How To Clean A Leather Or Fabric Sofa

by Delia

Your sofa is a fantastic place to hang out but as a high-traction area that absorbs a lot of dirt, dust and odours. That’s why it’s important you know how to clean your sofa.

Whether you’ve essentially split a mess on your couch or want to remove an unpleasant smell from it, our simple guide can help you freshen any sofa – whether that be a leather or fabric couch.

First, Vacuum your Sofa

Whether you’re trying to remove stains or just dust and dirt from your sofa, the cleaning process begins by vacuuming the entire surface, including the arms, legs and back of the couch.

Tip: if you don’t have a vacuum, a brush can also remove dust and dirt from the couch.

Use this time to also flip and fluff up any pillows or couch cushions.

Clean the Legs

If your sofa has legs, it’s probably carrying lots of dust and built-up dirt. Wipe them down with a cloth and a gentle solution to clean.

Before you Deep Clean

If you’re trying to remove baked-on stains or spills from a sofa, you’ll need to do a more detailed clean. But before you add any cleaning substance to your couch, ensure you’ve done the following:


To avoid causing any further damage to the sofa, on its label, there should be a code of letters that tell you how it can be cleaned.

· W – water can be used to clean the couch.
· WS – The couch can be steamed or dry cleaned with a mild detergent.
· X – neither water nor a dry detergent can be used.
· S – only a dry detergent can be used to clean the sofa.


To deep clean and remove stains from your sofa, you will need:

· A bowl of warm water
· Gentle dish soap
· Baking soda
· Vinegar
· Microfiber cloths
· Spray bottle (if possible)


So, you can fully assess the amount of cleaning your couch requires, always remove any couch cushions before you begin.

How to Deep Clean or Remove Stains from Any Sofa

Unlike your cushion covers, you can’t simply remove your couch’s lining and put it in the washing machine. Unfortunately, it requires more delicate attention.

To properly remove stains from your sofa, you could buy a couch stain cleaner however DIY recipes are cheaper and work just as well as store-bought options.

Tip: Avoid using harsh chemicals around sofas as their coverings are delicate, and they might fray or get damaged.


One way to deep clean your couch is to create a water-based solution, (2 parts warm water, 1 part vinegar and a small amount of dish soap), in a spray bottle or bowl.

Tip: a spray bottle minimises the amount of excess water applied to the sofa’s surface, so if you have one, definitely use it.

Once the mixture has combined, either spray it lightly onto the affected area or dip a cloth into the solution, ring it out well, then apply it to the surface.

With a towel, very gently try to lift the stain with small and circular motions.

Then, grab a fresh cloth and pat dry the surface as much as possible before leaving the sofa to dry out thoroughly.


Another way to clean your sofa is to use baking soda. Baking soda is a natural deodoriser capable of removing baked-on stains and grease. To lift couch stains with baking soda:

1. Start by combining baking soda and water to create a paste.

2. Then apply that paste to the affected area and let it absorb for 15 minutes.

3. Wipe off the paste with a dry cloth and pat dry the area as much as possible.

4. Allow the couch to dry out completely in a sunny spot.


The final way to remove a stain from your couch is to use a steam cleaner. So, if you have one, and the fabric of your couch can be cleaned with water, make the cleaning process simpler by using it to pick up any blemishes.

How To Remove Smells from a Sofa

Over time, couches can develop unpleasant odours that prevent people from using them. Don’t worry though, removing a smell from a sofa is very simple. All you need is to sprinkle a good amount of baking soda all over your couch. Baking soda is fantastic for absorbing excess moisture that accumulates in the couch. Leave it on for at least half an hour before vacuuming it off.

How to clean couch cushions

Cleaning your sofa is also the perfect opportunity to clean the cushions on it, which can get just as dirty as the couch. If they’re machine washable, you can simply remove the pillow from the cover and put it in the wash. However, if it’s made from a delicate material or isn’t machine washable, you could hand wash it instead or, distil some vinegar and water in a spray bottle, apply it to the stains and use a cloth to gently pick it up.

Keep it clean

With the right care and maintenance, a sofa should only need to be deep cleaned a couple of times a year. So, vacuum regularly, take care around your couch with food and drink and clean any spills ASAP. That way, your sofa should look beautiful all the time.

However, if regular cleaning isn’t your thing, you could always buy a sofa cover for your couch. These practical covers slip simply over your couch and protect it from dust, dirt as well as any accidental spills or messes.

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