If the tell-tale signs of a Friday night takeaway in front of the telly have left their mark on your sofa upholstery, head to the cleaning cupboard for some basic supplies. Most upholstery fabrics are washable and can be treated with soap and water. Look under the cushions for a care label, though, before proceeding. A label will tell you if the fabric is washable or if it may shrink when wet. Use dry-cleaning solvents for these fabrics.
Scrape any remaining solids, such as butter or icing, off the upholstery and discard. Lay a paper towel over the stain and press down with your hand to blot up as much of the grease as possible.
Mix 10 ml (2 tsp) washing-up liquid with 570 ml (1 pint) warm water. Dab a clean cloth in the solution and apply it to the stain.
Blot the stain gently, working from the outside of the stain towards the centre so you don't spread it. Use slow, steady strokes, rather than vigorously scrubbing the stain to prevent damage to the fabric. Repeat until the stain is gone.
Dab a new cloth in clean water and apply it to the fabric to remove any soap residue. Soap residue left on the upholstery will attract dirt. Blot the area with a paper towel to remove excess water.
If the stain is persistent and the fabric is washable, treat it with a laundry stain remover stick. Blot the stain as previously directed and rinse.
Use a dry-cleaning solvent for tough stains, or for fabrics such as rayon that may shrink.
Always test any stain-removal technique first in an inconspicuous area before proceeding.