How to Remove Old Brown Water Stains from Fabric Sofa

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We often wonder if water is the supreme cleaning agent, then why it betrays when accidentally spill on rugs, couch, mattress, or any other fabric furniture leaving the ugliest halo shaped water stain.

Won’t cleaning with water worsen the stain then?

Fortunately, we can easily remove water stains by using home-based products or steam cleaner for couches. The best part is using steam cleaner doesn’t restrict you to just sofa’s cleaning, its provide you a multi-purpose cleaning around the house.

But why do water leaves these marks when water is the incomparable cleaning agent. Let’s understand the reason behind it.

What Causes Water Stains On Couch?

Water Stains On CouchTwo reasons can cause water stains to appear on the couch.

Reason 1: If the water contains impurities or has minerals, then these minerals will leave a residue on the fabric while the water will evaporate. These minerals then react with oxygen and cause rust-colored stains.

Reason 2: Upholstery has fabric finish applied on it; this fabric finish reacts with water to leave water stains.

How to Get Water Stain Out of Couch?

With a few DIY hacks or method of steam cleaning couch , you can easily clean every inch of the couch from those appalling watermarks.

Blot it while the Couch is Still Wet

The first thing, however, is to clean the spill immediately. Use a clean cloth to blot while the sofa is still wet. If you don’t do it immediately, the water will seep through the fabric, and the stain will become big and visible.

Don’t Clean Without Reading the Manufacturer’s Instruction First.

Read Instruction Tag on SofaIt’s the first prerequisite before cleaning your couch. The tag of the couch has cleaning instructions mentioned. It can be found underneath the sofa.

  • W – It means you can clean the couch with water-based solvents
  • S- Clean with water-free product like dry cleaning solvent
  • S/W- It means water and dry cleaning both can be used safely.
  • X- It means it should be professionally cleaned or just vacuumed.

Check the Fabric

Different couches have different fabrics, and each fabric’s composition is different.

Using the same method on each fabric might not work. Some can be cleaned with detergents and water; others may require only water or steam for getting stains out of the fabric couch.

The cleaning tag also gives a clear idea of what should and shouldn’t be used.

Start by Vacuuming

Use Vacuum Cleaner to Clean CouchBefore proceeding to clean the water stain from upholstery, vacuum the surface thoroughly. It will remove all the loose dirt, pet hair, and dust particles. If you skip this step, you will have to deal with the wet dust and dirt that will get stuck on the upholstery fabric.


  • Before using any method, try it on an inconspicuous area of the couch. If it doesn’t damage the fabric, then you can use it on your couch.
  • Only use distilled water; the tap water contains water-purifying chemicals added by municipal authorities. These chemicals won’t let your sofa clean completely.

How to Clean Fabric Sofa with Vinegar

Method 1: Using Vinegar and Water

Step 1: Mix distilled water and white vinegar in equal parts.

Step 2: Spray it over your sofa and let it sit for a few minutes.

Step 3: Take a clean cloth and blot it. Do not rub. It will spread the stain.

Step 4: Let it dry. You can use a hairdryer as well. Repeat the procedure if the spot persists.

Method 2: Cleaning Solution and Water

Cleaning Sloution and WaterStep 1: Take one tablespoon of cleaning solution or mild dish-washing liquid with 2 cups of water. Mix it.

Step 2: Apply it on the couch. Using a microfiber cloth or a sponge, gently rub it. Begin from the outer edge and work your way towards the center, else it will stain the cleaned area as well.

Step 3: Take a damp clean cloth and wipe the couch.

Step 4: Now, take a dry clean cloth and rub it gently to absorb as much moisture as possible.

Step 5: Let it air dry or use a hairdryer.

Method 3: Steam Cleaning

Steam Cleaning CouchIf the above-mentioned methods do not work, you can use a steam cleaner or handheld steam cleaner to remove water marks from the couch.

Step 1: Fill the water tank of the steam cleaner. Do not overfill, or it will make your couch extra damp.

Step2: Prepare your steam cleaner by attaching all the accessories. Preheat the steam cleaner.

Step 3: Start using a steam cleaner at medium to low heat setting and steam clean your couch.

Step 4: Let it air dry.

How to Remove Old/Brown Water Stains from Fabric

Your couch is the home of dust, dirt, germs, pet hairs, and whatnot. Sure, you can spot clean the water marks, but why not use a best steam cleaner to give your whole couch a fresh and healthy clean look.

Steam cleaning not only kill the germs but also removes all kinds of stains including water spots. It even freshens up the fabric by removing odors from the couch. In addition to that, you can also use the machine to effectively remove stains from fabric of the car seats.

How to Remove Water Stains from Fabric 

Some couches are made of material that requires special care where vigorous scrubbing or chemicals do not work.

Let’s have a look at a few materials of the couches and discuss its cleaning options.

Removing Water Stains from Microfiber CouchWater or wine spots from microfiber or any other fabric sofa requires special care. If the water + detergent method doesn’t work, you can use the following method to clean microfiber couches.

Step 1: Put rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and spray it over the couch.

Step 2: Use the sponge or baby wipes to rub the stain.

Step 3: Take a clean cloth, dab and blot until all the moisture is absorbed.

Step 4: Let it dry

Removing Stains from Leather or Suede

Removing Stains from Leather or SuedeStep 1: Take denatured alcohol and use a damp cloth to test it on an inconspicuous area.

Step 2: If it doesn’t discolor or damage, use it on the stain and gently rub it.

Step 3: Use a clean cloth to wipe it.

Step 4: Air-dry the sofa. Heat drying can damage the leather.

Wrapping Up!

Water stains can leave your couch look unappealing. But if you take some necessary actions sparing few minutes of your life to remove the water stains, you can get rid of these marks. We have tried to cover some of the tips in the hope that you may enjoy your family time on a clean couch again.


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