A Throwback Tip or Two

Good afternoon and happy Thursday all!

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve taken to the blog. So long that I really don’t even know where to begin.

This year has been…well, wild. So wild in fact, I feel like we just went from March to August in the blink of an eye and
I know most of you can relate.

Between our extended time in quarantine, amazing reopening support and just adjusting to this new normal, things are
pretty crazy in all of our lives.

I think that’s why it feels  important to get back to sharing what makes Fitterer’s the place that it is. When things
feel so different, staying grounded is just so necessary.

I’m actually working from home today, so I wasn’t sure how to approach a throwback. I typically spend some time going through the cabinet
downstairs, looking around the basement or digging through the closet upstairs for a spark of inspiration for these. I considered talking about
design and trends over the years or looking back at an older throwback feature and giving it a second life, but neither felt quite right. Getting
stuck in these little creative ruts has been a struggle for me during this crazy year, and something new and different feels so needed today.

I opened up my bag of work files I bring to and from the office, and a multicolored book published in 1990 sat wedged between a few file folders.
I think I’ve shared a few things from this booklet of furniture facts in the past, but after thumbing through it I thought it would be fun to re-visit
some of the great tips and information that lives on the 30 year old pages.

Some throwback finds are obviously dated and sort of amusing given how time, language, art…even advertising changes. This book is a little different
though. The tips, tricks and facts laid out in “Furniture Facts 27th edition” are fairly timeless.

Fitterer’s has been in business for almost 125 years now, so a few timeless tips feels like a good  share – plus, with all of us spending more time at home

(including those oh-so-loveable but also oh-so-messy kiddos!) some cleaning suggestions may be extra needed these days!

Opening up the book to a random page in the middle, I landed on a selection titled ” To Remove Spots and Stains”.

The how-to guide on the page explains ways to go about cleaning a variety of substances out of your furniture – something I can absolutely use
from time to time.

Before I share these tips with you I feel like I need to put out a little disclaimer and I hope its on par with what Brad would tell you himself!
I think its important to remember before trying any of these tips…all fabrics are not created equally. Some materials require water only cleaning to maintain the integrity of the fibers, while others can be tidied up with solvents. If you aren’t sure what your upholstery is meant to handle, check the cushions, or call the manufacturer or the retailer you purchased the furniture from. At Fitterer’s, we can generally look up the materials and manufacturer recommendations to give you some piece of mind.

Ok – and now to the tips, according to page 117 of ” Furniture Facts”

Grease Spots and Lipstick

Spread chalk, Fuller’s Earth or cornmeal on the spot. Apply a good cleaning fluid. Allow to dry, then brush it off. You can also
sponge it with carbon tetrachloride and then rub it with nap of the goods until all trace is gone.

This is one of those tips that I really appreciate…there’s nothing quite like a bright pink lipstick stain on a light colored fabric to make your
heart sink. This is one of those tips that I caution you to be careful when trying on certain fabrics however, not all upholstery likes cleaning solution!


Rub vigorously with a soft cloth soaked in warm soap suds. Rinse by rubbing with cloth which has been immersed in cold water.

According to the web, plain white vinegar can be a helpful natural alternative for ridding surfaces of mildew and mold spots, as can rubbing alcohol. Just be careful not to use too much water, which can encourage further growth.

Pain and Machine Oil

Sponge carefully with carbon tetrachloride, rub the areas with the nap of the fabric, let it dry thoroughly and then brush gently.


Use a five percent vinegar solution or a 20 percent oxalic acid solution to loosen up the spot, permit it to dry and then brush gently. Talcum powder mixed to a paste, then rubbed on and removed, also eradicates ink.


Chocolate creams should be sponged with clean warm water and allowed to dry. Scrape residue gently with the back edge of a kitchen knife. Follow with cleaning fluid, if necessary. Sugar candy should be sponged with lukewarm water.
If stain remains, rub the spot with cleaning fluid.

Chocolate be gone! Watch out for cleaning fluid on those fabrics that suggest water only , repeating the first process would probably be a safer bet on these types of upholstery.


Dissolve with alcohol, follow with damp cold water rubbing and let it dry completely.


Use hot water or a 10 percent oxalic acid solution on a clean cloth and follow directions above for paint and machine oil.

Coffee or Fruit

Sponge with cold water or carbon tetrachloride and follow same directions as given above for paint and machine oil.


Use carbon tetrachloride or benzine. Remove excess with a dull knife , let it dry and repeat the process if necessary.

Blood Stains

Soak spot with hydrogen peroxide. Use a paste of thick starch and tepid water on thick goods, spread freely, and remove when dry. Use borax water – 10 percent solution- on silk.

Yikes! I hope you never need this tip, obviously..but accidents happen!


Use alcohol and a 10 percent potassium iodide solution. After it has dried, brush it gently with a soft brush.

At first I thought…who has iodine just hanging around anymore? Being allergic to iodine…I realized I have no idea if anyone else could
need this tip. Maybe you do, and if so – happy to help!


Saturate the area with naptha or carbon tetrachloride. Brush gently. Repeat process until spot disappears.

Chewing gum

See Tar. THe same general directions should be followed but you may have to repeat the process two or more times.

My poor Mother probably needed this when I was kid…lets just say there was no gum in the house after two or three mishaps in my youth. Sorry Mom!

As I said before…make sure you check your cleaning recommendations for your upholstery fabric! If you aren’t sure what to do, or how to go about
cleaning your sofa or any of your furniture, give us a call! We’re happy to help walk you through the process and check on your fabric specifications
when it comes to furniture you bought at Fitterer’s! We also carry guardsman products and can help recommend the correct solution if needed.

If you have kids, pets…or honestly you’re just clumsy like I am..consider a performance fabric! Several of our top manufacturers offer fabrics
that stand up to tough stains and life’s little mishaps! Our sales team can walk you through your best choices when it comes to these heavy duty

Until next time, enjoy the rest of your Thursday!