Sofa getting dirty is unavoidable in this life. Potato chip crumbs can get into crevices, drinks can spill, and there may be pet footprints all over the surface of this sturdy piece of furniture. Luckily, cleaning a sofa is fairly easy-all you need is a little time and some good cleaning tools.
Method 1 of 4: Sofa Pre-Clean
Step 1. Remove large particles
Before you go deeper, you need to clean the dirt on the surface of the sofa. Use a dust-buster or additional hose in a full-size vacuum cleaner to clean the sofa.
- Use a long, thin attachment to clean the crevice.
- Clean all surfaces of the pillows.
- Get rid of the pillows and clean the base of the sofa.
Step 2. Use a bristle brush
If there are areas that have heavy dust or dirt stuck to them, use a stiff bristle brush to clean the stains and remove any loose dirt. Brush firmly, but not so hard that you damage the material on your sofa.
Step 3. Get rid of the fabric and fur
While some companies make products specifically designed for households with pets, a regular vacuum cleaner won't be able to clean fabrics or animal hair. Use a cloth roller to remove what your vacuum cleaner can't clean.
Clean the entire surface of the sofa in a systematic way so you don't miss a single hair
Step 4. Wipe the hard surface that appears
Many sofas have wood or other material showing up, and you'll need to clean that too. Find a cleaning product that is appropriate for the surface you want to clean. An all-purpose cleaner will suffice if you don't have a cleaning product specifically designed for that surface.
If the sprayer you are using is spraying widely, spritz it on a tissue and wipe it over the surface for cleaning. This will prevent your sofa material from unwanted chemicals
Step 5. Determine the material of the sofa
Look for signs that tell the material of your sofa cover. This sign usually has instructions on what cleaning products you can use on the material.
- “W” means use a water-based detergent with a steam vacuum.
- ”WS” means you can use a water based detergent with a steam vacuum or dry detergent.
- “S” means you can only use dry detergent.
- "O" means that the material used is organic, and must be washed in cold water.
- “X” means that you either use a vacuum and a bristle brush individually, or use a professional cleaning service.
Method 2 of 4: Cleaning a Fabric Sofa with Water Based Detergent and Steam Cleaner
Step 1. Use a pre-conditioner on your sofa fabric
Fabric pre-conditioners may not be found in regular stores, so you'll need to buy them online if you can't find them elsewhere. Pre-conditioners are used to dissolve and loosen dirt and grime to make them easier to remove during washing.
- Test your pre-conditioner at a spot on an inconspicuous part of the sofa to make sure it doesn't change the color of the fabric.
- Spray the pre-conditioner all over the surface of the sofa you want to clean.
Step 2. Make a solution of detergent and water
Mix 85 grams of water-based detergent with 86 grams of water in a bowl or other container.
Step 3. Test your detergent solution
Dip a cloth into the solution and wipe it on a less visible part of the sofa. You can use the same part when you test the pre-conditioner.
- Let the solution sit on the cloth for 10 minutes and then check.
- Press the area with a paper towel to see if the color of the fabric disappears when rubbed.
- If there is no color change, continue to the next step.
Step 4. Prepare a steam vacuum
Different types of steam vacuums may look different, so this step will provide very general instructions.
- Look for the tank on your steam vacuum, and open the lid to store the liquid.
- Pour a solution of cloth shampoo and water into the tank, then replace the cover.
- Attach the hose if the supplied hose is not permanently attached.
- Attach the lining cloth to the end of the hose.
Step 5. Use shampoo on the couch
Place the hose on the sofa cloth and press the button that releases the solution you poured into the tank. Keeping the button pressed, move the hose across the surface of the sofa in a line pattern, similar to the pattern you use when you clean with a vacuum cleaner. Make sure you shampoo all over the sofa.
Move slowly to ensure that you apply shampoo evenly on the couch
Step 6. Remove excess detergent
Release the button that releases the solution. Move the hose across the surface of the sofa one more time in the same pattern, to suck the excess detergent into the vacuum.
Step 7. Repeat this process as necessary
If there are specific areas that need more shampoo, clean those areas with a hose. However, don't use too much shampoo anywhere, as this can result in permanent discoloration.
Step 8. Let the sofa dry
Using the vacuum as long as possible by releasing the buttons will not dry out your sofa. Allow your sofa to dry completely.
Method 3 of 4: Dry Cleaning Sofa Fabric
Step 1. Purchase a dry solvent
The name may be a little misleading, as dry solvent products are not actually “dry.” The product is a liquid – but does not require water, like water-based solvents.
- You can find dry solvents in the cleaners section of the store.
- Otherwise, you can easily buy them online.
Step 2. Open your room
The dry solution has a very strong odor, so open all doors and windows in the area to let all odors out and fresh air in. Turn on a fan or point your floor fan at a window or door to let the vapors from the solution leave the room.
Step 3. Pour the dry solution on a dry cloth
You need to pour the dry solution on the rag that you will use to clean the stains on the sofa fabric, not by using the dry solution directly on the sofa. This solution is very strong, so remember that a small amount of it can clean a lot of parts of the sofa. Follow the instructions on the packaging of the particular product you purchased.
Step 4. Test the solution
Wipe your rag on a small part of the sofa that is not very visible. Wait for 10 minutes and see if there is any discoloration on the fabric of the sofa. Press the tissue over the wet area to see if any of the color comes off. If not, continue to the next step.
Step 5. Press the rag on the stained area of your sofa
You don't need to wipe the stain – you just need to press the rag that you've applied the dry solution on to the stained area of the sofa. This may take a while, but don't get impatient and you end up using too much dry solution on the stain. This method can damage the fabric.
- Take a break and allow the solvent to dry from time to time for stubborn stains that need more treatment.
- Re-pour the dry solution on the cloth as needed, but remember that you need to limit yourself.
Step 6. Clean the dry solution
If you leave this chemical on the sofa for too long, it can change the color of your sofa fabric. To remove the dry solution from your cloth, dampen a new, clean cloth with water. The rag should be damp, not soaking wet. Wipe over stains, re-wash, and wring as needed.
When you're done, let your sofa dry
Method 4 of 4: Cleaning the Leather Sofa
Step 1. Purchase a gentle skin cleanser
While you can clean your leather sofa with a damp cloth as part of your regular cleaning routine, sometimes you need to clean your leather sofa properly. Harsh chemicals can harm and discolor leather, so buy products specifically designed for leather fabrics.
If you can't find such a product in a store, try to find it at a department store like Target or Walmart. You can also buy them easily online
Step 2. Make a cleaning solution with vinegar
If you don't want to spend money on cleaning products, you can make effective cleaning products cheaply and easily at home. You just need to mix equal amounts of water and vinegar in a bowl.
Step 3. Use the solution on the sofa
Do not pour the cleaning solution directly on the sofa surface. You need to pour the solution on a cloth and apply the cloth to the skin. Wipe the rag all over the sofa, making sure you clean in a line pattern so you don't miss a single part.
Your rag should be damp, not soaking wet
Step 4. Clean the sofa
Use a new, dry cloth to clean the leather from the solution you just used on the sofa.
Step 5. Clean your sofa and leave it overnight
Make a solution of one part vinegar and two parts flaxseed or flax oil. Wipe down your sofa using a fresh, clean rag in a striped pattern.
Let this solution work on your sofa overnight, or about 8 hours
Step 6. Shine your sofa
After you have left your sofa with the solution for one night, wipe your sofa again with a new, clean cloth. This will make the leather of your sofa look fresh and shiny, like a new sofa!
- If there are stains on your sofa, treat them first with a stain remover.
- If you don't know what cleaner is recommended for your sofa, contact the manufacturer of your sofa or the shop where you purchased your sofa. As a last resort, search the internet for cleaners designed for sofa fabrics.