How to Clean a Sofa According to All the Rules: Stains, Hooks and Upholstery

Furniture is not cheap, and, of course, we want to keep it's good looking for a long time.

Written by Olivia Paxton. Updated on Cleaning sofa with portable vacuum cleaner

How to clean your favorite sofa?

Furniture is not cheap, and, of course, we want to keep its good looking longer.

But the truth is that sofas, wooden tables and armchairs, especially those that are in the living room and where we spent half of our lives, become too quickly dirty, greasy, covered with hooks or pet hair.

In several years we feel sad to look at the once-favorite sofa. What we can do with it? 

Covers can be washed!

Most often, the top of sofas cushions and chairs are made with removable covers. They can be removed and separately washed along with decorative pillowcases from the cushions you can use your favorite washing powder and a softener.
However, don’t wash covers too often. After washing, they are in any case a little bit deformed, and the color may become paler. Before washing doesn’t forget to see the care recommendations of the fabric. Always choose a delicate wash mode.
If the pillows have lost their shape and lost their thickness, you can restore their shape by inserting additional foam rubber or wrapping it with padding polyester.

Upholstery cleaner

To clean your sofa remove all cushions from it and vacuum the entire surface using a round bristle brush nozzle.
Upholstery cleaner
Credits: pixelshot, via

You will need:  

  1. soda
  2. sieve
  3. essential oil (optional)
Carefully sprinkle dry baking soda onto the surface of the sofa. It is more convenient to do this through a fine sieve.
To add a pleasant aroma, you can add a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender, to soda.
Leave the soda on the upholstery for a couple of hours. Do not wipe with a rag or wet the upholstery at this point. After that, thoroughly vacuum the entire surface. 

Remove Fatty stains

To clean out fatty stains from your sofa add 1 teaspoon of ammonia and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to half a liter of water. Gently moisten the sponge in the solution and wipe the stain.
Remove Fatty stains
Credits: pixelshot, via

Remove A Red Wine Stains

To remove the wine stain from the sofa, take hydrogen peroxide and liquid soap in a 1: 2 ratio.

Wipe the stain, moving from the edges to its center, and wait a few minutes. After that, carefully remove the tool, trying not to wet much upholstery.

Excess fluid can penetrate into the sofa, from which subsequently formed ugly stains.

Remove A Red Wine Stains
Credits: Olga Yastremska, via

Wine stain can also be treated with vodka. Wait until it is absorbed and rub with a slightly damp sponge.

Remove  tightening  with the needle

Those who have cats at home probably know this problem. Sofas, chairs, and armchairs inevitably become covered with puffs and hooks from their claws.
Remove  tightening  with the needle
Credits: from2015, via
You should never cut the tightening, but rather use a thin needle or needle for embroidery and gently pull the tightening on the wrong side.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cleaning your sofa may appear to be quite a troublesome affair depending on the type of material it is made of and the means of cleaning.

Check out the most frequent questions regarding how to clean couches and take them into account.

How to clean a suede couch?

First of all, use a suede furniture cleaner only and ensure the room is well ventilated.

Pulverize the sofa with the cleaning anti-stain spray until it’s all covered with it. Sometimes it may require several turns until the sofa is done.

Vacuum the sofa weekly to delete crumbs and dust, also, treat the cushions with the special suede brush.

For dealing with wet stains, rub the affected area with a clean cloth that has a suede cleaning agent on it and then, after it’s dry, polish with the suede cloth.

How to clean suede couch
Photo by Morgan Vander Hart on Unsplash

Can I use a steam cleaner for a couch?

Yes, you can. There are special stem-cleaners for furniture that are easy to use.

For couches, choose the one that is meant for fabrics and upholstery.

Before steaming your sofa, vacuum it, pretreat any stains you can find on it, and apply a conditioner to prevent the upholstery from damage.

How to wash couch cushions?

For keeping the cushions neat and fight the old and stubborn stains, use a machine wash. 

If it’s only the cover that’s dirty, take it off and wash it following the instructions on the tag.

But if the cushion is dirty itself, there’s another way how to wash couch pillows.

You can either launder it turning the agitator first to avoid ruination or wash it by hand in a bathtub. 

How to wash couch cushions
Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

How to clean a polyester couch?

First of all, vacuum it meticulously to delete the dust and crumbs. Then, if the fabric is washable and can stand water, prepare a mix of a mild laundry agent and a white vinegar 1 tsp each and add a quart of warm water.

Apply it with a clean microfiber towel and immediately rinse with a towel dipped in cold water and wrung out.

How to steam clean a couch?

Before steaming, vacuum the couch and pretreat the stains. Then, condition the fabric using a soil emulsifier to release all the grit and dust and a furniture shampoo.

Then put some water and cleaning agent into the steamer and start cleaning beginning with the cushions. A steam cleaner is good on many different couch surfaces and can even be used on a black fabric couch!

How to get the smell out of the couch?

Sometimes it’s an essential issue of how to deodorize the sofa. Either because of pets or any former spills, you may need to delete a smell.

To do that, sprinkle the baking soda all over the couch and leave it there for at least one hour, then vacuum it. 

Next, fill the spray bottle with equal parts of water and white vinegar and pulverize it over the sofa letting it air dry.

How to get the smell out of the couch
Credits: StockSnap, via

How to clean car seats with baking soda?

Don’t have any cleaning agents to mind your car seats right now? Use an ordinary baking soda! Mix together ¼ cup of soda and a cup of warm water and, working with a toothbrush, treat the stains. If the stains are old, let the spray sit for half an hour or longer.

This method is good for the fabric seats only!

How to clean mouse droppings from fabric?

Mouse droppings can be harmful to your health as mice carry various diseases. So, to clean away their droppings, use a High-Efficiency Particle Arresting vacuum also known as HEPA. Its filters keep the bacteria and other harmful particles from releasing into the air in your house.

After the debris is removed, wash the fabric in the hottest water possible along with chlorine bleach. And remember to use protective gloves, apron, and respirator!

how to clean a sofa
Written by
Olivia shares all she knows about the hotels, houses, and home cleaning with Beezzly readers. And she knows a lot! 15 years of work experience as a Manager in a former Four Season Service gave Olivia an exceptional base of professional knowledge and practical experience.
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here.