A quick search of the internet might lead you to believe that no one in the history of the world has failed to blot and treat a spill in a timely manner, and you and your upholstery are utterly doomed because your stains have set-in and nothing short of inventing a time machine, crashing the lively spaghetti and red wine party that marred the vintage set of dining chairs you just scored at the flea market, and cleaning those spills when they occur will be of any use in removing the stains. All kidding aside, and in spite of several Google search result pages to the contrary, there are things you can do to revive a stained piece of upholstery, even if the staining took place long ago.
Vacuum: Upholstery should be vacuumed frequently to keep the fabric in good shape and prevent dust and crumbs from settling into the body of the furniture. In the case of an old stain, it's surprising how much a simple vacuuming can help the fade the stain. It should always be the first step in dealing with this kind of damage, you don't really know what you're dealing with, or how bad the stain truly is until all of the loose particles have been sucked away by the vacuum.
Assess: Check your furniture for its cleaning codes. This gets you on the right track of how to best tackle your stain. Some pieces can be cleaned with water, others will require moving directly into various solvents. If your furniture lacks a cleaning code, which is often the case with vintage and antique pieces that have been modified over the years, do a simple spot test on a hidden piece of upholstery. I like to test water, vodka, and vinegar because they're always my first choices for cleaning, before getting into the more heavy-hitting chemical stuff.
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