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Living Room | Playroom / Office | Stains and Fabric Care | YouTube

Sofa-king Easy Couch Cleaning

November 23, 2023

Your couch is the second most used furniture item in your home. Whether yours has popcorn, pet hair or stains, that doesn’t sit well with us. Now get up and clean it so you can binge-watch your shows in clean comfort.

Step 1: Vacuum

The first thing you want to do is vacuum every little bit of your couch. Using a crevice tool to get in the cracks and crevices, and an upholstery or horsehair attachment on the body of the couch. Be sure to:

  • Take the cushions off if they are removable and get right down along the seams.
  •  If you have a sectional, separate the sections and vacuum where they connect.
  • Use a horsehair brush attachment to remove pet hair or dust in your upholstery. Work your way across the whole couch.

Step 2: Clean the wood or metal portions

Using a damp cloth with hot water and blue Dawn® dish soap, wipe down all the wood and metal portions. We’re talking about the legs, recliner bases, metal connections on sectionals, etc. Get rid of all the hardened gunk (which is typically food). 

If your couch has any embellishments like upholstery tacks that have discolored or rusted, you can try Barkeepers Friend® to each one. Avoid getting any excess on the fabric/material around the pins. 

Step 3: Read

Refer to the care label on your couch. This will help you understand the recommended cleaning methods and any specific products to avoid. If the couch has removable cushion covers, double-check the care label to see if they can be machine washed. Just because they zip off does not always mean they can be washed in your machine. 

  • W” = water-based cleaner.
  • S” = solvent-based cleaners. Dry clean only. 
  • X” = not safe for any cleaner. 
  • W/S” = safe for wet or solvent cleaners. 

Step 4: Clean the upholstery/leather

Pro Tip: Remember to always test any cleaning solutions or methods on a small, inconspicuous area of the couch first to ensure they don’t cause any damage or discoloration. If you’re unsure about cleaning your couch yourself, it’s best to consult a professional upholstery cleaner.

Fabrics labeled S or X:

It’s best to call in the professionals. You are done after vacuuming. 

Fabrics labeled W or W/S:

When you buy through our links, we may earn a small commission. 

  • Start with Spot Cleaning:
    • If you notice any stains, treat them with Tide® Rescue (USA) (Canada) or Folex spray (USA) (Canada).
      • Blot the area with a clean damp cloth. Rinse the cloth and repeat the process until the stain is gone. 
    • Grease stains can be treated with Dawn® dish soap to cut the oil. Use a very small amount of Dawn (roughly a ¼ teaspoon) and dissolve it in 2 cups of warm water. Dab the spot with a cloth, and repeat until the stain has lifted. 
    • The Bissell Green Machine (USA) (Canada) is a great tool for treating spots. Avoid oversaturating the fabric, as it can lead to mildew in the underlying foam cushions.
  • Machine wash option:
    • If the cushion covers come off and are washable, throw them in your washing machine with some powdered Tide® on a cold cycle. Hang them to dry and put them back on SLIGHTLY damp, as it helps them stretch and not have any wrinkles. 
    • While those are washing, you can treat the rest of the couch (sides, arms, back) with the green machine (read labels).
  • Steam clean option:
    • A steam cleaner with an upholstery attachment is excellent for DIY. As an added benefit, the steam can sanitize the fabric. 
    • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your machine but typically just fill ‘er up with distilled water and go! (Most steam cleaners recommend distilled water to protect from any hard water staining which can show up once it dries.)
    • After cleaning, allow the couch to air dry completely before using it again.
  • Deodorize:
    • If your couch has remaining odors, you can sprinkle baking soda over the dried surface and let it sit for a few hours to absorb the odors. Then vacuum up the baking soda using a brush attachment.

Windex® is genius for this material. Here is the rundown: 

  1. Work in sections and work quickly as the Windex® dries fast. 
  2. Spray the section liberally with Windex (you want it damp) and use a large DRY soft-bristled scrub brush to scrub the stains out. 
  3. Repeat spraying and scrubbing until your whole couch is done and stains are removed. Try not to leave any dry spots or you will see a water line. You will likely need more than one Windex bottle if the couch is large, and you may need to repeat. Work quickly as the Windex dries fast! 
  4. Once the couch is dry, you can use your brush to fluff up the microfiber again.
  1. In a bucket, mix 1 gallon of hot water with 1 tsp of powdered Tide®.
  2. Dip a soft cloth into the mixture, wring out excess moisture, and gently clean the entire surface of the couch. 
  3. When your water gets dirty, dump it out and start with a fresh mix. 

Once your couch is dry, it’s important to condition it. We recommend doing this about every 6 months. It depends on the quality of the leather, your climate, and how much the couch is used. Conditioning will keep the leather soft and supple, preventing it from drying out and cracking. See our favorite here: (USA) (Canada)

Regular maintenance: 

To keep your couch clean and fresh, regularly vacuum the surface, fluff and rotate the cushions, and address spills immediately. It’s also a good idea to use armrest covers/tables or throws to protect high-contact areas, especially where your pet hangs out.

Think about your mantels and coffee tables that get covered in dust. Your couch gets the same amount of dust, it is just an expert at concealing it. It’s time to give a SIT about your couch and get to work. Netflix is calling your name tonight.

– Katie @GoCleanCo

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