/ / How-to Clean Jean Stains from Sofa Cushions

How-to Clean Jean Stains from Sofa Cushions

You love your new blue jeans, but not the stains they leave on light furniture. How I managed to remove jean stains from my Pottery Barn sofa.

Getting jean stains on the sofa has plagued me ever since I bought a cream colored sofa. Plus I love dark wash jeans!

This has been an issue that annoyed me to the point I bought a darker sofa to avoid the issue, but I love the look of a lighter sofa.

Recently I purchased another cream colored sofa with slipcovers and took my chances.

Well, a new unwashed pair of Old Navy jeans struck again!

Sharing how I successfully removed jean stains in just 30 minutes.

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How-to-clean-jean-stains-from-cushions

Contains hand selected products, with affiliate marketing links where I may make a small commission if a purchase is made. {full disclosure here}

Preventing Blue Jean Stains on Light Colored Upholstery

Do you think I have a solution to stop Indigo dye?

Ha, ha even with a degree in textiles I don’t have a stop to this problem. It’s an unavoidable nuisance for sure.

Especially when you have a party and someone arrives in their brand new jeans. Trust me you are bound to get some jean stains on your light colored sofa.

The only REAL solution is to put a blanket or throw down on the seat of the cushion, but I have never been a fan of that.

It’s important to me to not treat my friends like the dog!

What is sad is I’ve had $200 dollar jeans and $20 dollar jeans rub off on the sofa.

The culprit this time was my $20 Old Navy jeans I decided to wear before washing…big mistake!

The indigo bleed was so bad in the same day my hands, legs and sofa turned blue.

Ideas to stop jeans from rubbing off on other fabrics and staining them blue:

ALWAYS WASH JEANS ALONE SO THEY DON’T BLEED ONTO OTHER PIECES OF CLOTHING

  1. At a minimum, wash your jeans 2 times before ever wearing them. This will also prevent your jeans from staining your hands, legs, and white shirt too.
  2. Using the pre-soak setting on your washing machine, pre-soak before washing jeans to help release the indigo dye.
  3. Wash jeans in warm water. 
  4. If you have one handy, toss in a pod of Oxi-Clean with jeans to help release additional dyes.

OR always sit on a blanket or throw if you are worried about it 🙂

Blue Jean Stains on an Off-White Sofa

The new sofa I bought has PERFORMANCE fabric slipcovers branded Crypton™. Read my review here: Review of Pottery Barn York Slipcovered Sofa

I thought this stuff would be bullet-proof and for the most part it has been.

So I went for a fabric called Oatmeal and it’s very light, but perfect in my home.

Pottery-Barn-York-Slipcovered-Sofa-Crypton-Oatmal

Simply using a baby wipe I’ve been able to remove tough stains like:

  • Buffalo wing sauce
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Chocolate
  • Blood

Yes, we all eat and drink on the sofa and my dog sleeps on it too.

But then the dreaded stains from my new jeans appeared.

I didn’t wash the jeans before wearing them and after a couple of holiday parties later…

Jean-Stains-Pottery-Barn-Slipcovered-Sofa-Crypton-Fabric-Up-Close Jean-Stains-Pottery-Barn-Slipcovered-Sofa-Crypton-Fabric

You can see the blue jean stains had now invaded my sofa.

Luckily, I kept the original fabric sample swatch so you can see how the fabric changed.

It doesn’t look as bad in this picture, but trust me it was very obvious in person that the cushion was stained blue.

Researching How-to Remove Dye Transfer Stains

At first, I tried my baby wipe trick to remove the pesky blue stains, but other than making them less dark it didn’t remove them.

The manufacturer recommended dry cleaning…yuck, expensive and time consuming!

Pottery-Barn-Performance-Everyday-Linen-Oatmeal-Crypton-Fabric-Cleaning-Instructions

Then I read A LOT of methods of removing denim and blue jean stains, but wasn’t loving the mixing and time consuming process recommended. 

Crypton™ had a whole cleaning process around “dye transfer” too and a least sell a pre-mixed product that is supposed to help. I’ll keep some handy for later. 

Next, I thought for sure Pottery Barn would have instructions for cleaning their slipcovers and this is where I had my light bulb moment!

Pottery-Barn-Slipcover-Washing-Instructions-Grade-E-and-D

OK, OK I do have the Grade D fabric but maybe I can wash my cushion covers like Grade E????

I WISH I would have read about this before I selected my very expensive Crypton sofa fabric, because there were other fabric options that are machine washable!

It’s important to mention the fabric content I was attempting to clean: 52% linen, 33% rayon, 15% cotton the WORST ever as all of these yarns shrink.

BOTH Linen and Rayon should be dry cleaned, but what I remembered from my Clemson University, B.S. in Textiles is they only shrink if you DRY them on medium to high heat. 

How I Cleaned Jean Stains from an Off-White Sofa

First and foremost, this process will only work in the following situations and AT YOUR OWN RISK:

  • Your cushion covers have a zipper and can be removed or a slipcover that is removable.
  • They aren’t silk or satin…only heavy duty upholstery fabric.

Sorry, if you have a true static upholstered piece of furniture your only option is to SPOT clean with a leather/vinyl cleaner designed to remove dye transfer.

At least using this method there isn’t any mixing, it will just be a bit more time consuming.

I’d recommend using a white cloth when spot cleaning and having a spray bottle of clear water for rinsing. 

What did I end up doing to rid my sofa of the dreaded jean stains? 

Sofa-Cushion-After-Being-Washed-Cream-Colored-Jean-Stains-Removed-from-Crypton-Fabric
Blue Jean Stains Removed

Jean-Stains-Removed-from-Pottery-Barn-Cushion-Crypton-Fabric-Cover

Threw the cushion covers in the washing machine and they look as good as new (YOU MUST READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE ATTEMPTING!). 

How-to-remove-blue-jean-stains-Sofa-Cushion-After-Being-Washed-Cream-Colored-Denim-Stains-Removed-from-Crypton-Fabric

How-to Clean Jean Stains from Cushions

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $1

Quickly and easily remove blue jean stains from light colored sofa fabrics.

Materials

  • Laundry Detergent

Tools

  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. zip-off-cushion-cover-prior-to-washingRemove cushion covers from sofa cushions by unzipping them.
  2. Washing-Seat-Slip-Cover-to-Remove-Denim-StainsToss cushions into washing machine with an enzyme based detergent pod like Tide or Gain.
  3. Wash on a short or speed cycle with the water temperature set at warm, spin at medium, and soil at medium (if that option is available). If you are concerned about the fabric shrinking, set the water temperature to cold but cleaning may not be as thorough.
  4. Before-Drying-Cushion-Covers-Check-to-make-sure-all-jean-stains-are-removed. Once wash cycle is complete, check to make sure blue jean stains were removed. If not, repeat wash cycle BEFORE DRYING!
  5. Dryer-Settings-to-Dry-Sofa-SlipcoverDry on a delicate cycle or very low heat for about 10 minutes. Cushions should be HALF DRY and DAMP to the touch. Do not allow them to dry completely or they will shrink!
  6. Tangled-Threads-Inside-Cushion-Slipcover-After-Washing-to-Remove-Denim-StainsDuring washing your fabric may lose some threads around the zipper.
  7. Trimming-Threads-from-Inside-Cushion-CoverCarefully cut them away using scissors. It's important to remove these extra threads so they don't get clogged in the zipper.
  8. Stretching-Crypton-Slipcover-to-Fit-CushionIMMEDIATELY after removing from dryer, zip on cushion covers while they are still damp. THIS WILL BE DIFFICULT. You will need to pull and stretch to get the cushion zipped closed. DO NOT FORCE THE ZIPPER or you may rip the fabric.
  9. Sitting-on-Cushion-to-Make-Closing-Zipper-EasierI found it helpful to sit on the cushion to compress it and then have two hands to pull the zipper closed and zip.
  10. Prop cushions so there is airflow and they dry thoroughly on all sides. This took about an hour.
  11. Sofa-Cushion-After-Being-Washed-Cream-Colored-Jean-Stains-Removed-from-Crypton-FabricEnjoy your clean cushion covers that are now jean stain free! Plus the sofa will smell SO clean too.

Notes

  • DO NOT LET YOUR CUSHIONS DRY COMPLETELY OR THEY WILL SHRINK!
  • Please make sure to reinstall the cushion covers while they are damp, so you can stretch the fabric.
  • Be patient when zipping the covers closed and pull the fabric so you don't pull out the zipper.
  • Sitting on the cushion will help compress the padding, which expanded once you removed the cover.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

I hope you found this information and tutorial helpful!

Please make sure you don’t dry your cushion fabric completely…only allow them to dry half way.

Take washing your cushions into special consideration and try spot cleaning first 🙂

Please consider signing up for my weekly email newsletter and following me on Pinterest and Instagram for daily inspiration.

Until next time…

Porch Daydreamer

Tracey

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12 Comments

  1. It’s interesting that your earlier sofa sprouted feathers. What brand was it? I have a RH leather sofa which also sheds down & feathers weekly if not daily. After almost 6 yrs, it still releases feathers. Even though they come through the seams, it is feathers, fewer down pieces. I’ve resorted to filling the seat back cushions with latex fill.

    RH looks nice but does not wear nice. I had a wool rug for 5 yrs then stuck it in the garage because it kept shedding. Beware. I would love to see an index on these furniture and rug providers to compare livability and lifetime. I’m scared to death to spend that same amount again only to want to give it away when the problems, like shedding, don’t improve. Thanks for listening.

  2. Thank you so much for the post. It is really informative and helpful. If you were to go back in time, would you still pick this fabric or go with a washable option from the get go? Also do you believe going with a slightly darker fabric color would have been less frequent cleaning and maintenance or just about the same since it is a performance fabric anyways regardless of color ? Thanks a lot !!

    1. Noha, I address some of this in the post and yes I wish I got a washable fabric for sure. After going to a darker sofa before this one and not loving it, I’m always going to have a light colored sofa and stay on top of the cleaning 🙂

  3. I have a white sofa that I bought in 1992 and still love. It has always been slip covered. First by a white, $300 dry clean only, cover from Bloomongdales that I shrunk because I washed it. Now it is covered by a $50 Ektorp Ikea cover that I altered slightly to fit my sofa. First, I suggest is that if you have a sewing machine use it to finish the inside of the seams with an overlock stitch/binding stitch. Second, a loose stip of light colored cotton fabric laid under your zipper can help reduce the snagging of your cushion plus help prevent rust from a damp zipper. Oh, and that $300 cover that I shrunk, I was able to use the 6 cushion covers on my rattan pieces.

  4. This is excellent, step-by-step instructions. I also have a white slipcovered sofa hand-made by a seamtress friend who did an excellent job both in helping me choose the fabric and her meticulous measuring and sewing. It was well worth the price to update my 27-yr old sofa that was oversized (perfect for my new home) and in excellent condition as it was rarely used in the room it occupied for so many years in my old house. She also told me it could be machine-washed BUT NEVER TO LET IT DRY COMPLETELY IN THE DRYER. As a general practice, I keep a white throw on it unless company comes, so it is in great condition after 2 years but I am anxious to give it a washing on a somewhat regular basis to keep it beautiful and fresh. I’m going to start with the throw pillows. If I goof, they can always be replaced. Thanks so much. Your fine post has given me courage that it will work. LOVE MY WHITE SOFA.

    1. YAY to white sofas! They make a room look so fresh and clean. I’m glad to hear you got the same advice…I just got lucky with trial and error. Upcycling is so smart. My last sofa was covered three times, before I bought my current version.

  5. I too have a pottery barn sectional and I have a denim white sofa. And a black lab. And five grown kids and grandchildren. I wash my slipcovers all the time. Love them. The only thing I haven’t gotten all the way out was a spot someone told me was ice tea. Any suggestions? I even have used oxyclean and bleach.

    1. So glad to hear you have success keeping your slipcovers clean 🙂 Sounds like it may be oil based if bleach doesn’t get it out. If you dried it multiple times, it may be permanent unfortunately. I’ve hear AMAZING things about Carbona cleaners. They have a fat and oil stain remover and a wine, tea, coffee remover. Edited: they have a whole collection for every stain…here is my affilaite link and I plan to buy for future issues. https://amzn.to/391rNIi

  6. Hi Tracey!

    Thank you for this really informative post! I just purchased the same PB sofa in the Oatmeal Performance Boucle fabric as we have a dog and I just had to be able to wash the slipcovers. I will save your cleaning instructions because I just know there will surely be some denim transfer in my future.

    Have a great week!

    Lisa

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