7 Steps to a Clean Fabric Couch

POSTED ON September 22, 2023

Your fabric couch is not just a piece of furniture; it's a sanctuary where you relax, entertain, and create memories. However, daily use can lead to dirt, stains, and odours. This comprehensive guide will equip you with the expertise to maintain a pristine, fresh-smelling fabric couch.

Understand Your Couch's Fabric Type

Different fabrics have distinct needs. Here's how to decode your couch's label.

Identifying Fabric Types

Before you start cleaning, it's crucial to identify the type of fabric your couch is made from. Usually, you can find this information on the manufacturer's label.

Natural Fibers

Such as cotton, linen, and wool. Natural fibres like wool, cotton, and silk are the carpet elite. Though comfortable and breathable, they are delicate and can be stain magnets. Check if they're treated for stain resistance.


Like polyester, microfiber, and rayon, these are easier to clean but can react poorly to certain chemicals.

Expert Tip: Certain kinds of fibres necessitate specific upholstery cleaning techniques. For instance, it's advisable to dry clean 100% natural fibres to prevent potential shrinking or the emergence of brown stains due to excessive moisture. In contrast, synthetic and blended fibres can typically undergo steam cleaning, provided the equipment used possesses sufficient power to extract moisture effectively.

In all cases, furniture manufacturers utilize standardized upholstery cleaning codes as reference points for determining the most suitable cleaning method for individual pieces of furniture.

Key Takeaways

Always check the manufacturer's tag for cleaning codes:

  • W: Water-based solutions
  • S: Solvents only
  • WS: Water/Solvent
  • X: Vacuum only
  • D: Dry cleaning only

Setting the Stage: Pre-Cleaning Practices for Your Couch

Every great cleaning session begins with the proper preparation. Before deep cleaning your couch, it's essential to address the surface-level dirt and debris. Here's how:


With the help of an upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner, target those hidden areas of your couch. This ensures that crumbs, pet hair, and other loose debris are effectively removed.


Vacuuming alone may not be enough, especially if the dirt is embedded into the fabric. Using a soft-bristle brush, gently agitate the surface to dislodge any stubborn dirt particles. Remember, the emphasis is on being gentle to avoid causing any damage to the fabric.

Removable Covers

If your couch comes with removable covers, it's a good idea to give them a wash at not more than 30 degrees. However, always adhere to the manufacturer's washing guidelines to maintain the fabric's integrity.

Expert Tip: The key to effective pre-cleaning is thoroughness. For optimal results, vacuum using overlapping strokes, ensuring you cover every inch of the fabric. Ensuring all surface dirt removal sets the stage for a successful deep-cleaning session.

Deodorizing with Baking Soda

Have you ever noticed that your beloved couch emits a less-than-fresh scent over time? Enter baking soda, the unsung hero of household freshness. While many recognize baking soda as a kitchen essential, few realize its potent ability to neutralize unwanted smells, making it perfect for upholstery care.

Steps to Deodorize Your Couch

  • Distribute Evenly:  Gently spread a layer of baking soda over the entire surface of your couch. It's essential to cover every nook and cranny for the best results.
  • Patience is Key: Let the baking soda sit undisturbed for approximately 30-45 minutes. During this time, it will actively absorb any lingering odours.
  • Clean Sweep: With the help of your vacuum's specialized upholstery tool, methodically remove all traces of baking soda from the couch.

Expert Tip: To infuse a personalized scent into your couch, blend a few drops of an essential oil of your choice with the baking soda before application. Whether you're a fan of the soothing notes of chamomile or the refreshing scent of eucalyptus, this tip ensures your couch smells as good as it looks.

Spot Cleaning Stains

Every stain tells a story, but that doesn't mean you want it on your couch. Here's how to tackle the most common culprits:

General Stains:

Homemade Solution: Combine distilled water, a smidgen of dish soap, and a splash of white vinegar. This trio can be surprisingly effective against everyday stains.

Golden Rule: Always pat the stain gently. Rubbing could weave the stain deeper into the fibres of the material. Do a small patch test before proceeding with the visible areas of the upholstery.

Red Wine Spills

Immediate Action: Once you've gently blotted away as much of the wine as possible, sprinkle a layer of salt over the affected area. The salt acts as a magnet, drawing out the moisture and colour from the fabric. Once the salt has done its job and dried, vacuum it up.

Tip: White wine has an enzyme that neutralizes the stain caused by the red wine and makes it easier to clean. Pour white wine on the red wine stain and blot it with a clean, damp cloth.

Coffee or Tea Marks:

Tried and True Mix: A mixture of liquid detergent, vinegar, and water has been known to combat these tannin-rich stains effectively.

Expert Tip: Some stains are more stubborn than others. A touch of hydrogen peroxide can make all the difference in such cases. However, it's potent, so always do a patch test on an inconspicuous couch part before applying it to the stain. Safety first!

DIY Method for Deep Cleaning Your Fabric Couch At Home

Combining the gentle cleaning properties of mild dish soap with the purity of distilled water creates an effective solution for most fabric couches.

5 Steps to Achieve a Fresh Couch at Home:

  1. Preparation: Create a mixture using a few drops of mild dish soap in a bowl of distilled water. Stir until it's well combined.
  2. Application: Dip a soft, lint-free cloth into the solution, wringing out excess liquid to avoid over-saturating the fabric.
  3. Gentle Cleaning: Dab the damp cloth on any spots or dirty areas of the couch. If the dirt is stubborn, use a soft-bristle brush to scrub the area in a circular motion gently.
  4. Rinsing: Once the stain or dirt is lifted, take another clean cloth, dip it in plain distilled water, and dab the area to remove any soap residue.
  5. Drying: Allow the couch to air dry naturally. To expedite drying, you can open windows or use fans to circulate air around the room.

Pro Tip: Always do a patch test in an inconspicuous couch area before applying any cleaning solution to ensure the fabric doesn't react adversely. Choose a sunny day for deep cleaning. That would inevitably reduce the drying time.

Maintaining Your Couch

Proactive Care is Key: As the saying goes, "A stitch in time saves nine." By taking preventive measures, you can ensure your couch remains pristine for years.

Fabric Protection

Think about investing in a quality fabric protector spray. This is an invisible barrier, safeguarding your couch from unexpected spills and stains, making clean-up easier and preventing long-term damage.

Expert Tip: After thoroughly cleaning your couch, it's an excellent practice to reapply the fabric protector. This ensures the protective barrier remains intact, ready to defend against future spills and stains.


Even Usage: Just like rotating car tires to ensure even wear, the same principle applies to your couch cushions. By regularly flipping and rotating removable cushions, you distribute wear and tear evenly, preventing certain areas from looking more worn out than others.


Occasional exposure to sunlight can be beneficial for your couch. The sun's rays naturally disinfect, helping eliminate bacteria and freshen the fabric. However, it's essential to be cautious. Too much direct sunlight can cause the fabric's colour to fade, so moderation is key.


Check out the options for having a slipcover on your couch. There are different types and colours, and they are easy to take off and regularly wash. By only purchasing a new slipcover, you could have the look of an entirely new sofa in a different colour.

Knowing When to Call the Pros

Maintaining your fabric couch is essential, but there are times when professional intervention is the best course of action. While DIY methods are great, sometimes a professional touch is needed; here are specific scenarios where you should consider calling in the experts:

Dry Cleaning: 

The manufacturer's label is one of the most straightforward indicators that your couch requires professional cleaning. The 'X' indicates water- or solvent-based cleaning methods could damage the fabric. In such cases, dry cleaning is the recommended method.

Expert Tip: Always check the manufacturer's label before attempting any cleaning. If you notice an 'X' mark on the label, it signifies that professionals should only clean the couch. It's better to be safe and consult with a professional cleaner.

Deep Steam Cleaning:

Pet Owners and Parents: Homes with pets or children are more susceptible to spills, stains, and wear and tear. The presence of pets can also introduce pet dander, hair, and occasional accidents, while kids can bring in dirt, food stains, and craft-related mishaps. For such households, it's advisable to opt for deep steam cleaning every 6 to 12 months. This ensures that the couch remains hygienic, fresh-smelling, and allergens-free.

Regular Deep Cleaning: Even if you don't have pets or children, your couch is subject to daily use, dust, and occasional spills. For those who want to maintain their sofa in pristine condition and extend its lifespan, scheduling a deep steam cleaning every 12 to 18 months is a good practice. This not only refreshes the fabric but also revitalizes the overall appearance of the couch.

Expert Tips: Certain stains like ink or pet urine might require professional treatment. Try to schedule your deep cleaning during dry seasons or when you can ensure good ventilation. This will help the couch dry faster post-cleaning.

In Conclusion

Your fabric couch is a significant investment, not just in money but also in quality of life. Regular care and the proper cleaning techniques ensure it remains a centrepiece in your home for years to come. Don't let stains and odours diminish its beauty. Trust our expert couch cleaning service to restore its pristine condition. 

Book now and let us return the freshness to your living space!