How To Wash a Sofa: A Step-by-Step Guide

So you just got yourself a new couch and want to keep it pristine for as long as possible. But how do you wash a sofa? Keep reading to find out! Sofas are exposed to lots of things on a daily basis, from pets and children to dirty shoes and spills. And since they’re usually placed in open spaces like living rooms or family dens where dirt, dust, and stains tend to build up rather quickly. That’s why it’s important to keep your sofas clean on a regular basis. Read on for more information about how often you need to launder your sofas, what detergents are the best type for cleaning sofas, and some helpful tips for getting into those grooves.

How often should you clean a sofa ?

The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including the type of fabric your sofa is made of, how often you use your sofa, and how often you clean it. If you have kids or pets, you’ll probably have to wash your sofa more often than if you have a mostly-isolated, clean environment. You’ll also have to wash your sofa more often if you have a lot of sticky or oily food residue or if you use it during meal times.

The average regular sofa cleaning is estimated between every 2-3 months.

How to wash fabric sofa ?

Woman cleaning sofa with yellow vacuum cleaner. Copy space. Clean concept

First and foremost, it’s important to know what materials can and cannot be cleaned with a normal household detergent. Most fabric sofas can be safely cleaned using a low-suds, phosphate-free detergent, such as Tide Pods. Some severe fabrics, like wool, cannot be cleaned with detergent. If you have a fabric sofa, you’ll have to remove the fabric and wash it like a mattress or pillowcase. It’s important to check the tag which should be located on one or more of the fabric sofa covers, this should indicate the temperature to be washed at, or whether it’s machine washable at all.

To wash a fabric sofa, start by prepping the fabric. Wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any excess dust particles. You can also use a vacuum, as this will suck up small particles and reduce the risk of fabric damage.

If you’ve simply spilt on your fabric sofa and don’t feel the need to wash all of the covers, depending on the colour of your fabric you may be able to add baking soda and vinegar mixture and let to rest for 30 minutes,. before rinsing and hand drying.

How to wash leather sofa ?

Leather is a very durable material, and it’s fairly easy to clean. There are a few things you should keep in mind, though. Leather sofas, especially those in high-traffic areas, are prone to major scuffing and staining. Therefore, you’ll have to clean them more often. The difficulties with genuine leather sofas is the quality and materials require specific gentle cleaning products and leather protecting oils / waxes which can often be expensive.

To clean a leather sofa, the first step is to lay towels at the feet or underneath the sofa, especially if you have a carpeted living area or floor.

Begin by wiping the couch down with a damp cloth to remove any dust particles. It’s recommended that the best cleaning product for leather is mild & gentle dish soap, as it has no harsh chemicals, dyes or bleaches it’ll not alter the colour or texture of the sofa. After washing lightly with soap, clean and rinse down with lukewarm water.

A key step to cleaning a leather sofa is drying, you don’t want to leave the sofa to air-dry, this can leave streaks, water stains and markings which will require additional cleaning to remove. Towel dry with a microfibre cloth, after this step you can include your polishes and waxes to add protective cleaning layers and keep your leather sofas intact for years to come.

If you have a real & genuine Italian leather sofa you will be advised on a particular wax or oil which will help maintain the leather and avoid cracking or discolouration.

How to clean crushed velvet sofa ?

Fabric 5 Seater Sofa 5

Crushed velvet sofas have become the in-trend over the last few years, it’s no surprise that they’re so popular, they’re loved in so many homes for their stylish yet comfortable aesthetic. But when you have something so beautiful, you want to make sure it lasts, and unfortunately spills, foods & dirt is no friend to crushed velvet, in fact it can be an absolute nightmare to clean properly.

Often with velvet, you have to be particularly careful, it may even be worth hiring professional cleaners for the job. Pure velvet should always be dry-cleaned meaning it’s not able to be machine washable, however SOME crushed velvets are able to be cold-cleaned meaning they can be wet cleaned with soapy cold water, or even in some cases washing machine cleaned on a low temperature. This of course depends on the individual brand and should be mentioned on the back tag of your Crushed velvet sofa.

Some steam cleaners have a sofa sanitizing function. Steam the cushions and the back of the couch with the steamer to kill any germs that may be lurking in these areas.

How to wash sofa covers ?

When you clean leather or fabric sofas, it’s important to clean the covers as well. Leather covers are usually the easiest to clean, as it’s essentially just a spray and wipe down with some non-hazardous chemicals such as dish soap, followed by an approved polish or wax, this can be done at the same time as the standard sofa cleaning and should be dried using a microfibre cloth or towel, not air dried.

To wash a fabric couch cover, start by unrolling it and placing it in a tub filled with cold water. Next, add one tablespoon of detergent. Make sure to wash the cover in cold water for the best results. After the cover is washed, rinse it with warm water and pat it dry with a cloth, or hang on a drying rack or rail, it is not recommended to tumble-dry your sofa covers or pillows.

Both of these materials can trap dirt and bacteria underneath them. Therefore, it’s important to wash and sanitize them as well, remember to wash both the covers and the area it was removed from, giving you an all over clean feeling sofa.

If you’re looking for a heavy duty stain remover then we suggest HG Stain Remover for your fabric sofas.

How to clean sofa arms

After you’ve washed and sanitized your sofas, it’s time to clean your sofa arms. These are usually made of wood or plastic, and they’re usually covered in grime and dust. To clean a sofa arm, begin by wiping it down with a damp cloth. Then, vacuum it to pick up any loose dust particles. If there are crevices on the arm, you’ll also have to clean them out. After the arm is clean, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any excess water from the surface.

If your arm is made from materials such as velvet or fabric, then it’s important to use a wet damp cloth, that has been soaked with a mixture of washing powder and lukewarm water, this will best help water based stains and damages.


As you can see, sofas require a lot of maintenance. That’s why it’s important to keep them clean and sanitized. Fortunately, sofas are easy to clean. All you have to do is follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to keeping your sofas looking great. They’re especially important if you have kids or pets, as they can easily get into dirt and grime. Clean your sofas every 2-3 months to make sure they stay in good shape.

For further advice from the Sofas Experts, reach out to a member of our team.