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How to Clean a Sofa - Cleaning Your Couch at Home

woman in gloves cleanign a couch and sofa
April 18, 2023

Sofas are usually the most popular piece of furniture in every home. We use them to relax after a busy day at work and enjoy our favourite TV shows during the weekends. However, due to that frequent use by the whole family, including pets, sofas can start to look and feel dirty over time. To avoid this, you should maintain this furniture on a regular basis.

But how do you clean your couch and restore its former glory? Well, in case, it is not excessively filthy or stained, you may be able to clean it yourself. Here, we'll give you some tips and tricks on how to do so. However, if your sofa is quite dirty, soiled, or smells unpleasant, it would be better to consider hiring professional cleaning services.

What is the best way to clean a sofa?

woman cleaning her sofa/couch with a brush

The best way to clean a couch depends on the material or fabric as well as the quantity of grime and stains. You should definitely consider hiring expert cleaners if you want to ensure that your sofa is cleaned thoroughly and effectively. They have the skills and experience to work with various types of textiles and choose the best cleaning approach for your specific couch. The professionals also have machinery and cleaning supplies that are often more powerful than those that may be rented or purchased.

It does not mean, however, that you can't effectively clean your sofa at home. There are numerous home remedies and ready-to-use cleaning solutions that can assist keep your sofa clean and neat. However, if you decide to handle this job on your own, you must use a cleaning approach and products appropriate for the material of your sofa. Using an improper cleaning solution or technique can cause damage to the fabric. It is also critical that you follow the care instructions for your furniture and try any detergent on a small, invisible area first before applying it to an entire sofa.

If you have any concerns about which cleaning approach or product is best for your couch, seek professional assistance. A professional cleaning service may also be the best solution if your sofa is excessively filthy or has exceptionally stubborn stains.

How do you clean your sofa at home?

The particular cleaning method and supplies you should use will vary based on the material of your sofa as well as the degree of grime and staining. However, there are some general steps that may be applicable to most types of couches.


The vacuum cleaner is the first tool that should come into play when cleaning a dirty sofa. It does not necessarily need to have a washing function. All you need to do is use the upholstery attachment on your machine. Make sure to remove any dust, derbies, or pet hair that has become adhered to the surface or crevices of your sofa.

Spot cleaning

The most crucial element of the cleaning process for most households, especially those with children or pets, is eliminating stains from the sofa. Although professional cleaning is usually the best and most effective option, you may be able to clean stains on your own in some situations. You can buy ready-to-use upholstery stain removers, which are widely available, or treat the affected areas using common home items such as vinegar and baking soda. Whatever method you use, you must ensure it is appropriate for your type of sofa, otherwise, you risk ruining the fabric. Always follow the instructions on the product label and test it on a tiny, inconspicuous area first.

Washing of the removable covers

A sofa with removable cushions and covers is a true gift for housewives. You can simply remove all of the covers and couch cushions and wash them in the washing machine. As a result, you will only need to treat the immovable upholstery - the back, armrests, and front lining. However, keep in mind that machine washing sofa cushions and coverings should be done according to the fabric type. Some sofa fabrics may not be suitable for machine washing. Always read the manufacturer's cleaning instructions on the sofa's tags first. Also, make sure to let the sofa cushions and coverings dry completely before putting them back again.

Deep cleaning

When it comes to refreshing upholstered furniture, one of the most requested professional cleaning services is deep cleaning upholstery. The procedure is normally carried out with the use of specialized equipment, such as a steam cleaner. The heated steam that is emitted under high pressure is an effective instrument not only against dust and stains but also against bacteria that might become embedded in the fabric.

You can also deep clean your sofa on your own. All you need to do is rent a steam cleaner. There are various models available. Do not forget to carefully read the instruction on the machine before begin cleaning your sofa. Also, once you finish, be sure to allow the couch to completely dry before using it again.


To keep your sofa looking and smelling good, vacuum it on a regular basis and clean up any spills or stains as soon as they happen. You can also use a fabric refresher or deodorizer to help neutralize any odours. Deep cleaning should be done at least twice a year. However, if you have pets or children, you may need to get your couch deep-cleaned more frequently.

How to clean a fabric sofa at home?

Fabric sofas are usually easy to maintain. The level of cleaning and care necessary, however, will be determined by the amount of use the furniture receives. It is important that you vacuum the entire couch on regular basis. It will help you keep it free from dust, dirt and debris. Spills and stains can be removed with some household products or a commercial cleaning solution. If your sofa has removable cushions and covers, you can machine-wash them on a gentle cycle with mild detergent. Just make sure you first check the cleaning tag.

How to remove stains from fabric?

Here, we will share with you how to remove stains from a fabric couch by using some common household items.

  • Gather the necessary tools. You will need a clean cloth, distilled water, dishwashing liquid, baking soda and white vinegar.
  • Mix the ingredients. Get a bowl and add 1 teaspoon of each of the ingredients: warm water, baking soda, white vinegar, and dish soap. Mix them well until foamy.
  • Treat the stains. Apply the mixture to the affected areas and gently rub it with a stiff brush. Then let the solution work for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Clean up. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe up the surface and eliminate the remaining mixture.

Please note that this approach may not work on stubborn stains or smudge areas. In such cases, it is best to hire professionals.

How to get a smell out of couch fabric?

One simple way to get rid of the unwanted smells is by sprinkling baking soda over the sofa's surface. Let the baking soda sit for half an hour and then vacuum the fabric sofa with a brush attachment. It is important to note that this method alone will not eliminate a pet urine smell. In such cases, it is best to seek help from professionals.

How to clean a leather sofa at home?

Leather couches may require more upkeep to maintain their appearance. They should be cleaned gently with the right cleaning products. To remove loose particles, debris and dust, you can use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment. Eliminating stains from the leather sofa can be done with warm, distilled water alone or white vinegar solution depending on the type of stain. There are also some stain removers available that can help you deal with spills and stains. You just need to make sure you choose a product that is suitable for your specific type of leather and always do a spot test on an inconspicuous area. To keep the material supple and soft you can use a leather conditioner.

How to remove stains from a leather couch?

The cleaning approach will depend on the type of stain, whether it is a water or grease stain or maybe an ink mark. Different stains require different treatments.

  • Water stains. Get a damp cloth and begin wiping the stained area using a circular motion. Don't rub too hard. Once the stain is gone, dry the surface with a clean microfiber cloth.
  • Oil stains. Get a dry cloth and gently blot up as much of the grease or oil as possible. After that, apply talcum powder or cornstarch to the affected region and leave it to work overnight. Remove any residual powder with a clean white cloth the next day.
  • Ink stains. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and start gently rubbing the stain. Once you are done, blot the area with a clean cloth.

If you are unclear on how to remove a stain from your leather sofa, it is recommended to seek the advice of a professional cleaner.

How to get a bad odour out of a leather sofa?

To eliminate odors from a leather sofa, you should first identify where they are coming from. If there is a spill or stain causing the bad smell, clean the affected area using a leather cleaner. If the odour persists, try removing it with baking soda. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the entire sofa and leave it for several hours, ideally overnight. Then, carefully vacuum up the baking soda using a soft brush attachment.

Please bear in mind that some strong odours, such as pet urine or smoke, may require professional cleaning to be entirely removed.

To conclude

Cleaning your sofa at home is a very important task that should never be overlooked. With a little bit of effort and some common household items, you can keep your couch looking nice and inviting for years to come. Remember to vacuum your sofa on a regular basis, address any stains or spills immediately, and use cleaning solutions that are suitable for the material of your couch. If your sofa looks unclean or smells bad despite your cleaning efforts, seek assistance from a professional cleaning company.


Can fabric sofa be washed?

It depends on the type of fabric and the cleaning recommendations given by the manufacturer. Some fabric couches with removable cushions and covers can be washed using mild cleaning detergents and water but other may need to be cleaned by professionals. Always read the manufacturer's instructions for the recommended cleaning technique before attempting to wash your fabric sofa. Also, be sure to use a gentle program so that you do not damage the sofa fabric.

How can you clean a fabric sofa without removable covers?

Vacuum the sofa or use a soft dry brush to get rid of dust and particles. Use a cleaning detergent suitable for your specific sofa to eliminate dirt and stains. You can also make a homemade solution using some products like baking soda, white vinegar and water.

If you want to get rid of any unpleasant smell apply baking soda and leave it to act overnight. Then vacuum thoroughly the next morning. To give your sofa a deeper clean, you can call a professional cleaning service or rent an upholstery steam cleaner and perform the work yourself. If you pick a DIY technique, make sure you strictly follow the machine's instructions and let the fabric sofa air dry properly before using it again.

What is the best way to clean velvet sofas?

Because of the delicate nature of the fabric, velvet coaches may necessitate special care when cleaning. To keep it free from loose particles and dust, vacuum the surface on a regular basis. When it comes to spot cleaning, be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions to see which approach is best for your couch. You can use a solution of mild detergent and water or a specially formulated velvet upholstery cleaner. Be sure to not rub the velvet. Instead, gently wipe the fabric with the cleaning solution, working from the outside in, until the stain is removed.

Once you are done, leave the couch to air dry and then gently brush the pile using a soft brush. If you want to steam clean your velvet sofa, it is best to hire professionals. Doing the job on your own can be risky as the high heat and moisture can damage the delicate fibres of the fabric, causing it to lose its texture and sheen.

Which is better for your sofa, water-based cleaner or solvent-based cleaner?

It depends on the type of fabric and the level of cleaning needed. Water-based cleaners are usually milder and can be used on most fabric sofas. They work well on water-soluble stains like coffee, tea, and juice. However, such kind of cleaner might be not efficient for eliminating oil-based stains and deeply ingrained filth.

Solvent-based cleaners, on the other hand, can be a good choice when you have to deal with grease or stubborn stains. However, it is critical to use such products in an area with appropriate ventilation because they frequently contain strong chemicals that can be hazardous if inhaled. Also, keep in mind that solvent-based cleaners are usually incompatible with specific fabrics, such as leather, suede, or velvet.

Can you use a carpet cleaner to clean a fabric sofa?

Although carpet cleaners can work well on some upholstered furniture, it is best to not use them on a fabric couch without first checking the manufacturer's instructions. There are some fabric couches that could be damaged by the high pressure and moisture from a carpet cleaner.

Can couch cushion foam be washed?

It is generally not recommended to wash couch cushion foam because it is difficult to dry and may become misshapen or damaged. In some cases, you may be able to wash foam if it's made from washable material and the manufacturer's instructions permit it.

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