How to Clean a Fabric Couch

Vacuuming your fabric couch or wiping it down will help get rid of surface dirt, but you’ll need a deeper clean for deeper-seated stains, spills, and pet smells.

Before beginning any cleaning regimen, check the manufacturer’s instructions and test a small hidden area to ensure it won’t discolor your couch.


Vacuuming is an effective way to remove dust and dirt that has built up on your sofa’s fabric, according to Jan Sokolowski of Clean My Space in New York City. She added that vacuuming removes surface impurities and helps eliminate allergens absorbed by sitting on it as well.

Sokolowski suggests using a vacuum with an attachment that can reach under cushions and around seams. Attach it to your vacuum hose, agitate fabric with its nozzle, sucking up dirt as you go.

Suppose you’re concerned about stains on your couch. In that case, Sokolowski suggests making a homemade stain remover solution with natural dish soap and water that matches the fabric (or using commercial products such as Bissell Pet Stain & Odor Remover with an enzyme formula). She advises spraying the stain with this solution, then lightly blotting it with a soft cloth for effective removal.

Baking Soda

Fabric couches require regular cleaning, and baking soda can be an economical yet powerful ingredient. Also known as sodium bicarbonate, this powder is a deodorizer and scrubber in your fridge, removes stains, and helps prevent insect infestations (roaches, silverfish, and carpenter ants).

For fresh liquid stains, sprinkle a generous amount of dry baking soda over the stained area and sit for around 30 minutes. Vacuum up any remaining residue afterward.

A similar cleaning solution works great for leather and microfiber couches as well. Simply mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle with a dash of dish detergent, then spray the upholstery with this solution.

Baking soda helps break up tough stains, while vinegar lowers its pH to prevent them from reappearing. It’s an ideal spot-treatment cleaner to leave your fabric couch looking and smelling brand new! Depending on how badly stained, you may want to do a full vacuuming afterward for complete removal.


Cleaning fabric couches can seem like a daunting task. However, you can eliminate dirt and grime with the proper steps while keeping it soft and smelling great.

STEP 1: Vacuum the fabric to eliminate crumbs and loose debris before you scrub. Doing this makes it easier to spot and focus on stains when cleaning.

Use a microfiber cloth to dampen the couch with the diluted solution and wipe away any soiled areas. Be sure to stop frequently to rinse the fabric to avoid spreading dirt around.

Once you’re finished scrubbing, use a dry microfiber cloth to blot the sofa dry. If there is still an unpleasant odor from vinegar, spray with an odor eliminator spray to freshen up your furniture.

Pet Stains

Pets make beautiful additions to the family but can also leave messes behind. A couch is no different and sometimes requires some work to remove dog pee from its fabric.

A helpful home remedy for urine stains is using hydrogen peroxide. This will break down the acid present in urine and make it easier to lift out stains. Furthermore, this process helps get rid of the smell as well.

Enzyme cleaners are another excellent option for eliminating stains and odors on upholstery. They’re more efficient than traditional detergents, which may leave residue behind.

If you have a stubborn stain on your fabric, you may need to hire a professional cleaner for assistance. While this will cost more than simply cleaning yourself, hiring an expert may be worthwhile if the stain needs to be removed entirely.