How to Clean Stains from Brocade Upholstery


Marilyn asked: I have stains on brocade upholstery. Is there any way I can clean it myself? They are antique love seats with white brocade upholstery. One has black magic marker, and the other has stains from carrots. Is there any way I can clean it myself, or should I send it to an upholsterer?

Brocade upholstery will almost always require spot cleaning (designated by furniture code S), so to prevent damage to the fibers, a mild, water free solvent or dry cleaning solution should be used.  While this is best done by a professional, the following method should provide good results against most stains at home.

You Will Need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton balls or cotton swabs

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. Before you begin, it’s very important that you spot test in a hidden area. If no color loss is detected (look for color transfer to the cotton ball or swab) then wait for the spot to dry and test to see if fabric appears to have been damaged or weakened in any way. If you spot any damage, do not continue –  it’s time to pass the job along to a pro.
  2. After a successful spot test, wet the cotton ball or swab with rubbing alcohol.
  3. Apply the moist cotton directly to the stain. Blot gently.
  4. Change cotton balls or swabs frequently to avoid transferring the stain back onto the fabric.
  5. Continue until the stain is gone.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If you do not notice an improvement within the first few moments of cleaning, or once the area of the stain has been saturated by the cotton balls for a few moments, stop working. Continued application of the alcohol may weaken the fibers. Allow the upholstery to dry completely, then call in a professional.
  • Steam cleaners are often recommended for cleaning furniture and upholstery. Don’t take that route unless your brocade has a cleaning code indicating it is suitable for water or steam-based cleaners. As a rule, this will not be the case with brocade.

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