Nothing beats a fried feast after a long day at work. Watching some TV on the couch with a plate of fish and chips is one version of heaven! But your couch might disagree. All it takes is one rogue chip to leave your immaculate upholstery with a very obvious blemish: an oil stain. As far as stains go, oil stains are among the toughest. No matter how fast your reflexes are, oil stains are there to stay. Unlike many other stains, oil doesn’t simply rub off. The more you try and muscle it out of your upholstery, the more embedded it seems to become.
This raises the common question of how to remove oil stains from upholstery fabric. When it comes to oil stains, you only have a few options. However, if you act fast and use the right techniques, you can still win the fight! So read on to learn how to remove oil stains from upholstery fabric. It could resurrect your next night in!
Don’t rub it in! Try dabbing at it instead
So your chip has fallen, almost in slow motion, and hit the couch. Your first move is to reach for the paper towel. This is where you need to remember the golden rule of not just oil stain removal, but all stain removal: don’t rub it in! The temptation is there to scrub away at that oily little patch like your life depends on it. But, while that might seem like the best approach, it will only make it worse. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, rubbing the oil stain will spread the oil outwards. With every stroke, the diameter of your oil stain will expand. And once the oil makes contact with clean upholstery, you are in trouble! Secondly, rubbing will force the oil down into the fibres of your upholstery fabric. This will make it harder to remove using some of the techniques discussed below.
So what’s your first move then? Well don’t abandon the paper towel altogether; it is a great weapon in the war on stains. Instead, adjust your technique. Instead of scrubbing and rubbing away at the stain furiously, try dabbing it gently. Each dab only places minimal pressure on the stain, while still absorbing excess oil. This will prevent the stain from getting bigger and deeper.
Detergent: if it can clean your oily dishes, it can clean an oily stain!
Now that you’ve cleared away the extra oil, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Detergent is your go-to solution for any wayward oil and grease. It can handle everything from an oily oven dish after a Sunday roast, to a buttery pancake pan. Don’t underestimate the power of detergent either – a little bit goes a long way. But how do you apply the detergent? Well, that’s really a matter of how bad the oil stain is. Most experts recommend mixing just a few drops of detergent in a cup or two of warm water. This will create a mild soapy solution.
It is important not to go overboard on the detergent too. As we said before, it’s powerful stuff! Some more delicate upholstery fabrics don’t respond too well to the excessive application of detergent. Once you have made your solution, it is simply a matter of dabbing it onto the oil stain. Try using the same dabbing approach that we mentioned earlier.
Are you out of dish soap? Try baking soda
We are really playing the devil’s advocate with this one! Imagine this: you have dropped a greasy chip onto your couch and go to reach for the detergent. It’s empty. What on earth do you do? It’s always good to have a plan B and in this case, that is baking soda. Baking soda has a bit of a double utility in terms of how to remove oil stains from upholstery fabric. Its immediate effect is to soak up the oil like a desiccant. But it also breaks down the oily compound a little like detergent does. If you get it on quickly, you can still rescue your upholstery from that unsightly oil stain! Once you are confident it has absorbed the excess oil, simply dab it away with a damp cloth.
Resist the temptation to use more water than you need – it can cause other issues
What do our last two solutions have in common? Water! Water is the unsung hero of almost all stain removal procedures. At some stage, it usually makes an appearance. But it has a dark side. Too much water can set your cause back a little and even damage some types of upholstery. The first type to come to mind is, of course, leather. If you have leather upholstery material, too much water can be damaging. So, whatever you do, don’t go tipping a cup or two of soapy water over your oil stain. Be sparing in your application of water. For the detergent solution, we recommend applying it with a sponge. That way you are getting plenty of the solution onto the stained area, but you are not saturating it. That being said, don’t be afraid to get in there with your detergent and water mix!
Is your oil stain still there? You might have to call in the professionals!
So you’ve gone through the motions, but your stain stands steadfast. What next? If you have tried these tips and your oil stain won’t budge, it may be too late. Perhaps the stain remained hidden for too long, or perhaps it’s just an aggressive type of oil. Whatever the reason is, don’t despair! The experts can help you out. Upholstery professionals are the people to turn to when you need to know how to remove oil stains from upholstery material. They have special techniques, tools and a wealth of knowledge. When these combine, your stains don’t stand a chance! So by all means, try and lift your stain yourself – but don’t be afraid to cut your losses and get some help from the experts.
For all your upholstery repairs, get in touch with the experts at Lounge Repair Guys today!