We all love kicking back and relaxing on our comfortable sofas, but a dirty and stained fabric sofa can make enjoying this haven impossible. When your upholstery is dirty or damaged, it’s time to begin cleaning – but where do you start?

A clean, well-maintained fabric sofa can extend the lifetime of your furniture, guaranteeing you get the most out of your investment. You’re in the right place if you’re dealing with stubborn stains and looking for a deeper clean than standard sofa vacuuming.

This article will guide you through how to clean fabric sofa upholstery to ensure your entire couch is flawless, from assessing your couch cleaning, post-cleaning, and more!

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How Can I Assess My Sofa?

The first step to clean a fabric sofa is assessing your couch’s condition to identify the problems that require a solution. Begin by determining the type of fabric sofa you’re dealing with – cotton, linen, microfibre, velvet, and suede are all common fabric sofas requiring specific cleaning solutions.

Many sofas will come with cleaning instructions from the manufacturer to help you avoid damaging your couch during the cleaning process. Look for a cleaning label with specific guidance before you start cleaning your fabric sofa.

It’s also important to understand the level of soiling your couch is dealing with and the types of stains that require cleaning. Assess your furniture for signs of tough stains and embedded dirt, which will help guide your sofa cleaning journey.

What Cleaning Supplies Will I Need?

The next step in cleaning your couch fabric is gathering your cleaning supplies. Whether you’re dealing with pet stains, water stains, or any other type of tough stain, you’ll require specific supplies to ensure you get the best deep clean possible.

Some cleaning supplies you’ll require to achieve the best results include:

  • Vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment
  • Steam cleaner
  • Stiff brush
  • Warm water
  • Baking soda
  • Clean cloth
  • Solvent-based cleaners
  • Paper towel
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Spray bottle
  • Cleaning detergents

Look for safe cleaning agents designed and formulated for your couch fabric type. For example, some products will be intended to clean suede couches specifically, while others will be more suitable for fabric types like velvet and cotton.

Before using any cleaning products, review the safety instructions and ensure you’re using the products according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember to perform a spot test on an inconspicuous area of your couch to determine whether your sofa will respond positively to the cleaning agent before using it over your entire sofa.

What cleaning supplies will i need

What Should I Do for Pre-Cleaning Preparation?

Before you start cleaning your sofa, you must prepare the area to ensure it’s ready for the deepest clean possible. Your sofa likely has removable covers you can remove before you begin cleaning. Additionally, remove your couch cushions before you begin cleaning.

Next, dusting and vacuuming your sofa is important to remove loose dirt and debris. Use your vacuum cleaner with an upholstery brush attachment to eliminate loose particles, going over the area a few times to ensure everything is removed.

Also, pay attention to areas that are stained or heavily soiled – these are the spots that you’ll spend most of your time targeting and will require more cleaning to achieve the best results.

What’s the Cleaning Process for Cleaning My Sofa?

Now, let’s get into most of your cleaning journey: the actual sofa cleaning process. Depending on the type of sofa fabric, you’ll have to follow different methods for the best cleaning solution.

If you aren’t certain about the type of fabric you have and can’t find any information on a cleaning label, contact your sofa’s manufacturer. They’ll have information on best addressing your cleaning needs.

Let’s look at a few common fabric types and how to navigate cleaning for each fabric.

Whats the cleaning process for cleaning my sofa

Cleaning a Cotton Cloth Couch

You can thoroughly clean your cotton cloth couch in the following steps:

  1. Start brushing your couch with a stiff brush or a clean towel to loosen dirt and debris.
  2. Apply baking soda to the entire sofa. Allow the baking soda to settle for 20 minutes to an hour before vacuuming using an upholstery brush attachment.
  3. After the baking soda has settled in, you can use a cleaning solution tailored to cotton couches to create a DIY cleaner. You can create this solution by combining 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 cup of water. Mix the components in a spray bottle and add 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
  4. Wipe down your couch and spray a microfibre cloth with the cleaning solution. Gently blot and rub away stains on your fabric, or wipe your entire sofa with the solution.
  5. Allow your sofa to air dry for a few hours.
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Cleaning a Velvet Couch

If your fabric couch is velvet, you’ll have to take a different approach to achieve a deep clean. Use the following cleaning method to clean velvet sofas:

  1. Begin cleaning stained areas using a paper towel to absorb as much moisture as possible. If you’re cleaning a solid stain, use a butter knife to lift the stain from the material.
  2. Use a few drops of dishwasher detergent combined with warm water. Gently dab and blot the stain using a soft cloth. Avoid rubbing the stained area, as this will cause it to spread.
  3. Use an upholstery steam cleaner if you’re struggling with creases and wrinkles in your velvet sofa. Use the lowest temperature and work up the couch to remove creases.
  4. Allow your couch to air dry for several hours or dry overnight.
  5. Once your couch is dried, use a dry brush for regular cleaning.

You might also like: How to Clean a Velvet Sofa

Velvet fabric

Cleaning a Suede Couch

A suede couch also requires specific steps to achieve a thorough cleaning – without the proper sofa cleaning methods, you might damage your sofa. Take the following steps to clean your suede couch correctly:

  1. Use a damp cloth over your suede couch, but avoid soaking the sofa. Squeeze water out of the cloth before applying it to your couch. A damp cloth will remove any debris and dirt on the surface of your sofa without damaging the suede.
  2. Use a cleaning solution designed to clean suede couches. Perform a spot test by dabbing an inconspicuous area of your sofa with the cleaning solution and let it rest for 20 minutes. If you don’t have a suede cleaning solution, use distilled white vinegar.
  3. Take a rubber eraser to remove stubborn stains on your suede couch, such as ink stains.
  4. To clean wet stains, use a microfibre cloth to blot up moisture and a suede-friendly stain treatment. Once the treatment has settled, rinse your sofa with a damp cloth.
  5. Dry your sofa using a hair dryer.
suede sofa

How Can I Rinse and Dry My Sofa?

Once you’ve allowed your cleaning solution to sit and you gently wipe sofa’s surface with a soft cloth, you can start rinsing and drying your sofa. Always rinse your couch using a clean, damp cloth. Avoid using a soaking cloth with water, as this can further damage your couch. Using the cloth, blot your sofa, paying attention to stained areas.

After rinsing your sofa to eliminate leftover cleaning residue and remove stains, allow it to dry. You can air dry your sofa using ventilation sources like fans or windows, or other equipment to expedite the drying process, like hair dryers. You can also blot damp areas using a dry cloth.

What Should I Do for Post-Cleaning Maintenance?

After cleaning your sofa and allowing it to air dry overnight, it’s important to keep up with maintenance and regular cleaning to keep your couch in the best condition possible. Once you’ve allowed your couch to dry completely, take the following steps to keep your sofa clean in between deep cleanings:

  • Regularly vacuum your sofa using an attachment to clean upholstered furniture and frequently remove any loose particles or dirt.
  • Remove stains as soon as they occur to avoid significant damage. Blot the stained areas using a clean cloth and distilled water, or use water-based cleaners to eliminate the stains.
  • Frequently rotate and flip your sofa cushions, which will help evenly distribute wear and tear.
  • Use covers for your couch cushion and high-traffic areas to protect the fabric. Remove and wash these covers often.
  • Avoid eating on your sofa, as this increases the chance of spills and crumbs.
  • Steam clean your couch if you’re struggling with wrinkles and creases that damage its appearance.
  • Follow the cleaning code outlined by the manufacturer.
  • Schedule professional couch cleaning at least once annually to refresh your sofa fabrics.
what should i do for post-cleaning maintenance

What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid?

You might encounter common mistakes during your DIY cleaning efforts without a professional sofa and carpet cleaner. When cleaning stains, carefully blot the area and avoid rubbing it – this will spread the stain and make it more difficult to remove.

Another common mistake is allowing stains to settle instead of cleaning them as soon as they occur. The longer a stain sits, the more challenging it is to remove, so always act quickly. You might also run into issues when using harsh chemicals found in some cleaners. Always use a solvent-based cleaner for the best results, and conduct a spot test before using it all over your sofa.

While you’ll need a damp cloth to clean your sofa, avoid over-wetting the fabric. Use damp cloths, not wet ones, to avoid over-saturating the area. Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning your sofa and familiarise yourself with the proper care guidelines.

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What Are Some Special Considerations?

When you clean stains, always remember the fabric you’re dealing with. Cloth, microfibre, velvet, suede, and other fabrics will have different cleaning methods to ensure the best results.

If you’re handling old and set-in stains, consulting a professional cleaning service might be best. These stains can be hard to eliminate with DIY solutions, meaning you could cause more damage.

If you have pets or young children, investing in sofa covers and equipment like lint rollers to remove pet hair regularly is best. This step will help keep your sofa in the best condition possible.

How Can I Deodorise My Sofa?

Cleaning your sofa goes beyond eliminating tough stains – you might also have to eliminate odours that make your living room unpleasant. Sprinkling baking soda over your couch can help eliminate odours in your environment.

Once you sprinkle baking soda over your sofa’s surface, allow it to sit for at least 20 minutes. If you’re dealing with more noticeable odours, leave the baking soda solution on for up to an hour. After it’s settled, use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery brush to gently brush and remove the baking soda residue.

How can I deodorise my sofa