How to Remove Grease Stains From Sofa Fabric

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A fabric sofa is a soft and warm place to land after a long, hard day. This comfy spot also gets the brunt of everyday living, leading to smudges of grease from pizza, spots from soda spills or smudges where buttered popcorn landed on the upholstery. Getting grease out of the fabric of this favorite seating area can extend the life of the piece and bring it back to its first-bought pristine state.

How to Remove Grease Stains From Sofa Fabric
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Pizza Grease Stain

That upholstered cradle in your crib tends to be the place where pizza is most enjoyed on a binge-watching weekend. If the stain is relatively fresh and piping hot, gently scrape off any excess sauce, cheese or toppings. Blot the area of surplus sauce that has stuck to the fibers of the sofa. Use a paper towel or terry-cloth towel that will easily lift grease from the surface of the sofa. Be careful not to grind the pizza stain into the fibers of the upholstery.

Sprinkle baking soda over the adversely affected area and into the surrounding area by about an inch past the spread of the pizza grease stain. Let the powder do its magic undisturbed for 15 to 20 minutes. Vacuum up the powder from the fabric of the sofa with the brush attachment. The brushes of the attachment will suck any powder that has shifted deep into the fibers and lift any subsequent stain-creating grease that will pop up long after the cleaning process is complete. That can be the most difficult part of cleaning a pizza grease stain: making sure all of the grease has left the area.

Follow up with a dry-cleaning solvent. Gently press a slightly damp cloth into the upholstery. Start at the outer edge of the stain and move toward the center to ensure it has been thoroughly covered and cleaned.

Butter Stain Removal

Popcorn and a movie while kicking back on the super cozy sofa is a popular stay-in weekend activity. It also leads to little pops of blooming color on couches across the country. The beautiful dollops of glistening butter can wreak havoc when they meet the fine fibers of the couch upholstery.

Butter is different from grease in its removal process. It can be more difficult to get out and requires a few more steps. The first step is to cover the stain in a thick layer of corn starch or talcum powder. These are preferred over baking soda because they have a better absorption agent that will bead up around the butter, whereas baking soda will sit on top of the stain. Vacuum up the powder with an upholstery attachment after the powder has had a chance to sit on the stain for at least 15 minutes. With a damp cloth, put a dollop of dish-washing liquid on the stain and gently scrub it into the stain. Work from the outside of the stain and move toward the center. Cover the area with a clean cloth and let it sit for an hour or two. Wipe away the dish soap with a damp cloth. If a shadow of stain remains, blot the area with a dry-cleaning solvent. This process may need to be repeated to fully eradicate the stain.

Liquid Stain Removal

Cleaning up after other liquids that make their way into the fibers of the sofa, from soda to sauces, is relatively the same as grease stain removal. First, blot the area and then use a powder to lift residue from the fabric. The liquid, dye, sugar or fat from the substance that was spilled will attach to the powder and decrease the need to scrub the area, which can make it worse. Vacuum the area and gently wipe with a damp, soapy towel before wiping with a clean, wet towel.


Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at

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