Back Button

How to Repair Cigarette Burns on a Sofa

Kathy Adams

Remove burnt discoloration on a sofa with mayonnaise, water and a scraping tool. To patch a hole, cut material from an inconspicuous area; then glue it in.

Repair cigarette burns in a sofa as soon as possible after you notice them, so those eyesores don't turn into even more damage. You may be able to remove burn marks that haven't created holes with a simple cleaning treatment, while holes must be patched.

The Mayonnaise Treatment

In some cases, mayonnaise removes the brown discoloration from cigarette burns on upholstery.

    Scrape Burnt Fibers Away

  1. Scrape the burnt fibers gently with a plastic knife to see if some of the burnt fiber edges come off. Continue scraping if so, much as if you're scraping burnt toast.

  2. Apply Mayonnaise

  3. Apply a dab of mayonnaise to the burnt area, limiting the mayo to the discolored area only.

  4. Clean Off the Mayonnaise

  5. Wipe the mayonnaise away with a damp lint-free cloth after several minutes. Do your best to wipe only the mayonnaise-covered area to avoid spreading it over the upholstery.

  6. Scrape the Area Again

  7. Scrape any remaining discoloration with the edge of a plastic knife. Use the damp cloth to wipe away burnt particles. Use scissors to trim burnt fibers that stick up above the rest of the fabric.

Repairing Holes

Fix a hole left by a cigarette burn by patching the area with a scrap of matching material cut from an inconspicuous area of the sofa, such as the bottom.

  1. Cut the patch so it is at least 1/4 inch larger than the hole in all directions.

  2. Stuff the patch into the hole with a toothpick, rotating it so the fibers or patterns match.

  3. Apply a dab of fabric glue along the underside of the hole area using a toothpick.

  4. Place a piece of wax paper over the hole; then set a book atop the wax paper, waiting for the fabric glue to dry as long as recommended on the glue tube.

Leather and Vinyl Holes

Repair a burned hole in leather or vinyl with a tinted leather repair liquid. Mix the tint to match the upholstery; then apply it with the spatula from the kit. Set a piece of grain paper, also from the kit, over the repair, grain-side down. Heat-set the repair by ironing the paper for a few seconds, or as recommended on the repair-kit package. Wait for the paper to cool for a few minutes before lifting it from the repair area.


Apply the normal safety precautions when using an electric iron.