If your fabric sofa has got marked or is looking dirty and you want to clean it up, there are several methods that you can use. You will need to read the sofa’s care tag to see what you are allowed to use on the fabric before you start.
Sofa care isn’t always straightforward, but many fabric sofas can be cleaned using solvents. You may also find that a stiff brush is helpful, and you should have a vacuum cleaner ready to pick up dust and crumbs. Use a soft, white cloth for all cleaning so you don’t transfer color to your sofa’s fabric.
How do you clean a fabric sofa without water?
We have a fabric sofa in our living room, and cleaning it can be a nuisance. With two cats and a constant flow of visitors, it often gets marked. Since the room is also a breakfast room, the sofa ends up with cornflakes, breadcrumbs, and all manner of other foods spilled on it.
That leaves us with the question of how to get it clean without getting the cushions wet and ruining them. Over the years, we’ve found quite a few things that work well.
Use a stiff brush
One of the best tools we have found for using on our sofa is a dry, stiff brush. This works surprisingly well on fabric. You simply need to rub the bristles firmly back and forth against the fabric wherever something has got stuck on it.
The brush’s bristles will dig under the debris and gradually loosen it from the sofa. If you rub the brush in a circle, you should find that most dirt simply lifts free. Mud, spilled food, squashed candies, and more should be reasonably easy to remove by repeatedly rubbing a brush across them.
This works particularly well with textured fabric, because the bristles can get into the grooves of the fabric. It won’t work on stains, but it will remove almost any kind of stuck-on dirt that is ruining your sofa.
Use a vacuum cleaner
The vacuum cleaner is another fantastic option for getting rid of dirt on the sofa, and you may find that it’s particularly effective when used alongside the stiff brush. Make sure you have a nozzle attachment so that you can get into all the corners.
We generally lift the cushions off the sofa in order to use the vacuum cleaner. We turn them upside down on the floor so that we can vacuum the undersides, where crumbs tend to accumulate. We then vacuum the sides and tops, where our cats often sit, to remove all the hair.
This is made much easier by having a brush handy, as the brush helps to loosen the hairs from the fabric. On its own, the vacuum cleaner tends to struggle to pick everything up.
Once we have got the cushions clean, we move on to vacuuming the main body of the sofa, covering all parts of it, including the arms. The brush can be used to free up any bits of dirt so the vacuum can suck them up.
A vacuum cleaner is one of the best tools out there for cleaning a fabric sofa, because it will also suck out dust particles that are too small for you to see. This will make your sofa look brighter and better, and reduce any risk of it triggering allergies.
Use baking soda
If you’re worried that your sofa smells a little odd, you might want to try using baking soda on it. This is excellent at absorbing odors, as you can see from CSMonitor. You should sprinkle a thin layer of dry baking soda over the whole sofa and then leave it for at least 20 minutes.
When enough time has passed, return to the sofa and use your vacuum cleaner to remove all of the baking soda. This provides a second clean, picking up any dust that you have missed. The baking soda will have absorbed any strange smells from the sofa and made it neutral again.
Note that baking soda won’t remove dirt or stains. It is just about getting rid of unwanted smells.
Use cleaning sprays
If you need to get rid of stains without water, you will need to choose a cleaning chemical that is safe for use on your sofa. You may want to try something like Rocco & Roxie Oxy Stain Remover, which is designed to be suitable for use on upholstery.
This can be sprayed over the fabric and it should not mark it. It will break down the stain, removing even tough marks from the fabric without the need for water.
If that doesn’t work, you could try Chemical Guys CWS20316 Foaming Citrus Fabric Clean, or Tub O’ Towels Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning Wipes. Both of these are suitable for use on upholstery and will help to tackle all kinds of stains, including grease stains, fruit juices, blood, and more.
How do you dry clean a fabric sofa?
To dry clean a fabric sofa at home, you should start by reading the care tag that came with your sofa. There are various codes here that tell you how you should treat the fabric. These include:
W: water or a water-based cleaner is the best option
S: solvents need to be used for this sofa
S/W: water or solvents can be used
O: nothing except cold water is suitable for use on the sofa
X: you should not put anything on the sofa. Use a vacuum or call a professional cleaning team
Once you have established that your sofa can be dry cleaned, purchase a dry cleaning agent and test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the sofa, such as the underside if possible. Work the product into the fabric and then allow it to take effect according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Check that the fabric has not been damaged or altered by the cleaner. If everything looks fine, the cleaner should be safe to use on your sofa, and you can proceed with cleaning the stains that you want to remove.
To do this, put the cleaning agent on a soft, white rag and blot it onto the stain. You should not need to rub or scrub. Allow the agent to dry and then check the manufacturer’s instructions. Most will tell you to use a cloth lightly dampened with water to remove the agent.
You should do this, even if you don’t want to use water on your sofa. A very small amount should not hurt and this will help to pull the cleaning agent and the stain out of the fabric. Gently blot, rather than rubbing at the area.
When this is done, allow the sofa to fully dry before reassembling it with its cushions. It may help to place a fan nearby or open a window to increase the ventilation in the room.
Can you use a carpet cleaner to clean a couch?
Many carpet cleaners are suitable for use on upholstery, yes. You can usually use carpet cleaner to get stains off a fabric couch, and we do this with ours. However, it is always a good idea to check that the cleaner says it is suitable for use on fabric, and you should always spot test an area before applying any kind of cleaner to your sofa.