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A New Way to Remove Furniture Stains Is Going Viral, But Experts Say It Can Be Dangerous

It may remove the stain, but this TikTok cleaning hack can harm your skin and furniture.

Furniture stains are the bain of our existence. While other stains can be fixed with a quick run through the washing machine, these are sewn down to pricey chairs and couches. So it makes sense that our ears perk up when we see a furniture-cleaning tip—like a viral TikTok hack that uses a pot lid and a dishwasher tablet to remove pesky furniture stains. Sounds cool, but does it work? And, more importantly, is it safe? Read on for insight from cleaning professionals on why this method can be dangerous.

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How a TikToker uses a pot lid and dishwasher tablet to clean furniture stains.

pot and pan lids

The methodology for this TikTok hack is simple: dissolve a dishwasher tablet in water, soak a microfiber towel in the mixture, hook the towel around a pot lid, then run it over upholstery to remove a stain. And according to the TikTok video posted by @ajvaughan, it lifted the stain with miraculous results, garnering it nearly 200,000 likes and 700 comments.

But heed these warnings from professional cleaners.

dishwasher detergent

Carol Mehas, founder of the cleaning brand arbOUR, isn't opposed to the pot lid and towel. "I love the idea of using a wash rag around pot lid as a tool for cleaning large soft surfaces—and it looks like a great workout too." But most of the experts we polled were concerned by the use of a dishwashing tablet.

"Most dishwashing tablets are made with sodium percarbonate, which is, in essence, a simple bleach," says Mehas. "They can be harsh to bare hands and skin, and those with sensitivities, eczema, or the like would be wise to wear gloves when handling them."

Other experts noted that furniture that's been treated with a dishwashing tablet could even be harmful to people and pets who sit on it afterward.

Your furniture could also suffer. Mehas questions what the furniture would look like a few hours after it's been treated with this method. "You'd be best not just to do one spot, as the salt content in the tablet would most likely leave a ring mark around the spot you treated," she says. And again, treating the entire piece of furniture could have harmful results. In other words: hard pass on the dishwashing tablet.

If you have a furniture stain, do this instead.

cleaning products in bucket
Natali _ Mis / Shutterstock

While TikTok hacks are fun, there are better ways to lift stains from upholstery. James King, operations manager at Deluxemaid in Indianapolis, walks us through a tried-and-true method. First, vacuum the furniture with a soft-bristled brush attachment to remove loose dirt or debris. Then, check the manufacturer's label on the item you're cleaning to see if there are any cleaning instructions or restrictions. Perform a patch test with your cleaning solution to ensure it doesn't stain.

Now, for the magic. "Once you have tested the cleaning solution, apply it to the stain or to the entire surface of the upholstery using a clean, damp cloth or sponge," says King. "After applying the cleaning solution, use a clean, dry cloth or paper towel to blot the stain, working from the outside to avoid spreading the stain further." When you're finished, rinse the area with clean water and blot it dry with a clean, dry cloth. Allow it to dry completely, and you're done!

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Or call in a pro.

Cleaning a carpet stain with a spray bottle, common cleaning tips

Sometimes, it's best to call in a professional. "If you have stubborn or set-in stains on your upholstery that won't come out with normal cleaning methods, a professional cleaner should be able to help as they have specialized equipment and cleaning products that can help remove even the toughest stains," says Karina Toner, operations manager at Spekless in Washington, DC. "If your upholstery is made of a delicate or sensitive fabric, such as silk, velvet, or leather, it may also require specialized cleaning methods that are best left up to the care of professional cleaners." A pro will be able to assess the stain and provide the best option for cleaning.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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