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How to Clean a Sofa in Summer

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  • Stain-resistant sofas
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Ed Hawes
How to clean a sofa in summer

Using stain resistant fabrics on a sofa has become increasingly more important – especially for those with busy households. Alongside good weather, summer brings with it more situations that can put our stain resistant sofas to the test. Wine, beer, melted chocolate, BBQ debris, ice cream, ice lollies, squash, and coca-cola, are a few of many foods and drinks that come to mind when you think of summer prone accidents.  

So, for your enjoyment, below we’ve come up with two, very realistic, dramatisations of accidents that could happen at a BBQ gathering. Here, we specifically look at how to clean a velvet sofa, but be safe in the knowledge that the same process can be made for linen and other fabric sofas. So, without further ado: 

Scenario 1: The BBQ Rib  

Everything was going so well. The BBQ was lit. You had brought one of your new velvet sofas into the garden. Brilliant idea. Extra seating for the increased influx of guests. The ribs were sizzling on a shimmering orange coal; cooked to a crisp burnt. What’s a BBQ without charcoal? Ribs were handed around the garden to a gathering of salivating guests. The sun was shining, Bob Marley singing words of wisdom from the portable speaker. It was perfect. 

That was until Karen missed her mouth. The BBQ rib flew down the front of her maxi dress. In slow motion, the rib bounced off her thigh and landed on your new velvet sofa. BBQ sauce engulfed the fabric, a tsunami. There was no space spared. 

An ungodly pitch projectiles from your mouth, filling the vacuum that lay between you and the rest of the party. “Karen!”. The gathering falls into a deadly silence. 

How to Remove BBQ or Sauce Stains from a Sofa?

After the initial shock, you step into action mode. 

Step 1: Remove debris 
First and foremost, take the rib (or BBQ item) off the sofa. Grab a small brush, if you have one, and remove any loose, larger pieces of debris from the sofa.  

Step 2: Hoover crumbs or food particles 
Use a hoover to clean any small food particles from the sofa. You need to make sure there is nothing left on the sofa which is invisible to the naked eye that could cause further mess in the next steps.

Step 3: Spoon away any large clumps of sauce 
BBQ sauce, Ketchup and Mayonnaise, whatever your sauce of choice, it needs to be safely taken away from the war zone. Grab a spoon and scoop the sauces off the fabric until there are no large blots on the fabrics. 

Step 4: Blot with a damp cloth 
Grab a clean cloth and dampen it with water. Blot the damaged area on the fabric to remove the first layer of the stain. Do not use a circular motion as this could further damage the sofa and push the sauce deeper into the fabric.  

Step 5: Rinse and blot again 
Rinse the cloth and repeat step four. This will help remove liquid and stains that weren’t picked up in the first round of blots. 

Step 6: Air dry 
Finally, let the fabric air dry. This is to ensure the fabric is protected without any further damage. 

Step 7: Relax 
You can be assured that the sofa has been saved. Relax and return to the BBQ. 

Scenario 2: The Melted Ice Cream 

Hours had passed since the coal had gone out; the BBQ rib stain incident was all-but-forgotten. Your friend’s child – toddler age – was now after a little something to appease their sweet tooth. So, Karen, as useful as ever, suggested ice cream. Within seconds ice cream had appeared from the depths of the freezer. It didn’t take long before the inevitable. An accident. An accident that no one fore-sore; an accident so large, it had the ability to end the BBQ. Once again, the entire gathering went quiet as heads turned to inspect the scream that came from one corner of the garden. 

The scream was yours as you watched the horror of the situation unfold. The scream was no fault of your own. It was shock, utter disbelief. Your new velvet sofa was ruined; covered in a pool of melted dairy. 

The horror, the worry, the uncontrollable body shakes that pursued was a rational reaction. No one could blame you. But how could you not have predicted such a situation; toddlers combined with ice cream and velvet was a predictable disaster. A catastrophe that could have been avoided. 

Before you allow your tears to fall into the inflatable paddling pool, you remember that velvet is wonderfully stain resistant. You just need to act quick. 

And that’s where we step in, see below for our guide on how to clean ice cream from your stain resistant sofa.    

How to Remove Ice Cream Stains from a Sofa?

If the dramatisation, above, wasn't enough for your imagination, we've provided you with a visual aid.  

Meet Sebastian. Swyft’s very own stain resistant tester. We gave Sebastian an ice cream – his first ever – and let him go to town on the Model 05 armchair in velvet brick. This is what happened. 

As you can imagine, the ice cream didn’t only end up in his mouth, but all over the sofa. Safe to say, it was enjoyed. We think Sebastian will eat more ice cream.

A Guide on How to Clean Ice Cream from a Sofa

If you have a Sebastian or a Karen, make sure to follow the guide below on how to clean an ice cream off your stain resistant sofa.  

Step 1: Grab a spoon 
If you’re lucky and the ice cream hasn’t fully melted, grab a spoon and remove any un-melted lumps on the ice cream. This will ensure that no further ice cream will melt into the fabric.

Step 2: Get a clean, damp cloth 
It’s important to grab a clean white cloth and dampen it with water. Don’t make it too wet as there is a risk the water will mix with the ice cream and further seep into the fabric. 

Step 3: Lightly dab the ice cream 
Use the white cloth to lightly dab the ice cream. This will ensure that the ice cream on the top layer is removed. 

Step 4: Create circular motion
Use the clean damp cloth in a circular motion. Do not rub the cloth up and down, or use any pressure. This will push the ice cream into the fabric, causing further damage. The key is to lightly rub in a circular motion. 

Step 5: Air dry 
It’s important to now let the sofa air dry. This natural process will let the fabric dry properly. 

Now the situation has been resolved, we’d recommend placing your velvet sofa inside – before the red wine comes out. Or, send Karen home.   

What fabrics are stain resistant? 

Despite popular belief, not all of Swyft fabrics are stain resistant. Remember that time when we dropped 55 new fabrics? Well, not all of these are stain resistant fabrics. So, if owning a sofa with stain resistant fabric is high on your criteria, make sure to double check any fabric in the Made to Order collection.    

Made to order fabrics 

To help you out, any fabrics in Recycled Velvet, Velvet, Mottled Velvet, Royal Velvet, Suede, Cotton, and Linen are stain resistant – perfect for busy households where a sofa stain might be on the cards. But, to be clear, our non-stain resistant fabrics are Boucle, Chenille, Wool, and Soft Linen. So, worth bearing in mind when choosing your new sofa colour and fabric. 

Each fabric in our Next Day Sofa Fabric collection is stain resistant. The fabrics from our Next Day Sofa Fabric range are, mostly, the original collection we launched many moons ago — Teal, Vine, Pumice, and Shadow. We still offer a huge variety of fabrics and colours that are stain resistant. 

When it comes to summer stains, do not fear if your sofa has stain resistant fabric. You can be confident in the knowledge that most stains can be removed at ease. If you have a Swyft sofa that isn’t stain resistant, maybe, leave it hidden in the house away from the BBQ gathering or heavy traffic areas in the house. 

If you need more advice – and video guidance – on how to clean your sofa, head here.

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