How to remove water stain on fabric sofa?

Do not be alarmed when you see patches of light brown stains on your fabric sofa, possibly caused by a recent spillage from your glass of water. Water marks or water spots on fabric are commonly detected in the form of round rings left after a wet area has dried. It is often puzzling how can stains be formed by water when water is commonly used for laundry, bathing, washing dishes, etc.

Unless water is dirty, coloured, or mixed with other substance, pure clean water does not cause stain on fabric. Nevertheless, minerals found in water supplies like iron and manganese can potentially precipitate on thin fabric and cause rust coloured stains when the dissolved minerals in the water oxidises with oxygen in the air. This explains brown water marks on fabric upholsteries that have been stained by water spillage from rusty pipes like the air conditioners.

How to remove water mark on the upholstered furniture?

1. Rule of the thumb – always try to blot as much of spillage when fabric is still wet from the original spill. Blot using a clean cloth until no more fluid can be pulled from the wet fabric. The more you blot, the higher your chance of not creating water ring on the fabric when it dries.

2. Blot the damp area with a clean cloth that has been dampened with vinegar solution. Blot gently from the outer edge of the stain towards the centre to prevent the stain from spreading. Do not rub as you may damage the fabric. To check for colour loss, you may consider blotting a hidden corner before “attacking” the damp spot.

3. Let the vinegar solution settle in the fabric for 15 minutes. Blot the damp area using the same method above with another piece of clean cloth that has been rinsed with warm water.

4. Repeat the above steps until water ring diminishes. Then blot dry using a clean dry cloth or you may dry the damp surface with a hair dryer that has been switched to cool air mode.


Do not pour more water onto the wet fabric aiming to clean the cloth as you may cause newer and bigger water ring. Some fabric upholstery that are made of silk are not allowed to be cleaned using water because they form water mark when dry. You should contact a professional sofa cleaning service provider when in doubt. Alternatively, you may check with your furniture retailer for cleaning recommendation.

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