Fabric couches are a popular choice for many households due to their comfort and aesthetic appeal. However, over time, they can accumulate dirt, stains, and unpleasant odours, requiring proper cleaning to maintain their appearance and to ensure their prolonged life. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of cleaning a fabric couch effectively and safely, ensuring it remains fresh and inviting for years to come.

Prepare for Cleaning

Before you begin cleaning your fabric couch, it is essential to gather the necessary materials. This includes:

  1. Vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachment: Start by removing loose debris, such as dust, pet hair, and crumbs, using the vacuum’s upholstery attachment. Thoroughly vacuum all surfaces, including the cushions, crevices, and under the seat covers.
  2. Cleaning solution: Depending on the fabric type, choose an appropriate cleaning solution. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions or tags on the couch for recommended cleaning methods. Common options include mild detergent, upholstery cleaner, or a homemade solution like a mixture of water and vinegar.
  3. Clean, white microfiber cloths: These are ideal for blotting stains and applying cleaning solutions without leaving lint or residue behind.

In addition to understanding the process of cleaning a fabric couch, it is important to familiarise yourself with the codes used by the upholstered furniture industry. These codes provide valuable information on the appropriate cleaning methods for different types of couch fabrics. Here’s a breakdown of the codes and what they mean:

W: This code indicates that the fabric is the easiest to clean, as it can withstand water-based cleaners. If your fabric couch has a “W” code, you can safely use water-based cleaning solutions.

W/S: If you come across a fabric couch with a “W/S” code, it means that both water- and solvent-based cleaners are safe to use. This gives you more flexibility in choosing the appropriate cleaning solution for your couch.

S: The “S” code signifies that the fabric should only be cleaned with solvent-based cleaning chemicals. It is important to follow this guideline to prevent damage to the fabric. Solvent-based cleaners are designed to clean effectively without saturating the fabric.

X: If your fabric couch bears an “X” code, it means that you should refrain from using any liquid or chemical cleaners. Instead, focus on regular vacuuming or brushing to remove dust, dirt, and debris. Taking caution with an “X” coded fabric is crucial to avoid damaging the upholstery.

Spot Test

Before applying any cleaning solution to your entire fabric couch, it is crucial to perform a spot test in an inconspicuous area. Apply a small amount of the cleaning solution to a clean cloth and gently blot the fabric. Check for any adverse reactions like colour fading or fabric damage. If no negative effects occur after a few minutes, proceed with the cleaning process.

Addressing Stains

  1. Blotting: For fresh stains, immediately blot the area with a clean, white cloth to absorb excess liquid or debris. Avoid rubbing, as it may spread the stain or push it deeper into the fabric.
  2. Treating specific stains: Different types of stains require different approaches. For food and beverage stains, a mixture of mild detergent and warm water often works well. Blot the stain gently with the solution until it lifts. For oil or grease stains, sprinkle baking soda on the affected area, let it sit for a few minutes, and then vacuum it off. For ink stains, use rubbing alcohol on a cloth to blot the stain, then rinse with warm water.

General Cleaning

  1. Dilute the cleaning solution: When properly cleaning a fabric couch, mix the appropriate amount of cleaning solution with water as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid using excessive amounts of water to prevent oversaturation of the fabric.
  2. Cleaning the fabric couch: Dampen a clean cloth in the diluted cleaning solution, wring out any excess moisture, and gently blot the fabric in a circular motion. Start from the top and work your way down, ensuring thorough coverage. Be cautious around zippers, buttons, or delicate trimmings to avoid damaging them. Avoid oversaturation to prevent water stains and fabric distortion.
  3. Removing residue: After cleaning the fabric couch, use a fresh, damp cloth to remove any residual cleaning solution from the fabric. Blot the area until the cloth comes away clean.


After cleaning, it’s crucial to allow the fabric couch to dry properly. Here are some tips for efficient drying:

  1. Air circulation: Open windows and turn on fans to facilitate air circulation and speed up the drying process. Avoid direct sunlight, as it may fade or damage the fabric.
  2. Speeding up drying: If necessary, you can use a hairdryer on the lowest heat setting to expedite drying. Keep the hairdryer at a safe distance to avoid overheating the fabric.
  3. Fluffing cushions: While the fabric is still slightly damp, fluff and reshape the cushions to maintain their original form.

Trust the Professionals

When it comes to properly cleaning a fabric couch, it’s best to trust the process to professional cleaners because of their in-depth know-how on the task. Not only will that save you time and effort, but you’ll be sure that the end result is optimal. Not to mention, you can easily damage your fabric couch if you don’t know the proper techniques it requires or the right products that need to be used to clean it.

Trusting a professional cleaning company for your fabric couch could be the best decision you make. The efficient cleaning method will ensure the prolonged life of your couch and its best condition at the end.

Final Thoughts

Properly cleaning a fabric couch is a crucial part of maintaining its appearance, hygiene, and longevity. By following the step-by-step guide provided above, you can effectively remove stains, dirt, and odours, ensuring your fabric couch remains fresh and inviting. Remember to always check the manufacturer’s instructions or tags on the couch for specific cleaning recommendations, and perform spot tests before applying any cleaning solution to the entire couch. With regular cleaning and care, your fabric couch will continue to provide comfort and beauty for years to come.