Skip to Content


How to clean sofa fabric


Hand holding cleaning aparatus and cleaning sofa

For many, the sofa is the focal point of the home. Unfortunately, all those evenings watching Netflix and scoffing pizza will eventually lead to the sofa being covered in stains and crumbs. We'll help you clean your sofa's upholstery so you can enjoy spending many more hours chilling on it.

Why basic cleaning is important

Whether watching a series, cuddling, or enjoying a glass of red wine, after the most exhausting workday or relaxing weekends we spend a lot of time on the sofa. If you’ve managed to not spill and avoid stains until now then Congratulations! But this doesn't mean that your couch is perfectly clean. Dust collects underneath no matter what, and even seeps into the sofa cushions. If you're a dog or cat owner, you're probably familiar with the many pet hairs decorating your sofa, and hair, sweat (we have an article on how to remove sweat stains), and sebum are also left behind from you while you relax. So cleaning your sofa upholstery regularly is definitely worth it.

ATC Logo

Sign-up now to take advantage of member exclusives!

As a member of Ask Team Clean, you get access to exclusive offers and the best cleaning tips.

Removable couch covers? Cleaning sofa upholstery has never been easier!

Removable upholstery covers make it especially easy for you to clean sofa fabric. Simply pull them off and put them in the washing machine! To ensure that the colour of the covers still matches the couch after being washed, use a detergent for white or coloured laundry. For particularly stubborn stains, it's worth pre-treating with a stain remover such as Dylon Brilliant White repair. It will remove all stubborn residues from the fabric - whether red wine, grease, protein, or starch.

Sofa upholstery cleaning: how to begin

Have you been putting off cleaning your sofa because it seems so complicated? It doesn't have to be! Even if the covers are not removable, it doesn't take long to clean sofa fabric:

  • The first step: start by vacuuming the sofa. If you have an upholstery nozzle or an upholstery brush, then this is great, but it is also possible to clean sofa fabric with a normal attachment. The medium setting is sufficient to suck up dust, hair, and other debris and allows the upholstery to keep its shape.
  • The last particle of dust: After vacuuming, there is always some residual dust left behind. To get rid of the last speck of dust, a soft, damp cloth will help. If you use distilled or boiled water on the cloth, this ensures that no limescale is left behind. This trick works for cleaning leather upholstery too as well as cleaning a leather jacket.
  • Everything runs smoothly: Unlike dust, other types of dirt refuse to be removed by a vacuum cleaner. If your sofa is made of leather or imitation leather, the dirt can simply be wiped off with a damp cloth.
  • Get rid of the stain: The sofa cover isn't removable, but there’s an unsightly stain you want to get rid of? No need to panic! Dishwashing detergent also removes greasy residues from smooth surfaces. For light-coloured upholstered furniture, special upholstery cleaners can also help.

The best tips for cleaning fabric upholstery

  • Not everyone likes it colourful: Use a light and colourfast cloth when cleaning. This will prevent you from accidentally changing the colour of the upholstery while trying to clean it. However, if this does happen then don’t worry, you can always use Dylon SOS Colour Run in a separate wash with removable sofa covers to turn back the time on these accidental stains.
  • Clean your sofa gently: When you clean sofa fabric, it's best not to be too rough. If you apply too much pressure when rubbing, you may damage the fabric or work the dirt deeper into the upholstery.
  • Play it safe: Whether you choose professional cleaners or prefer to use a concoction you've seen recommended somewhere, it's always worth testing the solution on an inconspicuous area first to see if there is any discoloration. Check in daylight as any change in colour will be easier to see.
  • The clock is ticking: Red wine is great, red wine stains not so much. Don't give stains time to penetrate the fabric in the first place. Immediately blot the liquid gently with kitchen roll or an absorbent cloth.

Now you have the most important tips on cleaning fabric upholstery! If you want more cleaning tips then have a read through our article on how to clean a granite worktop or how to best clean your windows.