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How Can I Clean My Sofa & Chairs?

Whether you need to remove a stain or want to freshen up fabric – discover how to clean a sofa with this comprehensive guide. Read on to find out more!


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When it comes to cleaning the house, sofas and chairs can be some of the most difficult items to clean. Whether you want to know how to clean a fabric sofa or a leather armchair, you’ll typically require special detergents or upholstery cleaners – but with the right approach, these can be very simple to use. So, while you can’t put an entire sofa in the washing machine, cleaning soft furnishings can be almost as easy.

Of course, some fabric sofas do have removable covers that are designed to withstand a gentle washing machine cycle. But, if your furniture is made out of delicate material or doesn’t have removable covers, you will need to consider other ways to clean it. Here are four tips on how to clean a sofa with ease.

1) When using upholstery cleaners, always test first

Whatever sofa cleaning method you choose, the most important thing is to always test detergents and cleaners on a small, inconspicuous area first. Never try a new cleaner in an obvious place in case it isn’t compatible with a particular material.

2) Wondering how to clean sofa fabric? Keep it simple:

Different fabrics all react to cleaning detergents differently, and you don’t want to accidentally damage or fade the fabric. Don’t apply cleaning solutions blindly: occasionally, a simple dab of water will do. If possible, try to keep fabric sofas and chairs clean by vacuuming them regularly, and treat any stains immediately – blot the stain to avoid making it worse! When spot cleaning fabric furniture, use specialist furniture cleaners (choose a product that is appropriate for the particular type of material). Always make sure to read all the instructions of your specialist furniture cleaner before applying it.

Always remember to test furniture cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area of your sofa or chair, and to read the directions on the label first.

how to clean your sofa

3) Leather sofa cleaning means using different products

To clean any leather furniture, you can use specialist leather cleaning products, or you can mix a very mild clothes detergent – one designed for delicates or hand-washing – with a small amount of water and then spot clean using a microfibre cloth. You could also use a saddle soap. These contain oils and waxes that not only clean surfaces but also add moisture to the material, helping to maintain health and shine without the risk of over-saturation from water.

4) Team an upholstery cleaner with a natural or commercial deodoriser to deal with smells

While most furniture cleaners are effective at removing dust, germs, and stains, some smells may be so deeply embedded in sofas and chairs that these methods alone are not enough to make them smell fresh. A simple way to freshen up furniture is to sprinkle your sofa and chairs with baking soda before bed. In the morning, use a soft brush attachment to vacuum up the powder. This kitchen staple is excellent at absorbing nasty odours, and can be used throughout the home to reduce smells. It’s also worth airing your furniture every so often by opening windows on a breezy day, or using a ceiling or freestanding fan if you have one.

Regular upkeep is simple, and can help you avoid using strategically placing cushions to conceal stains. Luckily, with these tips on how to clean a sofa, you can keep your furniture in the best condition possible.

  • Vacuum sofas and chairs regularly to keep them looking their best.

  • Use a suitable cleaning product for the type of fabric and always follow the instructions on the label.

  • Use baking soda to absorb nasty smells.

Originally published