Cleaning Your Sofa 101

Before you know it, winter will be here. You may want to start thinking about cleaning your sofa. The nights will be long and there will be plenty of quality time with your couch. I want your time together to be pleasant. Let me tell you how to clean your beloved sofa…

Step 1) It's important to know what type of fabric is on your sofa. Fortunately, the manufacturer has to include a tag on the furniture with cleaning instructions. Follow their advice! Ignoring the instruction tag could ruin your fabric and void your warranty. Here are common codes and what they mean:

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WS: Use a mild detergent with a steam vacuum or a dry-cleaning detergent. Professional cleaning is recommended.

S: Use cleaning solvents (dry clean only). This fabric will not react well if water is applied to it.

X: Use a vacuum only. No water.

W: You can use water to clean it. On spills and stains, you can use upholstery or carpet cleaner.

Cleaning Tip: With any solvent, water or cleaner, apply a little amount in an inconspicuous place to ensure it does not harm the fabric.

Step 2) Vacuum your sofa to remove loose dirt or debris. Do not forget to vacuum crevices where dirt, hair, and crumbs like to hide. If your cushions are removable, vacuum both sides. Use a lint brush if you still have pet hair clinging to your couch. 

Step 3) Wipe down any exposed metal or wood on your sofa.

Step 4) To remove odors and further loosen stains, sprinkle baking soda over the entire couch. Allow the baking soda to sit 15 to 20 minutes before vacuuming it up.

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Step 5) Stain removal. Try to clean stains as soon as they happen for best results. Remember code X is vacuum only and code S require solvent-based chemicals that will have the directions for cleaning on the bottle. The directions below are for code W and W/S

For cleaning stains, you can buy a cleanser or you can make your own from items you have in the kitchen. For sofas with codes W or W/S, mix 2 cups of distilled water with 1 tablespoon of dish washing liquid and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Put the cleaner in a spray bottle and lightly dampen the stained area. Use a colorfast cloth and gently blot the area.

To avoid damaging the fibers, DO NOT rub or scrub the area.  Use a second colorfast towel dampened with distilled water to remove the cleaner. Finally, use a dry towel to dry the area as best you can. Use a box fan to dry the fabric. You may need to repeat this process a few times for tougher stains.