Ultimate guide on how to clean a sofa 

before and after sofa cleaning

Sofas are the centrepiece of any living room, serving as a hub for relaxation, socialising, and family time. With so many people using them, it is not surprising that over time, dirt and debris can accumulate on them. 

A clean sofa contributes to the overall hygiene of your living space and enhances comfort and longevity. 

In this ultimate guide, we’ll delve into the importance of regular sofa cleaning, explore different cleaning methods for various materials, and provide expert tips for keeping your sofa in pristine condition.

Why should you clean your sofa regularly?

Regularly cleaning your sofa is essential for maintaining its appearance and safeguarding your health and well-being. 

Did you know that your beloved sofa could be hiding unseen allergens and pathogens? Dust mites, mould spores, and bacteria can thrive in the fabric fibres, posing potential health risks, especially for individuals with allergies or respiratory conditions. Adopting a regular sofa cleaning routine can significantly reduce these health hazards and ensure a fresher, more inviting living environment for you and your loved ones.

Firstly, sofas are often high-traffic areas where dust, dirt, and debris can quickly accumulate. Without regular cleaning, these particles can embed themselves deep within the fabric, making removing more challenging and leading to a buildup of allergens. This buildup can trigger allergic reactions and respiratory issues, especially for sensitive individuals or those with asthma or allergies.

Secondly, bacteria and germs will thrive on the surface of your sofa, especially if pets and small children frequently use it. Routine cleaning helps eliminate these harmful bacteria so you and your family will have a healthier indoor environment.

Lastly, keeping your sofa clean extends its lifespan by preventing premature wear and tear on the fabric. A clean sofa also enhances the overall aesthetics of your home, making it more inviting and comfortable for residents and guests alike.

What are sofa cleaning codes?

Before we discuss cleaning a sofa, you must understand the difference between sofa cleaning codes. These are standardised symbols created by the furniture manufacturing industry to show consumers how to properly care for and maintain their sofas. 

There are four main sofa cleaning codes:

W: This code indicates that the sofa fabric can be cleaned with water-based solutions such as mild detergent or special upholstery shampoo 

S: Sofas with fabrics labelled with an ‘S’ should be cleaned with solvent-based cleaners. It’s important to note that water will damage S fabrics 

WS: This code means that the fabric can be cleaned with both water-based cleaners and solvent-based cleaners 

X: Fabrics labelled with ‘X’ should only be cleaned by vacuuming or light brushing as they are unsuitable for water or solvent-based cleaners.

person wearing blue rubber gloves cleaning sofa with spray bottle and microfibre cloth

Preparing for sofa cleaning

Getting ready to clean your sofa doesn’t have to be complicated; all you need is to gather the following sofa-cleaning supplies:


How to clean different types of sofa materials

Regular cleaning will keep your sofa looking fresh and extend its lifespan.

This section will explain the best way to clean sofas made from specific materials, from fabric to leather. 

Make sure to check the cleaning code on your sofas tag before you determine the best cleaning method.

How to clean a fabric sofa?

Fabric sofas are renowned for their comfort and versatility, but their absorbent nature makes them prone to staining and odours.

  • Regularly vacuum with a brush attachment to prevent dirt buildup.
  • Act promptly to blot spills with a clean cloth.
  • For spot cleaning, use a mild detergent mixed with water.
  • Test any cleaning solutions in an inconspicuous area first.
  • Consider professional cleaning for deeper cleaning needs.

How to clean a leather sofa?

Leather sofas showcase luxury and sophistication, but their natural material requires special care to maintain their appearance and durability.

  • Dust regularly using a brush attachment with a soft, dry cloth or vacuum.
  • Wipe spills immediately with a clean, damp cloth.
  • Avoid harsh cleaners and abrasive tools.
  • Condition the leather every 6-12 months to keep it soft and supple.
  • Protect from direct sunlight to prevent fading and drying.
person cleaning leather sofa with a vacuum

How to clean a suede sofa?

Suede sofas provide a luxurious feel but demand delicate care due to their soft, napped surface, which is sensitive to moisture and abrasion.

  • Gently brush to remove surface dirt and revive the nap.
  • Blot spills immediately with a clean cloth to absorb excess liquid.
  • Use a suede cleaner specifically designed for upholstery.
  • Test cleaning solutions in an inconspicuous spot first.
  • Keep away from humid areas and direct moisture sources.

How to clean sofa cushions?

Sofa cushions are available in various materials, each requiring specific cleaning methods to maintain appearance and comfort.

  • Machine wash removable cushion covers according to the instructions.
  • Vacuum both sides of the cushions using a brush attachment.
  • Spot clean stains with a mild detergent mixed with water.
  • Blot gently to avoid saturating the fabric.
  • Air dry completely before placing them back on the sofa.
Person cleaning sofa cushion wearing rubber gloves with a vacuum

Start cleaning your sofa today

We hope this blog has helped you understand the importance of cleaning your sofa, from giving you a healthier environment to breathe in, to making your living room look more appealing.

Understanding sofa cleaning codes and using the appropriate cleaning methods for different materials are essential to maintaining your sofa’s appearance and longevity.

By following these guidelines and investing a little time and effort into sofa care, you can enjoy a fresh, comfortable, and inviting living space for years.

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