Dabl at Home
Here Are the 7 Best Practices to Follow When It’s Time to Clean Your Couch
Whether it's a suede couch, fabric sofa, or decorated with upholstery, here is how to clean your couch.
Updated By: Catie Kovelman, 05/27/2022
Throughout the year, your couch sees a lot of wear and tear. Your couch is usually the first place you sit when you come home from work or running errands, and serves as home base for movie and game nights with the family. With all the time we spend on our couch, it's unavoidable for bits of food, grime, dirt, and dust to find their way into the crevices of the cushions. But cleaning your couch is not like cleaning other parts of your home, or even furniture. If you don't know how to clean your couch, you might not do the job right! When it's time to clean your couch, here are 7 best practices to follow that will leave your couch feeling clean, smelling fresh, and sufficiently sanitized.
Before trying anything, read the cleaning tag or manufacturer instructions.
Before cleaning your couch, do your homework by reading the manufacturer care instructions. Your couch should come with an easily accessible tear tag. If the tag has fallen off or you can't find it, make sure to look online for the care instructions before you get started. This step is crucial, as using the wrong materials to clean your couch could lead to permanent damage.
In general, there will be one of four letters on your care tag that will tell you what type of cleaning materials can be used on your couch. "W" means water-based cleaners can be used, "W/S" means water or solvent solutions are safe for cleaning your couch, and "S" means only solvent-based cleaners should be used on your couch. If your tag has an "X," this means you can only vacuum or brush your couch, and should avoid using any cleaning solutions. These differentiations exist because not all couches are made equal. Just to name a few, couches can be fabric, microfiber, leather, or have upholstery.
Your vacuum cleaner can be used for more than your floors.
Next time you are in the middle of carpet cleaning, make sure to turn your vacuum on your couch before you put it away! You might not have realized it, but your vacuum cleaner should be your best friend when it comes to cleaning your couch! Whether you want to prepare your couch for steam cleaning or simply want to remove some dust and grime, your vacuum has you covered. Simply remove the handheld portion of your vacuum, and let your vacuum work its magic! As a reminder, don't forget to vacuum the sides and back of your couch, too. Even though you may not be sitting there or these spots are not easily seen, they should still be cleaned to eliminate dust and germs.
Remove distracting stains.
No matter what you use to remove stains, our first tip is to test your cleaning solution on a non-visible part of your couch. The last thing you need is to create a new stain or have one piece of fabric that ends up lighter than the rest of your couch. Make sure your cleaning solution is compatible with your couch before you cause any visible eyesores or irreversible damage.
In addition, make sure to blot with a soft cloth, and not rub when you are trying to clean stains, especially if the stain is fresh. Rubbing can cause the fabric fibers to become matted, and imbed the stain even deeper than it was originally. It's usually a good idea to buy a cleaning solution that is meant for your couch, but you can also create your own by mixing mild dish soap and warm water in an emergency.
Use Fabric Steamers.
If your sofa tag is marked with a "W" or "W/S," your couch is likely a strong candidate for steam cleaning. Steam cleaning is great for many reasons. For example, the high heat used in steam cleaning can eliminate up to 99.9% of harmful germs and remove unpleasant odors. Steam cleaning can also remove annoying crumbs and stubborn stains all at the push of a button.
In order for your steam cleaning to be most effective, you will have to put in some prep work first. Make sure you thoroughly vacuum your couch to remove pet hair, crumbs, and dirt prior to breaking out the steamer. You may also want to carefully pre-treat stubborn stains, and apply conditioner or fabric shampoo to your couch to ensure it won't become hard or gritty after steaming. Many people also use a soil emulsifier on the fabric prior to steaming to help lift all the dirt and grime that have been grounded into your couch.
Ultimately, the prep work you put in will lead to the best results after steaming. If you do not own your own fabric steamer, a garment steamer or bursts from your steam iron can also work to kill dust mites and germs in a pinch!
Sanitize your couch.
There are many reasons you might want to sanitize your couch. For example, one of your kids might have a cold you don't want to spread to other members of the family, or your pet may have had an accident. Using high heat from steam cleaning is one way to do this, but if you don't have a steam cleaner or your couch can't handle steam cleaning, using a disinfectant spray is a great, quick solution.
Be careful when using bleach on your couch.
While some people recommend using bleach on your sofa to eliminate stains, we encourage you to try other methods of deep cleaning or call in a professional instead. Bleach is an extremely powerful solution that might eliminate the original stain, but could leave an ugly, discolored bleach spot on the surface of your couch instead. You might end up spending more time trying to get rid of the bleach spot than you would if you had cleaned your sofa without using bleach! If you want to try removing stains or smells from your sofa with products you already have at home, it might be safer to use white vinegar or try rubbing alcohol with a microfiber cloth instead. Of course, that choice will also be dependent on what materials were used to make your sofa.
Call in a professional.
When in doubt, it never hurts to call in a professional to clean your couch, especially if your couch can't be cleaned with water-based solutions. A one time house cleaning service isn't usually too expensive, and they'll deep clean your entire couch for you. Alternatively, if you are too busy to clean yourself or have physical limitations that make it difficult to clean your couch, calling in someone else to do the job for you could be most practical. Plus, bringing in an expert gives you peace of mind by ensuring the job will be completed correctly, and that you will not accidentally damage your couch yourself if you aren't sure what you're doing.
However, we recommend reading reviews before selecting a cleaning service, and making sure the company you hire has insurance that will cover repairs or replacements in case they accidentally damage your couch.
Leave your couch smelling fresh.
At the end of a thorough cleaning, leave your sofa smelling as fresh and clean as it now is. Whether you have a favorite scent or simply want to eliminate the last of any lingering odors, there are many products on the market you can use to give your couch a burst of freshness! These can even be used between cleanings to knock out daily smells caused by accidental spills and pets.
In many ways, our couches are the center of our homes. It's where we relax and spend time with our loved ones. Therefore, it only makes sense we give our couches the thorough cleaning and care they deserve, and now you have all the tips you need to be successful!