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June 30, 2022 Care

What is Spot Cleaning?

A little bit of TLC can go a long way to elongate the life of your textiles, which is not only great for the planet, but also for your budget/wallet! Sam, MINNA’s Design + Development Lead, demystifies the elusive process of spot cleaning, assuring that it’s easier than you might think.

We’ve all been there. As careful as we try to be, a stain appears on one of our treasured items. Ice cream drips on a throw, a sip of wine spills onto a pillow, or grandma’s famous spaghetti sauce splatters onto the rug. Many items can be thrown in the wash and the stain magically disappears, but what do you do when the textile is not machine washable? Let’s talk about spot cleaning!

Spot cleaning, put simply, is tackling a stain without washing the whole product. Something like our 100% wool pillows cannot be machine washed, so stains must be addressed exclusively by spot cleaning. But I'll let you in on a little secret: Even machine washable items need spot cleaning sometimes!

Let’s say you dropped a morsel of chocolate on an Element Rug. Don’t panic! Spot cleaning will take care of the issue! There are many different techniques for spot cleaning, but here is my tried and true:

  1. First thing’s first: carefully remove any pieces that have not been absorbed into the textile. Find a clean, dry cloth rag or disposable towel and wet it with lukewarm water. Make sure the towel is white so there is no possibility of dye transferring from the rag to the textile in question. A cotton ball can also do the trick!

  2. Drop a small amount of dish soap onto the damp cloth (Dawn dish soap seems to be the best option 9 times out of 10, not sponsored). I prefer to put the soap onto the cloth instead of the stained textile as it makes for easier cleaning, and you don’t have to worry about too much soap residue being left on the textile afterwards. Using gentle pressure, press the damp, slightly soapy cloth into the stain on the textile. Make sure not to drag or swipe the cloth along the surface of the fabric, as this may cause the stain to spread. Dab the cloth into the textile multiple times to get the surface stain to “lift” out of the fabric. Once the cloth is not absorbing any more of the stain (or the stain is gone already), use a different dry cloth or disposable towel to dab at the stain to absorb some of that added water and soap. At this point, wait for the textile to dry in order to assess next steps.

  3. If the stain has disappeared, great! Use a dampened cloth without soap to give it a “rinse cycle” and get that excess soap out. Press the dampened cloth into the spot just like before, and use a dry rag to absorb the water afterwards.

  4. If the stain persists, give it another try with the soap and damp cloth, trying from both sides of the textile and “flushing out the stain” by placing (just the stained part) under a faucet for a few seconds on low pressure. Use a dry cloth to dab out the excess water and let dry. If the stain is still visible, there is always the option of taking the textile to a professional cleaner. They will be able to assess the situation and let you know if they can treat a spot or if a full dry clean would be necessary.

That is spot cleaning in a nutshell! Small stains are no issue when a little soap and water will do the trick. Use this technique on any small stain no matter the fiber make-up of the product. For larger stains, like kicking over an entire glass of wine on your parent’s new rug (sorry, Mom!), skip the spot cleaning step and go directly to a professional cleaner.