how to clean a fabric sofa

How to Clean a Fabric Sofa

When it comes to keeping your home clean and tidy, your sofa is likely one of the most frequently used pieces of furniture, and it’s important to keep it clean and well-maintained.

But with so many different types of fabrics and cleaning methods, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Whether you’re dealing with spills, stains or just general grime, this guide will walk you through the process of cleaning your fabric sofa and keeping it looking like new.

From preparing for cleaning to vacuuming, spot cleaning and maintenance, we’ll cover everything you need to know to keep your sofa looking and smelling fresh. So, let’s get started!


What You Need

cleaning sofa materials

Alright, before we dive into the cleaning process, let’s make sure we have all the necessary materials on hand.

You’ll need a vacuum cleaner, washing up liquid, a brush, a damp cloth, and possibly a fabric protector spray (if you want to give your sofa an extra layer of protection).

You’ll want to test a small, inconspicuous area of your sofa for colourfastness before cleaning the entire piece. This is just to make sure that the cleaning solution or method you choose doesn’t cause any discoloration.

Also, it’s important to check for any cleaning instructions or codes on your sofa. These can usually be found on a label tucked away somewhere on the furniture. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to avoid any potential damage.


Confused by the Cleaning Tags?

woman checking sofa tag

Cleaning tags on sofas are typically found on the underneath of the cushions or on the back of the sofa. These tags provide important information on how to clean and maintain the sofa.

The tags typically have codes such as W, S, WS, X, or SW. These codes indicate the type of cleaning method that should be used:

  • W – The sofa can be cleaned with a water-based cleaning solution.
  • S – The sofa should only be cleaned with a dry cleaning solution.
  • WS or SW – The sofa can be cleaned with either a water-based or a dry-cleaning solution.
  • X or X/S – The sofa should only be vacuumed and brushed.

It’s important to check the cleaning tag before using any cleaning solution or method to avoid any damage to the fabric of the sofa.


Step 1: Vacuum

hoover the sofa

Alright, now that we’ve got everything we need and we’ve made sure our cleaning method is safe for our sofa, it’s time to start vacuuming!

Remove the cushions and vacuum the frame of the sofa. This will ensure that the entire sofa is clean and not just the cushions.

The frame of the sofa may have dust and debris accumulated and also can be a spot where crumbs, pet hair and other debris may have accumulated.

A good vacuuming, dusting or wiping can help to remove this debris, making the sofa look and smell fresher.

When using the vacuum, make sure to go over the entire sofa, paying extra attention to crevices and tight spaces. These areas can often trap dirt and dust, so it’s important to give them a good cleaning.

You can also use the upholstery attachment to help you get into those hard-to-reach areas. Remember to be gentle, you don’t want to damage the fabric by being too rough.

Once you’re done vacuuming, you’ll already notice a difference in the appearance of your sofa.


Step 2: Tackle Stains

remove stains on sofa with washing up liquid

Now that our sofa is looking a little less dusty, let’s tackle any specific stains or marks that may be present. This is where the washing up liquid and damp cloth come in handy.

When spot cleaning, it’s important to remember to blot the area, not rub it. Rubbing can cause the stain to spread or even push it deeper into the fabric.

So, apply a small amount of washing up liquid to the cloth, then gently blot the stained area.

You may need to repeat this process a few times to fully remove the stain. And if the stain is particularly stubborn, you can use a small brush to gently scrub the area before blotting again.

It’s also important to not over saturate the fabric, so be sure to wring out the cloth well before cleaning and use a dry cloth to remove any excess moisture after cleaning.

If you find that washing up liquid isn’t effective, you can try a specialised upholstery stain remover, like Guardsman Fabric & Carpet Stain Remover Spray.

As you can see, spot cleaning is not that difficult and it makes a huge difference in the overall appearance of your sofa.


Step 3: Gently Scrub with Detergent

stain treatment for sofa with brush

We’ve tackled the stains and marks, so now it’s time to give the entire sofa a good cleaning. This is where the washing up liquid and brush come in handy.

Only follow this step if your sofa’s cleaning tag says W, WS or SW, and be sure to do a patch test on an inconspicuous area first.

Start by mixing a small amount of washing up liquid with warm water in a spray bottle. Then, using the brush, gently scrub the entire sofa in a circular motion.

Be sure to pay extra attention to areas that get a lot of use, like the seat cushions and armrests.

Once you’ve scrubbed the entire sofa, use a damp cloth to wipe away any suds or residue. Then, use another dry cloth to go over the sofa again to remove any remaining moisture.

It’s important to let the sofa air dry completely before using it again. So, you can either wait for it to dry naturally or you can use a fan to speed up the process.

And just like that, your sofa is looking and smelling fresh and clean!


Keeping Your Sofa Clean

blue sofa with pillows and blanket

Now that your sofa is all cleaned up, it’s important to keep up with regular maintenance to prevent future stains or marks from setting in. A little bit of effort now can go a long way in prolonging the life of your sofa.

First things first, make sure to vacuum your sofa regularly. This will help to remove any dust or debris that may have accumulated since the last cleaning. And if you spot any stains or marks, be sure to tackle them as soon as possible, before they have a chance to set in.

Another great way to protect your sofa is to use a fabric protector spray. This will create an invisible barrier on the fabric that helps to repel spills and stains. You can find these sprays at most home improvement or furniture stores.

Lastly, it’s important to rotate and flip your cushions to ensure even wear and tear. This will help to keep your sofa looking and feeling like new for a long time.

By following these simple maintenance tips, you’ll be able to enjoy your clean and fresh-looking sofa for many years to come.


More Fabric Sofa Cleaning Tips

professional cleaner and sofa repair

Hiring a professional cleaner to deep clean the sofa

Consider hiring a professional cleaning service for a deep cleaning of your sofa at least once a year, especially if you have kids or pets.

This is because professional cleaning services use specialised equipment and cleaning solutions that can remove tough stains and grime that regular cleaning may not be able to remove.

Plus, hiring a professional cleaner can save you time and effort and ensure that your sofa is thoroughly cleaned.

Check for wear and tear

It is also important to check for any damage or wear and tear on the sofa, and have it repaired if necessary.

Regular cleaning and maintenance can help to prolong the life of your sofa, but it’s still important to keep an eye out for any signs of wear and tear. This includes things like frayed edges, loose buttons, and rips or tears in the fabric.

By having these issues repaired as soon as possible, you can help to prevent them from becoming worse and prolonging the life of your sofa.


Final Thoughts

You’ve made it through the cleaning process and now you know all the steps to keep your fabric sofa looking and smelling fresh and clean. From preparation to vacuuming, spot cleaning, overall cleaning, and regular maintenance, we’ve covered it all.

By taking the time to give your sofa a good cleaning and following some simple maintenance tips, you’ll be able to prolong the life of your sofa and enjoy it for many years to come.

And don’t forget, regular cleaning and maintenance is much easier than waiting for a big mess to happen before taking action.