Elaine said, “Here’s a challenge for you: An oil lamp went berserk and set off our smoke alarm. An oily film as left all over the house. I used a small amount of biodegradable soap and white vinegar in hot water to clean up the hard surfaces, but my microfiber sofa and recliners are the problem. What would you use to remove the oil film from fabric surfaces?”
A little known fact about soot is that is contains oil. This greasy residue can be even more difficult to remove when it’s on upholstery because it can soak into the fabric fibers. Follow the steps below to remove the film and the stains that it may leave behind.¹
Removing the Residue
You Will Need:
- Baking soda
- Wheat germ
- Plastic wrap
- Shaving foam
- Formula 409
- Upholstery shampoo
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Hydrogen peroxide
Steps to Remove the Residue:
- Pour a generous amount of salt over the horizontal parts of the upholstery. Let the salt soak up the soot for several hours, then vacuum it up. Baking soda, cornstarch, or wheat germ can also be used in place of salt, but it can be difficult to remove these powders from the upholstery fibers, so it is best to select the one that matches your upholstery color the closest.²
- Once the horizontal sides are finished, turn the piece on its side to make the vertical sides horizontal and repeat step 1. Another option is to have one person hold the bottom of a piece of plastic wrap over the vertical area, and have a second person pour salt between the plastic wrap and upholstery surface with one hand and push the plastic wrap upwards into place as the salt covers each area with their other hand.
- If any residue remains, spray a small amount of white shaving foam on the upholstery, scrub it in with a cloth, then sponge the area with water to rinse.²
- Another option is to use Formula 409² or upholstery shampoo. Follow the instructions on the label of your selected cleaner.3
- If there is a stain from the soot, blot it with isopropyl alcohol.³
- If the stain remains, dampen a cloth with hydrogen peroxide and blot it on a hidden area first to test for any adverse reaction. If safe, blot the damp cloth onto the stain.
Additional Tips and Advice
- An extraction steam cleaner can effectively remove the soot residue, as the high heat and instant removal action can help to pull the film out of the fabric fibers.
- Dry cleaning solution, such as Dryel, can also remove soot residue. Look for a home dry cleaning kit in the laundry aisle of a supermarket.
- If there is any odor that lingers after the upholstery appears clean, take the piece outside to air out or have it steam cleaned with deodorizer.³
- Removing Spots and Stains by Ibert and Eleanor Mellan
- Joey Green’s Cleaning Magic by Joey Green
- Don Aslett’s Stainbuster’s Bible by Don Aslett