Allegedly the couches were treated with some sort of protectant that meant you could only use water on the seats. But using water to clean your cushions leads to watermarks, which look even worse than the stains themselves:
The spot-cleaning with water solution is pretty much worse than the problem here.
Naturally, even though I'm not much of a deep cleaner, I had to repin this cleaning idea.
The basic idea: use rubbing alcohol instead of water.
Alcohol dries faster than water (the technical term for this chemical property is "volatility." Now you know), so the alcohol won't leave those big watermarks. Once it's dry, you take a scrub brush to the fabric to lift the fibers again.
Verdict:My other solution to this problem was to liberally wet the entire couch top of the cushion: no edges, no watermarks, right?
Frankly, my solution was a bit easier. Both methods require considerable elbow grease, but my hands got tired from working the sprayer (a very wet rag is sufficient to clean the couches with water). Plus alcohol fumes are NOT fun. Alcohol does dry a lot faster (the above pictures were taken about an hour after the before shots, and the couch was dry enough that we put the cushions back on).
Also, neither method is effective on stains like pen, candy or permanent marker, and neither really helped with the very dirty arms of the couch.
And of course, a year later, the couch is just as bad—worse in places where my youngest has decided to express her artistic side. :\
Pintesting success:I don't want to be all bad news. I tried this pin this weekend, and as you'd probably expect, the results were perfect:
Line a bowl with foil before draining meat for easy cleanup! My husband thought this was so clever, he had to tell me twice!