of cleaning is also handy for delicate fabrics that can't withstand a regular washing machine or undergo dry cleaning.

Dealing with clothing and hand washables

To effectively remove stains from clothing and hand-washable items, first remove any excess matter using a credit card, butter knife, or spoon. Avoid rubbing at it, because this will just further work the discoloration into the fabric. When dealing with liquid stains, blot the mark with a white cloth or paper towel, making sure to use a clean section of the towel every time to prevent reapplying the stain. In case of oily stains, using a slice of white bread can help to absorb the oil.

Always use cold water when removing and blotting, because warm or hot water won't just cause the stain to spread, but can also set it in the fabric, making it pretty much impossible to get rid of.

Next, use a clean white cloth or paper towel to absorb the stain and any recommended cleaning product, ensuring you don't spread it to other areas of the garment. Transfer the stain to a clean area on the cloth, repeating until it's completely gone. Note that spot cleaning is a temporary solution, and it's important to thoroughly clean the garment by washing it or dry cleaning it according to the care label instructions.

How to tackle furniture and larger items

When it comes to spot-cleaning upholstery, couches, or carpets, the technique remains largely the same, even though it may not be feasible to place an absorbent cloth under the stain. Despite this limitation, there are several important tips to follow. First, pay attention to the manufacturer's tag. Fabrics marked with "W" can be cleaned with water, "S" requires solvent-based cleaners, "WS" allows both water and solvent-based cleaners, and "X" should only be vacuumed. Also remember that before applying any cleaning solution, it's best to test it in an inconspicuous area.

If the stain has any solid ingredients, use a butter knife to remove it. Take a white cloth or paper towel and blot as much moisture as you can. To keep the spot from spreading and possibly ending up with an unsightly discoloration ring, make sure to work from the edge of the blotch inward. It's recommended that, if possible, you try to stay away from using too much cleaning product. Baking soda, dish soap, and vinegar are all good for treating stains, depending on the fabric. When it comes to drying, stay away from heat and stick to air drying. This will preserve the integrity of the fabric.