You’ve just bought your new sofa and want to know the best ways to keep it clean. Either that, or you have an existing sofa and are looking for top tips for sofa cleaning.
There are many different types of sofa, couch or lounge out there and a variety of coverings. In this post we’ll look at some effective cleaning tips for different coverings and fabrics, and just some advice in general on how to keep your sofa clean and fresh looking and smelling.
These tips will work for all living room upholstery, including armchairs and recliner chairs.
Check the Cleaning Instructions for Your Sofa First
Most sofas will have a manufacturer’s tag stapled on the frame underneath, or sewn into one of the cushions. Always be sure to read these brief, but important instructions first before embarking on any cleaning methods.
Ridding Your Sofa of Debris
Your vacuum cleaner will be your best friend when it comes to this process. Sofas and couches are usually loaded up with cushions with gaps between them and down the back. We all eat snacks while watching TV and movies, and the sofa tends to be a real catch point for crumbs and dust and so on.
Most vacuum cleaners come with attachments for car cleaning, and these attachments can be really handy for getting into those nooks and crevices on your couch to suck up this debris. Whether it be the brush attachment or the narrow nozzle, depending on the design and fabric of your sofa, either will be effective.
The brush attachment is awesome for removing pet hair from fabric or velvet covered lounges. The narrow nozzle is perfect for getting into those crevices at the back and between the seat cushions.
You might even find a few handy coins while you clean.
Effective Odour Removal
Enjoying your sofa isn’t just about it being firstly comfortable and secondly clean. The last thing you want is to be spending time on a smelly couch, even if it has been cleaned. Depending on the material, some odours are not eradicated with cleaning alone.
Chances are if you have a sofa made of genuine leather, PU leather or vinyl, odours won’t really present much of a problem, but fabric lounges are a different story. Cotton and other fabrics tend to absorb stains and grime, and thus also harbour and trap odours.
Baking soda is actually one of the best ways to eradicate odours from your couch. It’s cheap and very easy to do as well.
All you really have to do with this method is sprinkle some dry baking soda onto your fabric couch, leave for about half an hour, then simply vacuum it off. Baking soda has properties that readily absorb offensive odours, so it’s an easy and really cost effective solution to the odour problem. It's also quite a natural solution.
Another option is to sprinkle some carpet deodoriser onto your couch, let it sit for a while, then vacuum it up.
Cleaning a Leather Sofa
There are special leather cleaners on the market and maybe you might want to use one of these occasionally, but you won’t have to every single time you want to clean your leather sofa.
Before cleaning it with anything at all, be sure to give it a dust and a vacuum first. You don’t want to be causing the leather to absorb any extra debris. Often you can simply run a damp cloth over the leather to freshen up the surface.
If there are any stains on the leather, these can usually be removed with some light soapy water. Be sure to clean the soaped up area with fresh water after you’re done removing the stain.
Always let your leather sofa completely dry before using it again to ensure you don’t create more grime or odours by using it when still wet.
An alternative method of cleaning and freshening up a leather couch is by making up a mix of olive oil and white vinegar, putting it into a spray bottle and lightly spraying the leather. After application, buff off with a clean, soft cloth.
The vinegar helps clean and disinfect, while the olive oil softens and moisturises the leather to keep it pliable and healthy.
How About PU Leather and Vinyl Sofas?
Again, you want to dust and vacuum the couch before indulging in any cleaning that involves liquids. For the most part you can simply run a cloth damp with water over your sofa between major cleans to keep it looking fresh, but when it’s time to give your sofa a more thorough clean, some warm, soapy water often does the trick, followed up by a rinse with a cloth dampened in fresh water.
Adding a little white vinegar into the mix will help to disinfect the PU leather or vinyl surface, as well as remove stains.
Oils used on vinyl surfaces can actually harden them and make them brittle, so with PU leather and vinyl couches, don’t use the olive oil method as outlined for genuine leather.
Cleaning the Material On Your Fabric Sofa
If you have a sofa with removable cushions and covers, you might be able to take them off and either hand wash them, or put them through the washing machine. Be sure to iron them after they’re dry though, or they might look a bit ordinary once you put them back on the couch.
The vacuum cleaner should be employed on a sofa without removable cushions. If you plan to wipe down the fabric with some warm, soapy water, make sure to use a white cloth or small towel, as anything coloured could leach dye onto the fabric of your lounge.
For effective stain removal you have a few choices. Baking soda mixed with some water is one option, but keep in mind that baking soda can be a mild bleach and there is a chance of fading the section of fabric where the stain is.
A dash of washing up liquid blended with some warm water is the best and safest method. Gently rub it into the stain to loosen it, then dab at the stain with a damp cloth to absorb the stain out of the couch.
White vinegar has also proven effective as a stain remover.
Always test your cleaning method on a hidden section of couch fabric first, just to make certain all is okay before proceeding with cleaning the sections of the sofa you can usually see.
Wood and Metal Areas and Legs
A damp cloth is usually sufficient for this to remove the dust. If your couch as metal armrests that are a bit greasy, make a mild soapy water solution, followed up with a wipe down with a fresh damp cloth.
Polish the metal and timber surfaces dry with a clean dry cloth.
An Alternate Option – Call In a Professional
If you don’t want to clean your sofa yourself, there’s always the option of calling in a professional service.
There are loads of upholstery cleaning experts out there who know just how to clean all surfaces and have the tools to do a great job. Obviously it’s going to cost a fee, but it saves you the time and trouble, particularly if your sofa is heavily stained and could use a professional touch to bring it back to life.