How to Clean and Sanitize Your Couch Like a Professional
In many ways, the living room is the heart of your home, the social center, and the ultimate relaxation space. And while your rug may really tie the room together, it’s your couch that’s the true shining star of the space. Think about it this way: It’s the place you and your loved ones gather to catch up after a long day’s work, watch movies together, and spend long lazy Sundays lounging. Because of this, your couch is also the catch-all spot for crumbs, popcorn kernels, occasional wine spills, pet hair, dirt and oils from your hands and feet, cooking odors, airborne dust, and so on that build up and make it look dingy.
While vacuuming your sofa may tackle day-to-day dirt and pet hair, it’s important to give your entire sofa a good, deep clean every six months or so. Follow this step-by-step guide on how to clean your couch like a pro to make your living room ready for another movie marathon weekend.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Before you get to cleaning your beloved furniture, always check the manufacturer’s instructions for care, which can usually be found on the sofa’s tags. Failing to do so could mean permanently damaged upholstery.
Take a look at your sofa's care tag to see what's safe to use on the fabric:
- W is generally the easiest to clean and means water-based cleaners are okay to use.
- W/S means that either water or solvent-based cleaners are safe.
- S means only solvent-based cleaning chemicals should be used – no water-based cleaners.
- X means do nothing more than vacuum or brush the fabric.
If you can’t find the manufacturer’s instructions, don’t fret. There should be a tag on your sofa cushions that clues you in on important facts, such as whether the material is water soluble. Keep in mind that one side of the tag may address the cleaning of the sofa cover, while the other will provide information for washing the cushions themselves. Make sure you’re looking at the correct tag before you clean.
START BY VACUUMING
With your vacuum’s upholstery attachment, thoroughly go over the entire couch. Start at the back, then hit the arms, skirt, and the cushions. You may need to vacuum the entire sofa several times to get all of the crumbs, dirt, pet hair, and debris. If the cushions are removable, take them off and vacuum the fabric underneath, going as far under the back and arms as your vacuum can reach. With your vacuum’s crevice tool, go along the seams, around any buttons, and along the trim.
For sofas that can handle water (those with “W” and “W/S” tags), using an upholstery steam cleaner can go a long way to remove dirt and dust. But before you get excited, check the steam cleaner’s instructions to make sure it’s okay to use on your couch’s fabric, as some furniture is not able to handle heat. Additionally, you’ll want to do a spot test on a small inconspicuous part of the sofa (like the underside of a cushion) to make sure steaming won’t cause any permanent damage.
When it comes to figuring out how to steam clean a couch, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions provided with the upholstery steamer. There are a few tricks that can make your cleaning more successful, though:
- Always thoroughly vacuum your sofa before you use a steam cleaner. After you have steamed and the sofa has completely dried, vacuum it again to capture any debris that may have surfaced.
- Go over the entire sofa, allowing just the steam to touch and penetrate the fabric.
- Ventilation will help speed up the process. Pick a nice day to steam clean your couch so that you can open the windows and air out the room.
- Adding a miticide to the steam cleaner will eliminate dust mite allergens and keep dust mites from coming back.
- Some steam cleaners use microfiber cloths to help pick up debris. As you clean, you’ll want to swap out soiled microfiber cloths for fresh ones.
- After steaming, turn your air conditioner down and point a fan on your couch to help it dry completely.
- Once your sofa is clean and dry, kill any lingering germs and stubborn odors on water-safe upholstery with Vital Oxide.
MAINTAIN THE FRESHNESS
In between your deep cleans, freshen up your couch on a regular basis, especially as soon as it emits an unwanted stench or immediately after a spill.
1. Vacuum Regularly
It's easy to remember to clean your carpets and floors, but don't neglect furniture. Even if your couch isn’t visibly soiled or dusty, vacuuming once a week is a must. Pet hair, dust, and crumbs can build on the surfaces, so using a vacuum with different attachments can be useful.
2. Tackle Stains
Spills and stains are bound to happen from time to time. For fabrics that can safely be cleaned with water (those with “W” and “W/S” tags), treat food and pet stains with Vital Oxide. Always test the cleaner in a hidden area first. Spray Vital Oxide full-strength directly onto the stain, and blot (do not rub – this could make the stain worse) with a clean, damp microfiber cloth. Once the stain is removed, dab the area with another damp cloth to rinse thoroughly and blot dry.
If you’re tackling stains on cushions with removable covers, unzip them and place a paper towel between the fabric and filling to absorb the cleaning solution. To avoid saturating the cushion, Apply Vital Oxide to a microfiber cloth and blot the stain on the cushion cover carefully, working from the outside in.
Note: For "S" fabrics, remove stains with a solvent-based product (contact your sofa’s manufacturer for recommendations on the best product to use) according to package directions.
Whatever the reason – messy kids, lingering odors from greasy takeout, wet dog – you can remove funky smells by spraying your sofa with Vital Oxide. Unlike air fresheners or scented fabric sprays, Vital Oxide doesn’t just mask odors; it actually eliminates them.Want more cleaning tips? Follow Vital Oxide on Instagram. If you have any questions, please Contact Us. We’re here to help!