Tips & Advice

How to Clean a Sofa at Home in 7 Simple Ways

Fabric sofas are adorable.

They bring so much life into your living room and can also change the entire outlook of the house. While they are great on so many levels, they can be a nightmare if something bad happens, you know, like spills that are almost inevitable. Unless you intend to hide the beauty of your sofas in plastic wrapping, there will come a time when they will need cleaning. So, this guide aims to show you how to clean a sofa at home in 7 simple ways.

How to Clean a Sofa at Home

Now, we mentioned fabric sofas because they are the kind that needs constant care and love. Do you have to bring in a specialist every time you clean them, though?

Not really, as you can use products that are quite friendly to any material to clean even the most stubborn stain. Still, prevention is better than finding a cure, right?

So, as much as you can help it, try to avoid any spills – and especially from red wine and sauce that would take a toll on your sofa’s fabric.

These are the various ways you can clean your fabric sofa:

• Check fabric care codes
• Act on stains immediately
• Remove large particles with a soft brush
• Vacuum it
• Steam it
• Clean it with baking soda
• Sanitize your sofa

1. Check the Fabric Care Codes

What does the maker of the couch say about the fabric’s needs? The care codes are well-labelled on the couch, and so you will not have to check online or with a forum. The four main care codes are; W, W/S, S and X. If labelled “W,” you can use water on the fabric, and so any stain will be easily removed this way.

Fabric Care Codes

When you have “W/S,” then you can use water or any solvent-based cleaner you have. The “S” label allows you to use solvent-based cleaning agents, while “X” limits you to brushing and vacuuming. With this information, you know how to work on a stain or spill.

2. Act on the Stain Immediately

You do not want to wait for so long that the stain becomes stubborn. Sometimes even the slightest delay – an hour or few minutes – is enough to ruin good fabric. If the code allows you to use water, you can comfortably add some mild detergent to not only work on food or pet stains but to also get rid of smells.

A pinch of mild dish soap and warm water does magic, but it is always advisable to test it on a small part of the fabric first. You also want to work around the stained area alone to avoid spreading it further. Once you are done, dab the just-cleaned area with a damp cloth to ‘rinse’ it and then leave it to air-dry.

3. Remove Large Particles with a Soft Brush

soft brush

If you are simply cleaning your sofas routinely without necessarily removing any stains, then you may want to start with getting rid of any large particles. That means checking whether there are things logged in inner parts of the seat that may later stain it.

A soft brush will do as it is easy on fabric and quite efficient at getting things that even the eye may not spot.

4. Vacuum the Sofa


Some crumbs and particles are so stubborn that a brush alone will not get to them. A hand-held vacuum cleaner does wonders as it removes them to leave the couch ready for more scrubbing. If you have been washing yours regularly and feel like it needs no more attention after vacuuming, you can leave it there.

If you are still unsatisfied with the state of the fabric, steaming will have better results.

5. Steam it

If your sofa is marked “W” or “WS,” the manufacturer may okay the use of an upholstery steam cleaner. Though sofas with these labels can withstand water, they may not be as receptive to heat, and so you want to be sure that the maker recommends this. If it is allowed, you may want to spot-test to avoid damaging the entire fabric.

fabric steamer copy

When steaming, you may want to choose a day when it looks warm and sunny so that you can open the windows for your fabric to air-dry. You could also point the fan on the sofa to facilitate faster drying.

6. Use Baking Soda

When can you use baking soda on your couch? When you want to remove odors and stubborn stains. Baking soda is a great agent for removing odors from pets or even that musty smell of sofas when they haven’t been cleaned in so long.

baking soda copy

To remove deep-set stains, sprinkle on the sofa equal parts water and baking soda, leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, and then use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to finish the job. As with any stain-removal process, you want to test with a small hidden spot first.

7. Sanitizing your Sofa

You may not do this all the time, but once in a while you want to kill germs that you cannot see. There are all sorts of mild sanitizers on the market that will work wonderfully on your couch. Spritz the sanitizer from about eight inches away and leave it to stay on for about five minutes before pointing the fan on the sofa to dry it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I steam any sofa fabric?
A: Not really, because some fabrics do not handle steam/heat well. Before steaming your couch, read the manual to see what the manufacturer recommends.

Q. How often should I deep-clean my sofa?
A. If the sofa is not so regularly used, then annual cleaning is recommended to prevent premature replacement. If they are used regularly, then you want to deep-clean then twice a year. Regular vacuuming is okay and can be done as regularly as needed to remove small stuck particles.

Q. How long does a sofa take to dry?
A. Depending on fabric and weather conditions, 6 to 8 hours. When cleaning your sofa at home, you may want to choose a sunny season/day when the weather allows you air-dry your upholstery fast. If the weather isn’t all that great, turn on the fan speed up drying.

Q. Do I have to have my sofas cleaned professionally all the time?
A. No. You can clean your sofas yourself as we outlined in this article. It is recommended that once in a while, you may want to have it professionally cleaned to remove stubborn stains, dirt, and trapped toxins that regular cleaning will not handle.

Q. Do I have to clean the entire sofa when only a small part is stained?
A. No, because you can spot-clean the stained part. If the stain is contained in one small part of the seat, them it makes more sense to simply clean the messy area. If the stain spreads to a large part, you may have to clean the entire sofa. Spot-cleaning also means your couch dries faster.

Q. How does upholstery cleaning differ from carpet cleaning?
A. Carpets are usually made of tough material that can handle lots of water, but that is not the case for most upholstery. Some sofa fabric may not handle too much water well, and the fact that it takes longer to dry could expose it to mold and bacteria. Before cleaning, ensure to read the manufacturer’s guide.


Was this article informative?

Are you more confident about cleaning your sofa now?

We intended to make it easy for you to clean your sofa at home, whether removing stains or simply refreshing it after a long summer.
What other methods of cleaning have you used and loved?

Let us know in the comment section if there are products or processes that you have used and loved that you would like to recommend. Also, care to share with your connections?

Source: Safetyhub

Lisa J. Thompson

Hello, my name is Lisa Thompson and I’m the Founder of Daily Home Insider, your go-to resource for all things home security and home improvement. In this day and age, security should be your top priority, and that’s exactly why my dedicated team of writers and I offer reliable information pertaining to gun storage, home safes, and so much more. When I’m not running the blog, I enjoy gardening and homesteading. As an avid nature lover, I also love going on camping trips. Currently, I happily reside in the heart of Los Angeles.

Related Articles

Back to top button