What Does ‘Spot Clean Only’ Mean?

A lot of people don’t pay any attention to their cleaning labels. However, these labels serve a vital purpose in telling you about materials used and explaining how to look after your furniture or upholstery.

Paying attention to cleaning code tags can help you decide if you even want to purchase such an item – some codes require very unique cleaning and are very delicate. You have to be extra careful not to get a spot clean only item heavily soiled.

If you’ve found your couch, sofa or any other material is marked as ‘spot clean only’ then this guide will help you figure out how you need to clean it!

What Is Spot Cleaning?

Spot cleaning is, essentially, cleaning just one spot or small area. It’s as simple as getting a stain on your shirt or couch and just cleaning and treating that stain. To do this though, you need to be able to pick the right cleaning solution for the fabric so that you don’t ruin it.

You’ll generally only need to undertake spot cleaning on high ticket and more intricate pieces, such as anything with beadwork or that is hand-made. These aren’t the only pieces you’ll need to consider for spot cleaning – many delicate pillows, mattresses, sheets and covers will also require spot cleaning.

You can also spot clean furniture that isn’t explicitly special or high-priced but has heavily stained patches on them. Spot cleaning will help keep those stains confined to one place and will pre-treat them so that you can remove the stains before throwing them in the wash.

Of course, you cannot spot clean all types of fabric or upholstery either— this is where taking the time to identify your cleaning codes is essential.

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Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Handheld Portable Vacuum

Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Handheld Portable Vacuum

  • 2x the suction power of any cordless vacuum
  • High torque cleaner head intuitively adapts to any floor type in auto mode
  • The integrated lcd screen displays an active countdown timer and the machines performance in real ti
  • The digital motor inside the v11 delivers 40% more suction power than the previous dyson v8 cord fre
Check Latest Price
McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner

McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner

  • Satisfaction guaranteed - backed by a 2-year hassle-free warranty and supported by a customer servic
  • Chemical-free cleaning - naturally deep clean without the use of harsh chemicals using hot, pressure
  • Large capacity tank - the 48-ounce water tank heats up in under 8 minutes and provides up to 45 minu
  • 18 versatile accessories - equipped for steam cleaning jobs in and around your home including a floo
  • Superior reach - an extra-long 15. 7-foot power cord and over 9-foot steam hose provide added maneuv
  • Built to meet u.s. voltage requirements. certified, safety-tested, and warrantied for use only in th
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Nutricost Baking Soda

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  • 2 pounds of baking soda per bottle
  • This high quality powder can be use for baking. cooking, and even toothpaste!
  • Great for deodorizing - try in the fridge, garbage cans, carpets and more!
  • Use for cleaning - pools, kitchen sinks, pots & pans, bathroom tubs, and much more!
  • Gmo free, gluten free, third party tested
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Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled White Vinegar

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  • Good for your body & the planet: dr. bronner's liquid soaps are fully biodegradable & use all-natura
  • No synthetic preservatives, detergents, or foaming agents: our liquid soaps are made with plant-base
  • 3x more concentrated than most liquid soaps: dilute! dilute! multiple uses for just one product: lau
  • Packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles: dr. bronner's is diverting discarded plasti
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Tolco High-Quality Spray Bottle - 8 oz.

Tolco High-Quality Spray Bottle - 8 oz.

  • Tolco empty spray bottle 8 oz. frosted assorted colors
  • Country of origin: china
  • Item package dimension: 7.11cm l x 16.51cm w x 18.03cm h
  • Item package weight: 5.6 oz
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Mothers Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Brush

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  • Tough bristles remove dirt and grime
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MR.SIGA Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

MR.SIGA Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

  • Ultra soft material & scratch free - ultra soft and highly absorbent microfiber cleaning cloths, gre
  • Absorbent & lint free - made of 85% polyester, 15% nylon. these non-abrasive cleaning rags can soak
  • Tackle versatile cleaning jobs - these premium microfiber towels are also perfect dish rags which do
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  • Mr.siga's mission: make your housework easier, and make the world cleaner. should you have any quest
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Rubbermaid Commercial 2.5 Gallon Bucket

Rubbermaid Commercial 2.5 Gallon Bucket

  • Heavy-duty thick wall construction.
  • Strong handle makes for easy transportation.
  • Great for janitor's closets, factory environmental services and more.
  • Molded-in spout makes pouring easy and accurate.
  • 10.5 inches long by 10.5 inches wide by 10.25 inches high. 1.19 pounds. made in the usa.
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AlbaChem® PSR II Powdered Dry Cleaning Fluid

AlbaChem® PSR II Powdered Dry Cleaning Fluid

  • Albachem - psr powdered dry cleaning fluid brush off spot remover 12.5 oz - made in usa
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What does “Spot Clean Only” Mean?

‘Spot Clean Only’ simply means that you can only clean any visible spots by hand without putting that fabric in the wash, giving it to dry cleaning, or doing any other cleaning methods.

Basically, you can only clean this by hand with a spotting agent because the fabric is delicate and will otherwise get destroyed.

If you have something this delicate, you may want to ask a professional to help, but you can still learn how to spot clean well on your own. Do not wash the material, whether it’s wet cleaning or dry cleaning.

The Best Spot Cleaning Tips:

The following tips only apply if you’ve identified your cleaning codes (e.g. S, W, WS etc.) and can verify that they are suitable. Some furniture can only be cleaned with a vacuum and nothing else (cleaning code x) – so be careful!

If ever in doubt we recommend handing it over to an insured professional, however, if you’re feeling confident and able – these tips will help.

Pre-Cleaning

You should pre-clean your fabric before you try and spot clean it. This means scraping off any excess food and blotting out any oily stains or liquid stains with a white towel or paper napkin first. This will help you remove as much moisture as possible.

Avoid rubbing the stained area as it could go further into the fabric fibers. Just use some plain water to dilute stains before you try and absorb the stains with a cloth.

Once you’re done, leave the garment out for air drying. Make sure that you avoid direct heat, though, which can make the stain even harder to remove.

Choose a Solvent

You need to choose the appropriate solvent for your fabric. Your cleaning code label should tell you, but if it doesn’t specify or you can’t find it, you’ll need to call the manufacturer to find out.

As an example, you’ll typically soak materials like cotton in warm water and avoid something like bleach, which is harsh on the fabric. Instead, you can use a little chlorine if you dilute it, or some light acids like vinegar.

Or there’s wool, which is heat sensitive. You’ll need to use warm water to soak it, and will need to keep the fabric laid out flat. No bleach or acids.

These are only a few examples, but the point is that you need to be aware of what you’re washing your upholstery with if you want to avoid damaging it further.

If you choose to use a ‘spot cleaning machine’ to complete your spot clean, this great video below from Bissell will quickly walk you through what you need to know:

FAQ:

Can I Machine Wash Spot Clean Only?

The answer is no: you cannot machine wash something that says spot clean only. Doing so will result in more damage to the fabric.

How Do You Spot Wash?

Spot washing fabric and upholstery isn’t extremely difficult. First, you need to know what type of cleaning agent you can use on that type of fabric, and from there—you can begin.

If it’s small enough, hold the item above the sink and rub just a little bit of the cleaner into the stain.

Using a toothbrush gently, you can work the cleaning agent into the stain using up and down motions that will prevent stretching the fabric.

Work the stain out before rinsing with cold water and laying it out to air dry. Never dry your fabric under direct heat.

spot clean only

Conclusion:

We can’t stress this enough, but all of the advice in this article only applies if you’ve correctly identified what type of spot cleaning can be done on your furniture.

Spot cleaning is a great way to deal with small stains, marks and odours. If you’re ever unsure of what cleaner to use, call the manufacturer to find out – and failing that, call a professional dry cleaner if you’re worried about damaging your designer couch!

-Products Mentioned In This ArticleA Quick LookPrice
Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Handheld Portable Vacuum

Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Handheld Portable Vacuum

  • 2x the suction power of any cordless vacuum
  • High torque cleaner head intuitively adapts to any floor type in auto mode
  • The integrated lcd screen displays an active countdown timer and the machines performance in real ti
  • The digital motor inside the v11 delivers 40% more suction power than the previous dyson v8 cord fre
Check Latest Price
McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner

McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner

  • Satisfaction guaranteed - backed by a 2-year hassle-free warranty and supported by a customer servic
  • Chemical-free cleaning - naturally deep clean without the use of harsh chemicals using hot, pressure
  • Large capacity tank - the 48-ounce water tank heats up in under 8 minutes and provides up to 45 minu
  • 18 versatile accessories - equipped for steam cleaning jobs in and around your home including a floo
  • Superior reach - an extra-long 15. 7-foot power cord and over 9-foot steam hose provide added maneuv
  • Built to meet u.s. voltage requirements. certified, safety-tested, and warrantied for use only in th
Check Latest Price
Nutricost Baking Soda

Nutricost Baking Soda

  • 2 pounds of baking soda per bottle
  • This high quality powder can be use for baking. cooking, and even toothpaste!
  • Great for deodorizing - try in the fridge, garbage cans, carpets and more!
  • Use for cleaning - pools, kitchen sinks, pots & pans, bathroom tubs, and much more!
  • Gmo free, gluten free, third party tested
Check Latest Price
Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled White Vinegar

  • Distilled white vinegar for cooking and household cleaning
  • Hotel and restaurant quality
  • Reduced with water to 5% acidity
Check Latest Price
HAVENLAB Deionized Water

HAVENLAB Deionized Water

Check Latest Price
Dr. Bronners - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap

Dr. Bronners - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap

  • Made with organic oils & certified fair trade ingredients: dr. bronner's pure-castile liquid soaps a
  • Good for your body & the planet: dr. bronner's liquid soaps are fully biodegradable & use all-natura
  • No synthetic preservatives, detergents, or foaming agents: our liquid soaps are made with plant-base
  • 3x more concentrated than most liquid soaps: dilute! dilute! multiple uses for just one product: lau
  • Packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles: dr. bronner's is diverting discarded plasti
Check Latest Price
Tolco High-Quality Spray Bottle - 8 oz.

Tolco High-Quality Spray Bottle - 8 oz.

  • Tolco empty spray bottle 8 oz. frosted assorted colors
  • Country of origin: china
  • Item package dimension: 7.11cm l x 16.51cm w x 18.03cm h
  • Item package weight: 5.6 oz
Check Latest Price
Mothers Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Brush

Mothers Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Brush

  • Tough bristles remove dirt and grime
  • Contoured, comfortable design
  • Extremely durable
Check Latest Price
MR.SIGA Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

MR.SIGA Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

  • Ultra soft material & scratch free - ultra soft and highly absorbent microfiber cleaning cloths, gre
  • Absorbent & lint free - made of 85% polyester, 15% nylon. these non-abrasive cleaning rags can soak
  • Tackle versatile cleaning jobs - these premium microfiber towels are also perfect dish rags which do
  • Reusable & long lasting - these microfiber towels feature high quality stitching with reinforced edg
  • Mr.siga's mission: make your housework easier, and make the world cleaner. should you have any quest
Check Latest Price
Rubbermaid Commercial 2.5 Gallon Bucket

Rubbermaid Commercial 2.5 Gallon Bucket

  • Heavy-duty thick wall construction.
  • Strong handle makes for easy transportation.
  • Great for janitor's closets, factory environmental services and more.
  • Molded-in spout makes pouring easy and accurate.
  • 10.5 inches long by 10.5 inches wide by 10.25 inches high. 1.19 pounds. made in the usa.
Check Latest Price
AlbaChem® PSR II Powdered Dry Cleaning Fluid

AlbaChem® PSR II Powdered Dry Cleaning Fluid

  • Albachem - psr powdered dry cleaning fluid brush off spot remover 12.5 oz - made in usa
Check Latest Price
About Darcy O

Loves good coffee, good design and a good nap on a good couch!

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