Couch potato. Couch surfing. Terms like this have originated because the couch is one of the most comfortable pieces of furniture in any house. Whether it's watching your favorite movie or getting cozy with a book after a long day, the couch is most people's go-to spot for lounging.
As comfy as it is, lounging on the sofa means that it is also prone to getting dirty. Our couches are constantly exposed to stains from food crumbs to pet hair.
We have good news, though. Most of these stains can be cleaned. You just need to know how. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps of cleaning a couch.
How to Read a Couch's Care Tag
The care tag of a couch tells you everything you need to know about cleaning it. Can you use water on it or not? Is it okay to vacuum the fabric? Should you use a dry cleaner detergent or a mild detergent? Answers to all these questions are on the care tag.
Here are some common couch care symbols you can expect to see on the tag:
W: W means that you can use water to clean the couch. Couches with these tags are the easiest to clean.
S: You'll need to use a solvent-based cleaner for couches with an S.
WS: You can use both solvent-based cleaners or water on couches with this tag.
X: Such couches should be vacuumed only. They cannot be cleaned with any type of liquid or solvent.
Clean Your Sofa According to Fabric
Couch cleaning is an integral part of your cleanup routine, whether it's for your home, Airbnb, or even a hotel. How you clean a fabric couch differs from the cleaning method for a leather couch or a microfiber couch.
Therefore, you should know what type of fabric your couch has before you start cleaning it. Here are the cleaning methods for each couch fabric type:
It's easy to clean a cloth couch since most of them are safe for water.
Step 1: Brush It
Start by brushing the couch with a stiff brush or a towel to remove loose dirt or dust. If your couch has dust mites, this step will also help get rid of them.
If you're using a towel, make sure it's white. A colored towel could transfer its color onto the couch.
Step 2: Sprinkle Baking Soda
Sprinkle baking soda on the sofa. Let it sit for an hour. Then, use the brush attachment on your vacuum to remove the baking soda.
Step 3: Create a Cleaning Solution
Add a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and a tablespoon of white vinegar to a cup of warm water. Put this solution in a spray bottle.
You may mix a teaspoon of baking soda with this solution. However, if you plan to do this, do it on a sink. Baking soda reacts with vinegar, creating a bubbly mess.
Step 4: Spot Clean
Spray the stains with this solution, and use a white cloth to blot them. Don't rub; that will only make the stains worse.
Step 5: Let Dry
Do not use a hairdryer or put the couch in direct sunlight, as this could cause shrinkage and fading. Let the couch dry naturally. Don't sit on it until it has dried.
Microfiber couches are a bit trickier to clean since water can leave marks on them. Follow these steps to clean your microfiber couch.
Step 1: Use Rubbing Alcohol
Fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and mist it on the couch. Do one section at once. Scrub the sprayed area with a soft sponge.
Step 2: Brush the Couch
Since alcohol evaporates rapidly, your couch will dry quickly. Once the couch is dry, use a soft-bristled brush to bring back its fluffiness.
Step 3: Use Distilled Water
If you still see any stains, follow the same process, but use distilled water instead of rubbing alcohol. Let the couch dry naturally.
Step 4: Spot Clean Stains
If you have pet stains on your microfiber couch, use an enzyme-based cleaning solvent to spot clean them. Follow the instructions on the product carefully.
Alternatively, put a quarter of a teaspoon of dish soap in a cup of water. Mix to create a solution. Apply this stain remover on a clean cloth and blot the stain gently.
Step 1: Vacuum Loose Debris
Ideally, you should vacuum the couch once a week to remove any dirt or debris. Use an upholstery brush for it. The crevice tool will help you get into the nooks of your couch.
Step 2: Treat the Stains
The method you use for stain removal will depend on the kind of stain. White vinegar is a good option for most stains. Add a few drops of white vinegar to water and dip a sponge or cloth into it. Use it to clean the stain.
Use cornstarch for oil-based stains. Sprinkle cornstarch on the stain and leave it for 15 minutes. Then, use a dry cloth to wipe away the cornstarch and the stain with it.
Another option is baking soda and water paste. Apply the paste to the stain and dab it in with a sponge. Dry the section with a clean cloth.
Step 3: Let It Dry
After treating the stains, let your suede couch dry completely.
Velvet is relatively high-maintenance. However, that doesn't mean you need any special equipment to clean it – all you need is a bit of care.
Step 1: Use Paper Towels
Soak up wet stains with paper towels. Wipe the stain gently, but avoid rubbing it, as that will only spread the stain more.
Mix some drops of dish soap in water and blot the stain with this solution using a clean cloth.
Step 2: Use a Steam Cleaner
For wrinkles, use a steam cleaner. It'll also remove any leftover stains. Don't work the steam cleaner at a high-temperature setting, though.
Step 3: Use a Dry Brush
Finally, use a dry brush to give your velvet sofa that brand-new look.
Leather couches are usually easy to clean. Here's how:
Step 1: Wipe the Couch
Wipe the leather with a microfiber cloth to remove the dirt or food crumbs.
Step 2: Vacuum
Since leather couches are prone to collecting dust, use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to get rid of dust particles on the surface.
Step 3: Use a Leather Cleaner
Use a commercial leather cleaner to remove tough stains or spills. Alternatively, make a mild soap solution.
Rinse the leather sofa with a damp cloth. Then, dry it immediately with another clean cloth.
Step 4: Apply a Protectant
Apply a store-bought leather protectant or conditioner to keep your couch looking shiny and new.
How to Clean Couch Cushions
If your couch cushions are removable, you can simply remove them. Clean each couch cushion individually.
For instance, a solvent-based cleaner can be used as a spot cleaner. Do a spot test beforehand to ensure the fabric doesn't get damaged. Again, it's best to check the care tag on your couch and use an appropriate cleaning solution for the fabric. If you're unsure, use a dish soap and water mixture instead.
You can also vacuum the cushions or use a lint roller to remove pet hair.
For More Laundry Tips and Care, Rinse
Cleaning your couch can take quite a lot of time and effort. If you've planned to do it this week, it's best to outsource one of your other household tasks. Why not make it laundry?
At Rinse, we're happy to wash your clothes while you get your upholstery clean. We can do both: dry clean and machine wash.
Got any delicate pieces (looking at those Restoration Hardware ones)? We can clean everything from sheets and shams to pillowcases with the right detergents and drying methods.
Simply let us know, and we'll pick up the clothes from your doorstep. Then, we wash, dry, fold, and deliver them back to you. It's that simple!
Contact us at Rinse today to see our skill in action.