As you plop down on the couch to unwind after a long day, you notice a stain on the cushion. Come to think of it, the couch has a little bit of an unpleasant odor, which makes sense because it's the dog's favorite spot and the kids are constantly on it while watching their favorite show. We'll show you how to get rid of those stains and that smell with natural cleaners.
By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine
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If Your Furniture is Fabric-Covered:
Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock
Before you get ready to scrub those couch cushions, check to see what kind of fabric is on your couch or chair. Fabric made of a cotton blend or linen can easily be washed with natural cleaners and ingredients. And sometimes furniture has removable, washable covers or cushions.
Most pieces of fabric-covered furniture should have a tag that will tell you how to clean the fabric. Cleaning codes are usually found under the seat cushions. If you removed the tag or can’t find it, the information should be available on the company’s website/product page.
Fabric Cleaning Codes:
• A “W” on your furniture means the fabric can be cleaned with water. You can use a fabric/carpet cleaner on spills or stains. • “S” means your furniture must be cleaned with solvents (dry clean only) and you should not use water. • “S/W” means you can use a combination of dry cleaning solvents and water to clean the fabric. • An “X”, while this code is no longer used by manufactures, you may find an “X” on older furniture. This means the item cannot be cleaned with any products and you should use a vacuum only. For stains, check with a reputable furniture restoration shop.
Fabric Cleaning Directions:
After checking the cleaning codes, use a clean, dry hand towel to brush off the furniture. This will remove any crumbs and dried-on spots. Be sure to get in all the nooks and crannies. If debris is caked on, you can use a soft bristle brush.
Once any dried-on remnants are removed, sprinkle the couch with baking soda. This will help absorb any odors, while also breaking up stains that may be on the fabric. Allow the baking soda to sit for at least 30 minutes, then use a vacuum and brush attachment to clean it up.
Natural Fabric Cleaner:
If that doesn’t do the trick, try this combination for cleaning furniture fabric:
• 2 cups baking soda • ½ cup cornstarch • ½ cup cornmeal • 4 bay leaves • 2 tablespoon whole cloves
Combine these ingredients in a food processor or blender. Sprinkle the mixture on the fabric and let it sit, overnight is best, before vacuuming it up. You can also use this mixture on carpet.
Stronger Natural Fabric Cleaner:
If stains remain, try this natural fabric cleaner for pieces that can get wet:
• ¼ cup white vinegar • ¾ cup warm water • ½ tablespoon of liquid dish soap
Mix the ingredients and pour into a plastic spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the stain and scrub with a white cloth in a circular motion. Repeat the process until the fabric is clean. When the fabric is clean, rinse your cloth with warm water to remove excess soap and blot the cleaned area to remove moisture. Let it air dry.
Natural Fabric Refresher:
For a natural fabric refresher to use regularly, try this recipe:
• ¼ cup baking soda • 5-10 drops of essential oil (such as lemon or lavender) • Water
Pour the baking soda into a spray bottle and add the essential oil. Top off the bottle with water and shake it until the ingredients are mixed and the baking soda is dissolved. Next, spray the mixture on the fabric to help eliminate odors.
First, vacuum your leather furniture to remove any debris and remove bits of food. Or use a clean, dry hand towel to brush off the furniture. As a result, this will remove any crumbs and dried-on spots. However, using a vacuum will help to get into all the nooks and crannies. Then make this natural cleaner with products from your pantry:
Natural Leather Cleaner:
• ¼ cup olive oil • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar • 10-12 drops essential oil (such as lemon)
Mix the ingredients in a small bowl and use a white microfiber cloth dipped in the cleaner to gently wipe the leather. Next, use circular motions and don’t saturate the leather with the mixture. Rinse the cloth as needed. Leave the mixture on for at least 30 minutes, then wipe clean with a clean, dry cloth.
For lingering stains, try rubbing the stain with a mix of one part each of lemon juice and cream of tartar. The mixture will make a paste. Leave it on for 10 minutes then rub it off with a damp sponge.
How to Clean Your Wood Furniture:
Store-bought solutions aren’t necessary for cleaning your favorite rocking chair or that antique end table, try natural cleaners instead.
Wood Cleaning Directions:
First, wipe off any debris or stuck-on food. It is also a smart idea to dust your wood furniture with natural cleaners. To clean your wood furniture, try a natural solution made of:
Natural Wood Cleaner:
• 1 cup filter water • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
Mix the two and use a microfiber cloth to wipe the furniture with the solution. The acid in the vinegar will help clean the wood.
Next, if you really want your wood furniture to shine, you can make a variety of natural cleaners. You can make natural polish with:
Natural Wood Polish:
• 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
Mix the oil and the lemon juice in a small bowl and apply with a microfiber cloth. Use just a small amount of the mixture and rub it on the wood in circular motions.
As a result of using natural cleaners, your wood furniture should look good as new! However, is your wood furniture showing water marks? Use a mix of equal parts distilled white vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Use a soft cloth to rub the mixture with the wood’s grain and then wipe off with a clean cloth.