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How to clean a sofa upholstery in 5 steps

A sofa is a centerpiece of any living room and its upholstery is one of the most important aspects of keeping it in good condition and extending its lifespan. However, with daily use, the coating can accumulate stains, dirt and dust.

In this article, we tell you how to effectively clean the upholstery of a sofa.

What will you find in this guide?

How to clean sofa upholstery step by step.

1) Identify the type of upholstery fabric

Before you start cleaning your sofa upholstery, it’s important to identify the type of upholstery. type of fabricas some may be more sensitive to certain chemicals and may be damaged.

Read the manufacturer’s labels carefully and, if in doubt, consult a professional.

In addition to chemicals designed for specific cleaning of upholstery, the most common products you may have in your home for this type of cleaning are:

  • Ammonia
  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • White vinegar
  • Neutral soap

A vacuum cleaner or even a steam cleaner will also allow you to achieve better results with less effort.

2. Vacuum the sofa

First of all remove all dust, crumbs and dirt. of the couch. The most efficient way to do this is to use a vacuum soft brush vacuum cleaner.

3. Test cleaning products in a hidden place.

Before applying cleaning products to the entire surface, we recommend that you perform a test on a hidden area. in an inconspicuous area to ensure that it will not damage the fabric, such as the bottom or the back of the sofa.

Apply the product and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes.

If the fabric is not discolored, stained or damaged, you can continue cleaning and apply the product to the entire surface. However, remember to remove the residue when you’re done so it doesn’t damage the fabric over time.

4. Spot clean

If there are stains on the upholstery of your sofa, clean them as soon as possible. Use a specific product for this type of fabric.

  • Start by applying the product to the stain and let it act for a few minutes.
  • Then use a soft brush to gently scrub the stain.
  • Remove the product with a clean, damp cloth.

5. Clean the entire surface of the sofa

After removing the stains, it’s time to clean the entire surface of the sofa.

Apply the product to the surface and scrub with a soft brush. We recommend working in sections and avoiding saturating the fabric with too much water. Then remove the product carefully.

6. Dry the upholstery

Once clean, let the upholstery dry completely before using the sofa again and avoid sitting on it. You can speed up the drying process by using a fan or opening windows to allow air to circulate.

How do you clean a sofa upholstery with a steam cleaner?

Cleaning a sofa’s upholstery with a steam cleaner is an effective way to remove dirt, stains and dust mites without using chemicals that can damage the fabric. Here’s how:

  1. Prepare the steamer: Fill the steamer’s water tank and turn it on to get it to the right temperature. Make sure it is equipped with the upholstery cleaning attachment.
  2. Vacuum the couch: Before using the steamer and while it is heating, vacuum the sofa to remove any surface dirt. This will prevent them from becoming embedded in the fabric during cleaning or creating new stains.
  3. Cleaning the sofa upholstery: Place the steamer on the surface of the sofa fabric and press the trigger to release the steam. Move the steamer slowly, making sure to cover the entire surface.
  4. Get rid of dirt and stains: If there are stains, use the steamer brush to gently scrub the stain and clean it. If they are not completely removed, use an upholstery cleaner and repeat the process.
  5. Let the upholstery dry: After cleaning, allow to air dry for at least 24 hours. Open the windows to allow air to circulate and speed up the drying process.

How to clean sofa upholstery with ammonia?

Ammonia can be a good product to take care of the upholstery of your sofa, especially for remove grease and oil stains. However, it is important to use it with caution and follow the instructions carefully.

For cleaning with ammonia:

  • Mix 1 cup of ammonia with 2 cups of hot water in a bowl.
  • Use a sponge to apply the solution to the soiled area and gently rub in circles.
  • Then use a damp cloth to remove the solution and let the upholstery dry completely before using the sofa.

It’s important to not to mix ammonia with other products. cleaning products, as this can be dangerous. Also, be sure to wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling ammonia fumes.

How to clean sofa upholstery with baking soda.

Baking soda is a economical and effective product for cleaning sofa upholstery and to eliminate bad odors.

Sprinkle the baking soda liberally over the surface of the fabric and . let sit for several hours or, if possible, overnight. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to give it a pleasant smell. Then use a soft brush to remove the baking soda.

It’s important to to test in a small hidden area. Test on a small area of ​​the upholstery before applying the baking soda all over to make sure it doesn’t discolor or damage the fabric.

How to clean sofa upholstery if you have pets.

If you have dogs or cats at home, cleaning your couch can be difficult due to the buildup of hair, stains, and odors. Here are a few tips :

  1. Vacuum regularly: Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove hair and dirt from the surface of the couch. Do this at least once a week, or more frequently if needed.
  2. Use a protective blanket: If your pet tends to climb on the sofa, consider placing a blanket or protective cover to prevent hair and dirt from accumulating on the upholstery.
  3. Use an epilator: For removing hair and lint from upholstery. You can find these products in pet stores or online.
  4. Treat Stains Immediately: If your pet gets an unexpected stain on the sofa, treat it quickly with a specific cleaning product or a solution of water and vinegar. Avoid products containing harsh chemicals that can damage upholstery. Then use a clean cloth to absorb excess moisture.

With these tips, you can keep your sofa upholstery clean and fresh, even if you have pets at home.

How to clean the upholstery of a leather sofa

Leather requires special care to stay in good condition. Here’s how to clean the upholstery of a leather sofa:

  1. Vacuum the upholstery: Remove dirt by vacuuming the sofa using a soft brush attachment.
  2. Create a cleaning solution: Prepare a mild cleaning solution based on warm water and neutral soap or a specific cleaner for leather. Do not use abrasive products or products containing alcohol, as they may damage the leather.
  3. Apply cleaning solution: Dampen a cloth with the solution and apply it to the leather. Rub gently to remove dirt and stains.
  4. Remove the product: Use another clean, damp cloth to remove the solution from the surface of the leather. Make sure that no excess water remains to avoid damaging the leather.
  5. Condition the leather: After cleaning, apply a leather conditioner to preserve its suppleness and elasticity. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damaging the coating.
  6. Let dry: Open the windows to allow the leather to air dry. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight or heat, which may damage the leather, and do not use a hair dryer or any other type of heat source to dry the leather.

How to make homemade upholstery cleaner.

If you prefer to use a homemade upholstery cleaner rather than commercial products, you can easily prepare it with ingredients that you probably have at home.

Here’s how to make a homemade upholstery cleaner:

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid

Instructions :

  1. In a bowl, mix hot water and white vinegar.
  2. Add baking soda and dish soap and mix well.
  3. Transfer the solution to a spray bottle.

To use Homemade Upholstery Cleaner, follow these steps:

  1. Spray the solution on the surface of the vacuumed upholstery and let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Use a soft bristled brush to gently scrub the surface of the upholstery to remove stains.
  3. Use a clean, damp cloth to remove excess solution.
  4. Let the coating dry completely.

This homemade upholstery cleaner is effective in removing dirt and stains. an economical and safe option for home use.

Always remember to test the cleaner on a small hidden area before using it all over to avoid damaging the fabric.


In conclusion, cleaning sofa upholstery is a task that takes time and patience, but with the right products and a little care, you can keep your sofa looking great for years to come.

Remember to read fabric labels and test in a hidden area before applying any cleaning product to the entire surface of the sofa.

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