How To Clean Your Couch Effectively


Clean your couch to help preserve it.

Spring is almost here, and that means many people are starting to think about spring cleaning. As the sunlight streams into our homes, it’s easier to notice all the dust and dirt that may have built up on our upholstered furniture over the fall and winter months. As you get the itch to clean, you may wonder what is the best way to clean your couch or other upholstery? Here are a few tips that should help if your couch just needs a light cleaning.

Fabric Codes

Not all upholstery is made out of the same material, and it’s important to know which material is on your couch and what is the safest way to clean it. Look for a tag somewhere on the upholstery that will give you this information. The tag will likely use coded letters to let you know how to best wash the material. These are the standard codes and their meanings:

WS: You can use a dry cleaning solvent or a water-based detergent on this material, as well as a steam vacuum.

W: You can use water-based cleaning solutions.

S: You can only use dry-cleaning detergents. Water is not safe for this material.

X: You can only vacuum this material. Don’t use water or dry-cleaning products on it.


One of the simplest and best ways to keep your upholstery clean is to vacuum it regularly. There are different kinds of dirt and residue that can build up on your couch and that require different kinds of vacuuming. If you have kids, you may find cheerios or cookie crumbs or dirt from the bottoms of shoes tucked into the crevices and under the cushions of your furniture. This kind of dirt is easy to clean daily with a small, light hand vacuum.

Other dirt is less noticeable, but equally as important to vacuum away: dust mites, pet dander, and even bacteria. A regular hand vac won’t be enough to get rid of this dirt; you need something with a higher suction and preferably with a UV light. The UV light can actually destroy bacteria and viruses, and the higher suction vacuum is more successful at sucking away these more difficult specimens. Make sure to vacuum all sides of your couch, including the side against the wall. Dust and allergens can make a home anywhere on your upholstery.

Spot Clean

If there are particular small areas of your couch that are stained, you can spot clean those areas according to what is safe for your material. There are detergents you can buy as well as cleaning solutions you can make at home. A solution as simple as vinegar, water, and dish soap can work wonders on some fabric and synthetic materials. Baking soda can also help dislodge stains so you can vacuum them away.

The timing of when you clean matters, too. The sooner you get to a stain, the better, because it has less of a chance to sink into the upholstery. Blot the stain first with a dish cloth or a paper towel to soak up as much of the spill as possible; make sure not to rub the stain initially as that will only set the stain further into the material. If a stain has been there a while, you may need to rub and work harder to get it out using a cleaning solution, but it can be done!

Clean and Rotate Couch Cushions

The best way to clean your couch cushions is to remove them entirely from the couch and then spot clean or vacuum them as needed. Another great cleaning option is to beat them outside to get rid of dust buildup. If it’s a sunny day, the sun’s UV rays will actually disinfect your couch as well as get rid of any musty smells. If the shape of your couch and the cushions allows, it’s best to flip and rotate the cushions every so often so they don’t get worn out laying in the same spots (because, let’s face it, there’s always a more popular part of the couch to sit on!).

Call a Professional to Clean Your Couch For You

If you don’t have the time or energy to clean your upholstered furniture on your own, or if your couch seems to need more help, there are professionals who will do it for you. At Howard’s Upholstery, we are experts at understanding the best way to clean different materials. We will make sure your couch and other upholstered furniture looks good as new, and is free from all dirt and allergens when we are finished. Whether you hire a professional or clean your couch yourself, you’ll be amazed at the difference a newly cleaned couch can make to your space and to your health.

Written by hrosenthal-admin