Ideas + Advice

How Tos

How to Clean a Fabric Sofa

Don’t let tough stains and messy spills cramp your style – follow this easy, step-by-step process on how to clean a fabric sofa!

  1. Get to the stains quickly. As soon as a spill or stain occurs, get to cleaning it immediately. Waiting too long before treating a stain – even a matter of a few minutes – can cause the stain to set, making it harder to get out.
  2. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Before using any cleaning detergents or solutions, check the manufacturer’s instructions for care, which can usually be found on the sofa’s tags. Failing to use safe cleaning products could mean permanently damaged upholstery.
  3. Check the cleaning codes for your fabric sofa. You know those random letters on your sofa’s tags? Those are actually codes! Check out the table below for the list of codes – and what they mean.

fabric sofa

— Cleaning Code for Fabric Sofas Chart —

Cleaning Code What it Means
W "Water-based cleaner." Only use a water-based cleaner to clean the upholstery. A water-based cleaner is a type of solution that uses water as the main component.
S/W "Solvents and water-based cleaners." It is safe to use both solvents and water-based cleaners.
S "Solvents." Only use a solvent to clean the upholstery. A solvent is a type of solution that uses a cleaning chemical as the main component.

4. Use a dry brush to remove loose particles. Go over the entire sofa with a stiff brush with natural bristles to help loosen stains and bring dust and dirt to the surface.

5. Vacuum. Before scrubbing and cleaning your fabric sofa, use a hand-held vacuum to remove crumbs and any other loose particles. This will make it easier to identify and focus on troublesome stains when it comes time to clean.

6. Clean with baking soda. Sprinkling baking soda over the entire couch will help to remove odors and further loosen stains. You can also use a homemade baking soda solution for any areas of deep-set stains; in a bowl, mix together equal parts baking soda and water. For either the dry or wet solution, let the baking soda sit for 15 to 20 minutes before vacuuming it up.

7. Spot treat with the recommended agent. Begin cleaning your couch with the recommended product. If you are unsure if the product falls within the recommendations, test a small area for any discoloration before proceeding. Whether you use a water-based cleaner or a solvent (or both), follow the instructions on the packaging. If the instructions say it is safe to do so, use a soft cloth to wipe away the solution.

8. Dry your fabric sofa with a soft towel. Pat down any wet areas with a dry towel to soak up the residual moisture. Gently brush off any remaining cleaning solution.

9. Let your fabric sofa air dry. Let the upholstery air dry overnight, and enjoy a fresh sofa in the morning!

Need to clean a leather sofa instead? Check out the Leather Sofa Cleaning Guide.

— Shop Featured Items —

Marissa Sofa
(14)
CustomOptions Custom options
Mesa Foam Sofa
(16)
CustomOptions Custom options
Parker Sofa
(140)
CustomOptions Custom options