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Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Couch and Getting Rid of Stains

Like a kitchen to a home, a couch is the heart of the living room. It’s where pets run over to you, begging for snuggles and scratches. Or where your picky toddler munches on a bowlful of Cheerios.

That said, couches are bound to get dirty all the time.

Water stains, pet dander, and all kinds of dirt get trapped in every corner of your favorite lounge furniture. So how do you turn a dirty couch into an immaculate one?

At Hilltop at Shavano, we love to help our residents keep their homes spick and span. That’s why we prepared this guide to share with you some easy steps to make your couch look brand new.

Before You Begin

Let’s start with the most important part of the couch cleaning process: refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Look for the cleaning tag attached to your couch, then check for its upholstery cleaning code.

Here’s what you might find and what it means:

  • X - can only be cleaned using a vacuum or a brush.
  • W - stands for water. You should only clean this type of couch using water-based cleaners.
  • S - stands for solvent. This type of couch should only be dry cleaned or cleaned using a solvent-based solution.
  • WS - means that the couch can be cleaned using a combination of water-based cleaners and solvents.

Once you figure out what your couch’s cleaning requirements are, you can then prepare your cleaning weapons:

  • Vacuum
  • Brush
  • Steamer
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar and liquid dish soap OR a commercial couch cleaner (refer to your couch’s cleaning code before you buy one)
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean cloth
  • Towel

Brush and Vacuum the Surface

If you have a couch cover, remove it first and put it in the laundry. Then, grab your brush and use it to loosen the dirt, debris, and dust on the couch.

Next, plug in your vacuum and remove the loose particles. Don’t forget to vacuum every nook and cranny!

Wipe Down All Non-Fabric Parts

Soak a clean cloth in a mixture of water and liquid dish soap. Next, use it to wipe down your couch’s metal, wood, or plastic legs.

Prep the Upholstery and Your Cleaner

Sprinkle baking soda all over the couch, let it sit for at least 30 minutes, and remove all of it with a vacuum. Doing so will not only help absorb the stain but also make it smell fresh.

While waiting for the baking soda to do its cleaning magic, prepare your couch cleaner. (Be sure to refer to your couch’s cleaning code.)

If you want to steer clear of commercial cleaning solutions, you can easily create your own homemade cleaner for W couches. Use a spray bottle to mix these ingredients:

  • 3 parts warm water
  • 1 part vinegar
  • Few drops of dish soap

For S couches, be on the safe side and stick to a commercial solvent-based cleaner.

Get Rid of Stains

Before using any of your chosen cleaning agents, do a spot test first: find an inconspicuous area on your couch and test your cleaning solution on it. Then, wait for it to dry and check for any discoloration.

If your chosen cleaning product works as intended, spray it on the couch stain and scrub it with a soft cloth. You can also wipe down the entire couch to give it a thorough clean.

For couches that can be cleaned with water, try using a steam cleaner and wave it over the couch to remove dirt and stains. Don’t have an upholstery steam cleaner? Put your iron on a steam setting and use it over stubborn stains.

Finishing Touches

Finally, soak up any excess liquid using a towel and let it air dry overnight. Then, sit back, relax, and enjoy your fresh couch.

Hilltop at Shavano in San Antonio, TX

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