You usually spend more money on your sofa than any other piece of furniture, so it pays to look after it.
However, it’s inevitable that you’ll end up with a food stain on it at some point.
The key to dealing with any stain, says cleaning expert Melissa Maker, is to know what you’re working with.
"Know what material your upholstery is made of, whether it's leather, cotton or linen, or microfibre," she explains. The care tag on your sofa will tell you what material it is – just look under a cushion.
Here’s how to clean food stains from any sofa.
First, scrape off any of the debris from the stain as soon as it happens with a butter knife. Then blot – not rub – the stain using a paper towel.
"Imagine you are brushing a soft tomato or peach, that's about how hard you want press," says Maker. Continue doing this until the liquid is removed.
Then you need to consider your sofa material.
Cover the stain with baking soda and leave for 15 minutes before vacuuming it with the brush attachment.
Coated or finished leather
Blot and then wipe with a damp microfibre cloth. You might need to use a leather conditioner if the stain remains.
Cotton or linen
Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar with 2/3 cup rubbing alcohol and sponge on to the stain then blot with a clean white cloth until the liquid is absorbed.
"Make sure you're getting the solvent onto the stain only to avoid creating water rings," says Maker. Repeat the process until the stain disappears.
Check the label for the letter in the list below.
W: You should use a water-based cleaning solution.
S: Dab the stain like cotton or linen (above), but use rubbing alcohol or vodka instead.
S/W: Either of the above methods will work
X: Vacuum only, don’t use liquid. Try to scrape up any excess stain and then gently use a toothbrush to lift remaining debris.
This article originally appeared on Better Homes and Gardens.