How to Get Watermarks Out of Fabric Sofa

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By CleanersWithLove

Do watermarks on fabric sofas have been a pressing problem for you? Don’t worry; there are several methods to help you rid your sofa of those pesky blemishes.

Water stains on a fabric sofa can be an eyesore and ruin the beauty of a room. Whether it’s from spilled drinks at a party or cleaning accidents. Knowing how to get watermarks out of fabric upholstery quickly is essential. Fortunately, with a few common household items and careful attention, you can get your fabric sofa looking pristine again.

Read on for our easy-to-follow guide on how to get watermarks out of fabric sofas safely and effectively.

Check Your Sofa Fabrics

how to get watermarks out of fabric sofa

Before attempting any stain removal, it’s essential to check your upholstery type and fabric care label. Here are some of the most popular materials used for sofas:


Linen is a light, airy fabric that looks beautiful in traditional and modern homes. It’s breathable, durable, easy to clean, and in various colors and patterns. However, linen is less stain-resistant than some other fabrics and may require regular maintenance to keep it looking its best. 


Cotton is a classic choice for sofas because it’s soft, durable, and affordable. It also comes in various colors and patterns that can be easily mixed and matched with other fabrics or accessories. Unfortunately, cotton isn’t as resistant to stains or wear and tear as other fabrics like polyester or microfiber. 


Wool is one of the most luxurious materials when upholstering your sofa. It’s incredibly durable and will last for years without showing signs of wear or tear. Wool offers excellent insulation from heat and cold, making it an ideal choice for colder climates. The downside? Wool can be more expensive than other fabrics due to its natural fibers, making it difficult to find on a budget. 

Polyester & Microfiber

Polyester & microfiber are two synthetic fabrics that offer outstanding durability at an affordable price point. Both materials are resistant to fading, staining, shrinking, and wrinkling. Making them great choices if you’re looking for low-maintenance upholstery fabric that won’t break the bank. 


Acrylic is another synthetic fabric that offers excellent durability at an affordable price. It’s also known for being soft yet strong enough to stand up against heavy use without tearing or staining easily. The downside? Acrylic tends to pill over time due to friction caused by sitting on the sofa or moving furniture around. So you may need regular maintenance if you want your acrylic sofa fabric to stay looking great over the long term. 


Nylon is another synthetic material that is extremely durable yet lightweight enough for easy transport or storage when needed. Nylon has excellent resistance against mildew growth while also offering good abrasion resistance. Making it a great choice if you’re looking for something tough enough to stand up against everyday use but still lightweight enough for easy cleaning or storage when necessary. 


Chenille is an incredibly soft yet incredibly durable fabric made from a mixture of cotton and wool fibers (sometimes acrylic). Chenille doesn’t pill easily as acrylic does but still provides excellent comfort due to its plush texture. It is perfect if you’re looking for something luxurious yet practical.

These are just a few of the most common fabrics used to upholster sofas. It’s essential to check your care label before removing any stain, as different fabric types may require different cleaning methods.

Gather the Cleaning Supplies

Once you’ve identified the type of fabric, it’s time to gather the supplies needed for removing watermarks. Here is a list of items you will need:

  • White microfiber cloth or rags
  • Clean white towels
  • A vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment
  • Mild detergent or dish soap solution
  • Vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 2 parts warm water)
  • Leather conditioner (for leather sofas)
  • Lemon Juice
  • Distilled Water
  • Hair dryer

These are the most common supplies needed to remove watermarks from fabric sofas. But the things needed may vary depending on the type of fabric used and the cleaning solution.

How to Get Watermarks Out of Fabric Sofa Using Vinegar 

How to Get Watermarks Out of Fabric Sofa Using Vinegar 

Vinegar is one of the most efficient and cost-effective methods for removing watermarks from fabric sofas. Making your couch look new again is a piece of cake with white vinegar!

  1. After you’ve soaked up any excess liquid from the affected area, start by taking a white cloth and dampening it with a mixture of 1 part distilled white vinegar to 2 parts warm water.
  2. Gently blot the area until you can see the stain is starting to lift. You can use a bit more of the distilled white vinegar solution for tougher stains if needed.
  3. Move slowly, and blot the area rather than scrub it.
  4. Leave it for 20 minutes, and then vacuum off any white residue.
  5. You can also use a hair dryer on the affected area.
  6. Set it to low heat and keep it about 6-8 inches away from the stain for two minutes. It will help lift the stain even more!
  7. Once you’ve dried the area, there will be no trace of vinegar odor or stain.
  8. Repeat these steps as needed until all watermarks have been removed.

How to Get Watermarks Out of Fabric Sofa Using Lemon Juice

How to Get Watermarks Out of Fabric Sofa Using Lemon Juice

If you want an alternative, freshly squeezed lemon juice is the perfect solution.

Lemons are nature’s wonder cleaner! Their citric acid is a powerful, natural way to remove mineral stains from surfaces caused by hard water. Cleaning with lemon juice is similar to using white vinegar but far more efficacious.

  1. Add a cup of hot water to the juice of two lemons that have just been squeezed.
  2. Soak a clean cloth in the mixture and lightly blot the affected area.
  3. Completely drench the area but be careful not to oversaturate it.
  4. Let it sit for 10 minutes so the acid can work its magic.
  5. Apply more of the mixture if needed, but be sure not to oversaturate again.
  6. You can use a toothbrush to scrub lightly at the stain, but never use a metal brush or abrasive material.
  7. After that, you should be able to see the watermark start to dissolve.
  8. Now use a damp clean cloth and a dry one to soak up the liquid.
  9. Start the drying process with a hair dryer set on low heat.
  10. Finally, use a leather conditioner (if necessary) to nourish and protect the leather.

Tips to Prevent Watermarks on Fabric Sofa 

Taking preventive measures is the best way to ensure you don’t have to worry about removing watermarks in the future. Here are some tips that can help you keep your fabric sofa looking clean and new:

✔️Blot, Don’t Rub 

Rubbing the spill will only spread it farther and make it retract into the sofa’s fibers. Watermarks can be difficult to remove, which is why prevention matters. Avoid using too much pressure to prevent stretching or damaging the material’s pattern as well.

✔️Use Distilled Water 

In order to prevent watermarks from forming on a fabric sofa, use distilled water when cleaning it. Distilled water doesn’t contain any of the impurities that you find in tap water. Therefore, no mineral deposits will be left behind when it’s dried. Plus, distilled water has less mineral deposits mean your fabric sofa will look cleaner for longer.

✔️Test Cleaners in an Inconspicuous Area

In order to protect your fabric sofa from watermarks, it is essential to come prepared. Test any cleaner you plan to use on the sofa in an inconspicuous area first. Using the wrong product on certain fabrics may cause staining and discoloration. It is particularly relevant if your furniture contains a blend of materials like leather and fabric. Following the manufacturer’s instructions is often sufficient and will prevent watermarks; however, it’s always best to give a small test patch a go, just in case.

✔️Vacuum Regularly

Doing this will remove any dirt or dust from the upholstery that could absorb liquid and lead to watermarks. Additionally, be sure to avoid directly placing liquid items on the surface of your sofa, such as coffees or margaritas. The spots left behind by either could potentially be difficult to remove. 

✔️Protect From Sunlight 

Direct sunlight can cause a brownish discoloration on some fabrics, and depending on the type of dye used in the material, fading may occur over time. We recommend you move the sofa away from direct light as much as possible and consider using window treatments to keep the sun out during peak hours. 

✔️Rotate Cushions

This prevents never used spots from getting soaked by moisture, which would result in the dreaded watermark. Even if your sofa is used often, it can be beneficial to switch its positions to balance out the wear and tear.

Doing this also helps distribute the fabric’s natural oils, keeping your cushions soft and supple. Do not leave anything that could leak or condense while sitting directly on your fabrics, as this prevents watermarks from forming.

✔️Invest in a Quality Sofa Cover

Ideally, select one made from an absorbent yet durable material such as cotton or linen. These materials are great for soaking up any liquid spills that may occur. Not only will this ensure that your couch remains sheltered from any potential damage, but it will also allow you to easily clean or replace the cover when necessary.

Selecting a cover with an appropriate tight fit will also help to lessen wear and tear. While highlighting and preserving the life of your sofa upholstery over time.

✔️Blot Spills Immediately 

As soon as a liquid is spilled, use a clean cloth to blot the area until it is completely dry. If any liquid has been sitting for some time, use a soft brush or toothbrush to work into the fibers. You should be working from the outside of the stain inwards. It’s important not to rub too hard, which will cause further damage, and the fabric may fray.

Remember that different types of fabric have different cleaning requirements. So make sure you read your particular sofa’s care label beforehand.

✔️Use Gentle Cleaners

For general maintenance, use a fabric-appropriate cleaner and avoid strong chemical cleaners. The natural cleaning agents in many fabric cleaners are ideal for removing dirt and dust without causing damage to your sofa fabrics.

When using the cleaner, avoid using too much, as this could leave the surface of your upholstery feeling sticky. And for tougher stains, opt for a mild soap and water solution instead. Again, test this in an inconspicuous area of the couch first.

✔️Steam Clean Annually 

Steam cleaning is much more thorough than traditional vacuuming, and the hot water helps remove dirt and oils deep down in the material. After steam cleaning, consider applying a guard spray for extra protection. It will help repel water droplets rather than being absorbed into the material, which is how watermarks are created.

Following these tips, you can maintain a beautiful-looking sofa and prevent annoying watermarks from forming. With just a little care, your sofa will remain in great condition for many years.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Are Water Stains Permanent? 

The answer is no—water stains are not permanent. Some may require more work than others, but there are always ways to get rid of them.

Does Baking Soda Remove Water Stains On Upholstery? 

Yes, baking soda is great for removing water stains on upholstery. All you need to do is mix baking soda with warm water until it forms a paste and apply it directly onto the stain. Rub gently and let it sit for 15 minutes before wiping it clean with a damp cloth. 

Does Vinegar Ruin Upholstery? 

Vinegar is an excellent natural cleaner for many surfaces, including upholstery. However, using vinegar sparingly is important because too much can damage the fibers in your fabric and cause discoloration or fading over time. 

Can I Spray Vinegar On Sofa?

 It’s best not to spray vinegar directly onto your furniture as it could damage some fabrics or cause discoloration due to its acidic nature. Instead, mix one part white vinegar with two parts warm water in a spray bottle and apply the solution directly onto the area you want to clean. 

How Do You Get Hard Water Stain Out Of Fabric? 

Hard water stains can be tricky to remove because they contain minerals bonded with the fabric fibers over time. A good way to get rid of these stubborn stains is by using a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and warm water applied directly onto the stained area with a soft brush or cloth. Work in circular motions until the stain disappears, then wipe off any excess liquid with a damp cloth or paper towel and allow it to air dry completely before use again. 

Final Words

Removing water stains from fabric sofa is a process that requires some patience and careful attention. While fabric sofas may not be waterproof, with the proper approach to stain removal, most watermarks will come out without damaging your furniture. Try one of these methods if you notice any water stains on your fabric sofa, and you’ll have it looking like new again in no time.

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