The Ultimate Guide to Couch Cleaning

Cleaning & Organizing

Your sofa is one of the most used— and abused— pieces of furniture in your home. Not only does it offer a comfortable seat in your living room, but it doubles as a bed, dinner table, a place to snuggle your dog or loved ones, and even a home office. But with all that multitasking comes dirt, dust mites, bacteria, pet hair, odors, pet dander, allergens, coffee stains, and all sorts of germs.

Your couch does a lot for you, so why not give it a little love in return? With these easy couch cleaning methods, you can keep your sofa in tip-top shape and reduce everyday wear-and-tear.

How often should I clean my couch?

In general, you should clean your couch every six months to twelve months. This frequency varies based on various factors, including fabric type, frequency of use, pets, kids, and even users' allergies or health concerns.

Couch Cleaning

How to Clean a Couch

When it comes to sofa cleaning, there's no one solution. The best cleaning products and methods vary widely depending on what materials the sofa is made from. So don't assume that a store-bought cleaning agent— or even plain old water and dishwashing liquid— is safe to use before testing to ensure it won't ruin the appearance of your sofa.

Upholstery Cleaning Codes

Before cleaning, the first step is to look at the symbols on the tag to determine the fabric content and the cleaning code. When in doubt, consult the furniture brand or a professional cleaner for tips on deciphering the code.

  • W— Fabric is safe to clean with a mild detergent diluted with water. With the proper technique, you can clean your couch without needing professional cleaners.
  • S— Fabric can only be cleaned using a solvent-based product, such as a dry cleaning solution. Due to the toxic chemicals required, it's best to leave cleaning S-code couches to the professionals.
  • W-S— Fabric can safely be cleaned using either a water-soluble detergent mixture or chemical solvents. If you plan to clean it yourself, make sure to test a small spot in an inconspicuous area to ensure no discoloration occurs.
  • X— Fabric cannot be cleaned outside of brushing or vacuuming. There's a high risk of shrinking or staining the fabric by using steam or cleaning products.

Furniture Cleaning Methods

When it comes to sofa cleaning solutions, there are numerous cleaning methods and tools on the market. Selecting one comes down to your budget, style of couch, and the amount of elbow grease you're willing to put in.

Professional

Undoubtedly, the easiest way to clean a couch is to call in professional cleaners for assistance. Using a cleaning service can be especially helpful if your sofa is made from leather, suede, or delicate fabric upholstery.

Machine Wash

These days, many cushion covers can be removed, and machine washed for easy stain removal. Avoid putting the cushions in the dryer, and instead, hang them to dry in a sunny spot outdoors.

Regular Maintenance

Cleaning regularly on a weekly or monthly basis will help extend the life of your couch, prevent long-term damage from spills and the wear and tear that comes with everyday use. Here are our step-by-step recommendations on how to do it:

  • Dry Brush— Start by using a dry brush to loosen up dirt, debris, and dander. This can also be done using the brush attachment on your vacuum.
  • Vacuum— Using a low setting, vacuum the loosened debris. A crevice tool can help remove crumbs in hard-to-reach places.
  • Spot Clean— If your upholstery allows, spot clean any obvious large stains like spills, food stains, pet accidents, etc.
  • Rotate Cushions— Finally, switch the position of the cushions to help them wear more evenly and increase the longevity of your couch.

The Baking Soda Method

Baking soda is a safe and affordable cleaning solution that doesn't require harsh chemicals or professional help. The natural deodorizer and stain remover is suitable for use on most fabrics.

  • Test the Fabric— While baking soda is safe to use on most sofas, you'll still want to double-check by testing a discreet spot.
  • Brush the Couch— Remove excess crumbs, dust, and dirt using a stiff brush.
  • Sprinkle Baking Soda— Sprinkle the couch evenly with baking soda or a mixture of baking soda and dry carpet cleaner and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  • Vacuum— Thoroughly vacuum up the baking soda and grime you've loosened.
  • Spot Clean Tough Stains— Remove tough stains from pets, food, and oils with a vinegar solution and a cloth or microfiber towel for blotting. To create the natural stain cleaner, mix three parts water to one part vinegar in a spray bottle and add a small splash of dish soap.

Deep Cleaning

From time to time, regular maintenance isn't enough. For a deeper clean, rent a carpet or steam cleaner and follow these steps:

  • Test the Fabric— If you've determined your fabric type can be cleaned without professional upholstery cleaning services, you'll first want to test your furniture cleaner in an inconspicuous area.
  • Vacuum with a Brush Attachment— Start by removing all the loose debris using the vacuum.
  • Clean Mindfully— Fill the machine with warm water and your chosen upholstery cleaner. Use straight, even movements that go with the grain of the material.
  • Replace Dry Cushions— Wait until the cushions have fully dried before rotating or replacing them. 

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