How to Clean Vinyl Stains

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Vinyl, or polyvinyl chlorid, is a type of plastic used for everything from upholstery and floor tiling to window blinds and clothing. While it's generally durable, it is unfortunately prone to stains. Invest in vinyl protector spray or coating if the item is expensive, like car upholstery. This will help prevent stains from occurring.

  • Remove everyday dirt with a store-bought vinyl cleaner, or a bit of soap and water for most routine cleaning. Keep in mind that water can cause vinyl to become brittle and crack, so use sparingly.

  • Remove oil by trying rubbing alcohol first. If that doesn't work, rub the stain away with some paint thinner (mineral spirits or Stoddard solvent).

  • Remove dye (like from clothing) by rubbing the stain away with some paint thinner (mineral spirits or Stoddard solvent). It's important to act quickly, preferably within 15 minutes.

  • Remove pen ink with rubbing alcohol. If that doesn't work, try hydrogen peroxide (do a spot check first). If that still doesn't help, try rubbing the stain away with some paint thinner (mineral spirits or Stoddard solvent).

  • Remove makeup, crayons, markers and felt-tipped pens by rubbing the stain away with a bit of white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. If that doesn't help, try rubbing the stain away with some paint thinner (mineral spirits or Stoddard solvent).

Tips & Warnings

  • Always use paint thinner and other chemicals in a well-ventilated area.
  • Do a spot test before using any chemical or solvent on a large area.

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