How to Clean a Couch: DIY Couch Cleaner Tips

By Laura Parker
March 14, 2019

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Couches are hard to clean. We get it. You can’t simply throw it into the washing machine and wiping it down with a wet cloth doesn’t get you very far. So that unfortunate red wine spill looks devastating when it happens, even if you jump to clean it up immediately.


And even if you’ve managed to avoid the big spill, couches get a lot of wear and tear on them before you even consider a clean. Chances are, your couch has got some combination of crumbs, mysterious stains, pet hair, and dirt on its surfaces and crevices. Yes, it’s time to learn how to clean a couch.


Start with a Vacuum

Most vacuums come with an appendage that helps you access those dirty crevices in your couch. Start by removing the loose dirt and debris off the couch and make sure you remove the couch cushions to access the dirt in the frame of the couch. 


Wipe Down What You Can

We know that wipes aren’t too successful on the couch fabric itself, but if you have sofa parts made of wood or metal, they can easily be cleaned with warm water and soap. 


Check the Manufacturer Instructions

Depending on what kind of material your couch is made of, the manufacturer should have left important instructions for cleaning your couch. Check the tag on the couch for a code that explains what kind of methods you can use on your couch. Here’s how to interpret those codes.


W – Use water-based detergents to clean upholstery.

S – Use dry clean (water-free) detergent only.

WS – Use water-based or dry clean detergents.

O – Wash in cold water.

X – Vacuum only, no water, or have it cleaned by a professional.


Remove Those Stains

The big part of cleaning your couch is removing those ugly stains. Of course, you can go to the store to pick up some professional couch cleaning materials, but if you like easy, cheap, homemade methods then we’ve got you covered.


If you’re wondering how to clean a leather couch as well, we’ve got the solution for you too. Find a spray bottle and a couple of cloths and get to work!


For fabric: Add a mixture of ¼ cup vinegar, ¾ cups water, and a tablespoon of dish soap. Spray the stain liberally and scrub with a cloth until the stain disappears. Use an additional cloth to dry the spot.


For leather: Add ½ cup olive oil with ½ cup vinegar. Spray on unclean spots and use a cloth to rub it in. Dry it off with a different cloth.

For synthetic materials: Add ½ cup vinegar, 1 cup warm water, and ½ a tablespoon of dish soap. Spray, scrub with a cloth, and dry.


Remove Foul Odors

Always reliable, baking soda can help you do a basic clean of your couch and remove any bad smells too. This works on both leather and fabric couches and is really great if you want to get rid of the smell of smoke. Simply sprinkle baking soda everywhere on your couch (more is better) and wait about 20 minutes. Vacuum it all up and your stains and scents should be reduced!


Wait For it to Dry

If you’ve wetted your couch as part of your clean, you’ll want to make sure that everything is dry before you start using the couch again. Water in the cushions and fabric can cause mildew which will negate the effects of your clean. Soak up any excess water and air dry your couch. When it’s all dry, your newly cleaned couch will be all ready to binge watch T.V. on again!


Cleaning your couch will be worth it when you end up with a couch that’s as good as new. Good luck on your couch clean and thanks for reading!

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