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What’s the Best Way to Clean My Sofa?


Sofas can get messy really easily – luckily cleaning your sofa is relatively straightforward. All you need is the correct tools and the right method!

Here’s how best to clean your sofa…


1.      Vacuum

Before you set off on the deep clean of your sofa, remove any debris or crumbs from the surface of the sofa. To do this, you can use a hose attachment on a full-sized vacuum cleaner. Vacuum the surfaces and cushions and then remove all the cushions and vacuum the base of the sofa.

2.      Remove lint and fur

Your vacuum cleaner may not be able to remove lint or pet hair, so use a lint remover to pick up the bits that the hoover can’t.

3.      Wipe down surfaces

If your sofa has any exposed wood surfaces, be sure to give them a good wipe down. Find a cleaning product that’s suitable and a cloth that’ll do a good job of removing any dust or grime.

4.      Find out what material your sofa’s made of

Locate the tag on your sofa (usually around the back or underneath the cushion covers), which will tell you what the sofa is made out of. The tag will usually give instructions on what cleaning products are safe to use on the fabric too. We’ve handily decoded those instructions for you:

WS – Use a mild detergent with a steam vacuum or a dry-cleaning detergent.

S – Use a dry cleaner detergent only.

X – Use a vacuum only, no water.

W – You can use water to clean it.

5.      Cleaning

Now it’s time to clean your sofa. Here’s some tips depending on your fabric type.

  • W – Water only – this is simple. Prep the sofa with a vacuum nozzle. Don’t use detergent and don’t drench your sofa or you may leave watermarks. Take a clean cloth, wet it in warm water and wring it out. Then rub the mark in a circular motion, ensuring you don’t rub against the nap of the fabric too much. Don’t scrub at the stain or you may damage the fabric of your sofa.
  • X – Vacuum only, no water – pretty self-explanatory. One thing to note, some modern vacuums have a ‘turbo’ attachment for the nozzle which they say is designed for furniture. Be extremely careful and if in doubt, don’t use it at all. Fast moving bristles can pull and wear the fabric of your furniture down. The safest thing to do is to just use your vacuum nozzle.
  • WS – mild detergent with a steam vacuum or dry clean detergent – this is where, if you have a mild sofa detergent, perhaps in a care pack that came with your sofa, you should use it. Alternatively a fabric cleaning spray from the supermarket would be a good alternative. Use steam vacuums sparingly at home as you could cause damage if overused. We would not recommend using dry cleaning detergent at home.
  • S – Use dry cleaning detergent only – as above, we would never advise you try this yourself without expertise. If your sofa falls into this category, contact a local professional cleaner. As well as giving your sofa a good clean from time to time, you could also spruce it up with new accessories, soft furnishings and loose covers!

How well do you know your furniture brands? See if you can spot the difference between high street and high end in our furniture quiz!

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