How to Clean a Fabric Couch

Fabric sofas are a popular choice for a number of reasons; not only are they generally more affordable than their leather (or other luxury-upholstered) counterparts, but they’re also comfortable and quite durable. Fabric sofas can be adorned with any number of materials, but some of the most commonly used include cotton, polyester, microfiber, and linen.

Of course, any fabric is susceptible to staining over time because fabrics are naturally porous—meaning they’ll absorb liquids readily. This means you need to exercise some special precautions when it comes to keeping your fabric sofa clean and stain-free. Still, cleaning your fabric sofa is important not only for getting rid of unsightly stains, but for keeping the fabric clear of dirt and bacteria.

The Challenges of Cleaning a Fabric Sofa

Removing stains from fabric is easy enough, right? Well…this may be the case when you have the luxury of throwing soiled fabric in the washing machine with a little detergent and stain-remover. In reality, most fabric sofas do not come with removable covers. This means you’ll need to clean them using another method and, typically, remove stains by spot-treating.

At the same time, different types of sofa fabric may be sensitive to certain cleaning chemicals, so you’ll need to be careful to avoid permanently damaging your couch as you clean.

Before You Get Started…

The first thing you should do before you begin cleaning a fabric sofa is to find out exactly what kind of material it’s made out of and check with the couch manufacturer to find out what their care/cleaning instructions are. You can typically find out the material and care instructions for your sofa by lifting or removing cushions until you find a large tag. This should contain information on the materials used on the couch (and in which percentages, if more than one material is used) as well as how to properly clean the couch itself.

If you can’t locate a tag on your couch, try researching the manufacturer online. If you’re able to locate your sofa online, you can likely find its care instructions there as well. When in doubt, always defer to the care and cleaning instructions provided by your manufacturer. This is especially important if your couch is still under warranty, as using a non-approved cleaning method could void your warranty.

Generally, there are a few different markings to look for on your couch tag that will help you determine what type of cleaning method is best:

  • “X”-vacuum only
  • “S”-solvent-based cleaners only
  • “W” or “WS”-water or solvent-based cleaner okay

Methods For Cleaning a Fabric Couch

If your couch tag is marked with an “X” or an “S,” you’ll want to stay away from any cleaning methods that use water, as this could damage your couch material. If you’re fortunate enough to have a “W” or “WS” tag on your sofa, you can create your own cleaning mixture and get to work.

Create Your Own Stain Fighter

For this method, you’ll be creating a mixture that’s great not only for removing stains on many fabrics but for giving your couch an all-over clean. To create this mixture, combine 3/4 cup of warm water with a quarter cup of white vinegar and a spoonful of your favorite gentle dishwashing soap.

Before you apply any of the mixture to your couch, take a minute to remove any excess debris by vacuuming it with a hose attachment or similar. From there, apply some of the cleaning mixture you just made to a clean microfiber cloth and blot stained areas of your couch with the cloth. This will help to lift up the stains without further rubbing them into the fabric.

Next, take another clean microfiber cloth and dampen it with some pure distilled water. You’ll then use this to “rinse” away the cleaning mixture that you applied to the stained or soiled areas of your couch. Once you’re happy with the level of stain removal (you may need to repeat these steps a few times for best results), blot the area dry as much as possible with yet another clean cloth. To speed up the drying process, you can also use a fan or a hairdryer. Otherwise, allowing the freshly cleaned areas of your couch to air-dry is fine.

Steam-Clean Your Couch

If your couch is able to be steam-cleaned, this can be a great way to really sanitize it and give it a deep clean. You can still use the above method to spot-treat any major problem areas, but following up with a steam-cleaning can be a smart choice as well.

Typically, you can rent steam cleaners from your local grocery store or home improvement store for a nominal fee. Always follow the instructions that come with your steam cleaner, but keep in mind that these do kick up a lot of steam while in use. With this in mind, it’s best to choose a day when you’ll be able to steam-clean your couch with your windows open.

When to Call a Professional

If you’ve spot-treated and steam-cleaned your couch but are still not thrilled with the results, it may be time to call a professional furniture-cleaning company. These businesses generally offer services in-tandem with carpet cleaning and steam cleaning. You may also need to call a professional if your couch is made of a fabric that you cannot easily clean yourself.

Keeping Your Fabric Couch Clean

Unless you want to cover your sofa with plastic, it’s going to be prone to staining and soiling over time. The best ways to keep your fabric couch cleaner are to blot up spills as soon as they happen or consider making your couch a “no-liquid” zone to prevent potential staining in the first place.

Some furniture manufacturers also offer stain-resistant coatings that can help keep the fabric fresh in between cleanings. Consider having one of these applications done to see what a difference it can make.

When You Need Additional Cleaning Help…

Speaking of cleaning, are you feeling bogged down by all the tedious cleaning chores that your home demands? If you’re losing out on valuable time with loved ones or frequently need to cut back on your personal time to keep a clean house, then maybe it’s time to hire a maid.

Maid Sailors offers comprehensive cleaning services to hard-working people. We pride ourselves in our 100% satisfaction guarantee and competitive pricing—and our certified cleaners do a thorough job every time. Schedule your cleaning appointment by contacting us today or booking online in a matter of seconds!

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