How To Clean a Couch, According to Cleaning Expert (Video Included)

Gladys K. Connelly
As a HouseKeeping Technical Writer, Gladys actively enjoys writing guides and tips about housekeeping for Thehousewire's audience. She's a professional housekeeping specialist with just shy of 9 years' experience to boast. That, combined with seven years prior experience in teaching, helps her create content that is both captivating and insightful.
Learn more about The Housewire’s Editorial Process
Updated October 27, 2023

Easy cleaning method using a steam cleaner and stain-removers

How To Clean a Couch, According to Cleaning Expert (Video Included)

As soon as you come home from work, you perch yourself on the couch and spend the rest of the day binging Netflix. All the lazying on the couch and accidental drink spills are bound to take a toll on its appearance.

Plus, if your pet has found a way to get onto the sofa, stains and spots are inevitable.

Your good old vacuum cleaner may help get rid of the dirt, food crumbs, and pet hair. But what about the wine spills and set-in stains? Simply wiping your sofa won’t help.

What you need is a combination of fabric steamers and strong cleaners to remove even the toughest stains from your favorite hangout spot in the living room.

In this guide, I’ll explain how to clean a couch without buying any expensive equipment or paying professional cleaners hundreds of dollars.

If you want your couch to look impeccable and last for years to come, follow this guide every six months.

How to Clean a Couch?

From minor pet stains to overall cleaning, this method helps give your couch a new and refreshing look.

What better way to prepare for the upcoming season?

Materials You’ll Need

(*) A vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment.
I know the list is a bit extensive, but it’s still less than half of what you’d have to pay a professional cleaning service.

Step by Step Instructions 

I’ve worked as a professional cleaner at a fancy hotel, so take my word for it: this guide is a life-changer when it comes to couch cleaning.

1.Use a Garment Steamer

Follow this step if there are dust mites on the couch. Otherwise, skip to the next step and start there.

Use a steam iron or a handheld garment steamer to eliminate allergy-causing dust mites from the couch. Make sure to get close to the couch fabric, allowing the steam to penetrate it. Clean the entire sofa, especially behind the cushions.


Attach the vacuum’s upholstery attachment and move over the sofa, covering the arms, cushions, seats, and skirt.

If possible, remove the sofa cushions and use the vacuum cleaner to clean the fabric underneath thoroughly.

Attach the crevice tool and vacuum around the couch’s buttons and seams.

3.Chose the Cleaner

Not every couch fabric is the same, so you must check the care tag on your couch to find a suitable cleaner for it.
iamge icon

  • W indicates that you can only use a water-based cleaner since such fabrics are the easiest to clean.
  • W/S fabrics can be cleaned using water-based and solvent-based cleaners.
  • S fabrics can only be cleaned with solved-based cleaning solutions.
  • For X, do not use any chemical solution. Simply vacuum or use a brush for cleaning.

4.Apply the Cleaner

Apply the relevant cleaning solution to the couch according to the fabric type.

For instance, if your sofa has a W tag, use a damp cloth to remove stains. For tough stains, mix a few drops of dish soap in lukewarm water and apply it to the stained area.

Use a solvent-based or enzyme-based cleaner for W/S and S fabrics. Read the instructions on the packaging to ensure correct usage.

I’d suggest using the solution in a hidden spot before using it over the couch’s visible parts. Back at the hotel, I tested the cleaning solutions on the fabric underneath the couch’s arms to check for fading or discoloration.

4.Clean the Cushions

Unzip the cushion cover and put a paper towel between the filling and the cover fabric. Then, apply a few drops of the solution on the stain and blot it carefully.

Move from outside to the center of the stain to prevent diffusion to adjacent areas.

After removing the stain, pat the cover with a damp cloth. Rinse the cleaning solution thoroughly and let the fabric dry.

5.Remove Odors

If your couch smells heavily of the cleaning solutions’ odors, use a fabric sanitizing spray to kill the lingering scents. Doing this also helps remove germs from the sofa, leaving it fresh and skin-friendly.


If you leave your couch uncleaned for too long, it can be almost impossible to revive the fabric back to its original color and state. Filled with pet hair, food crumbs, liquid spills, pet urine, and dander, your couch goes through a lot.

Thus, it deserves a thorough cleaning at least twice a year.

Trust me when I say this; you’ll be in for a surprise at how amazing your couch can look. So, tell me:

  • How often do you deep clean your couch?
  • Did you find this guide helpful?
  • Have I explained the method well?

Let me put it like this: when was the last time you saw your couch’s original color? Tell me your cleaning stories and feedback in the comment below.

Related Reading