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How to Clean Your Couch

Follow this upholstery cleaning guide from Rainbow Restoration® for the best ways to deep clean different couch materials.

Double Check the Cleaning Code

Before you do anything, double check the couch’s cleaning code, which you should find on a cushion tag. During all your cleaning endeavors, keep the following codes in mind:

  • W: Water-based upholstery cleaner is ideal.
  • S: Solvent-based upholstery cleaner is ideal.
  • S/W: Either water- or solvent-based upholstery cleaner can be used. Plan to spot clean with water-based upholstery shampoo to remove water-based stains. Use solvent-based upholstery cleaner for oil-based stains.
  • X: Highly delicate furniture may have this rare cleaning code, which means brushing and vacuuming is the only appropriate cleaning method.

Prep the Couch

Regardless of what fabric your couch is made of, preparation almost always looks the same. Simply brush your couch off with a stiff brush or clean, dry white cloth. This breaks up dried-on spots and removes bits of food. Avoid using a colored cloth since the dye could transfer to the couch.

With the gunk loosened up, it’s time to remove it. Use a vacuum with a brush attachment and reach into every nook and cranny to pick up crumbs left behind from evenings lounging and snacking on the couch. Be sure to vacuum under the cushions as well.

Clean the Couch

Follow these cleaning guidelines for good results without the risk of ruining your couch.

Clean Your Code "W" Couch

Man-made fabrics typically fall within Code W. These include:

  • Polyester
  • Nylon
  • Herculon
  • Acetate
  • Olefin

Cleaning with a water-based solution is the simplest option. You can make a simple homemade upholstery cleaner with a teaspoon of dish detergent and one cup of warm water. Dab the sudsy solution onto the stained area, and then follow up with a rag dampened only with water to remove any soapy residue. Be careful not to over-saturate the fabric. If this homemade solution doesn’t work, you can purchase water-based upholstery cleaner from the store.

Clean You Code "S" Couch

Natural fibers usually fall within the Code S category. These include:

  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Rayon
  • Wood
  • Silk
  • Denim
  • Velour
  • Damask

These materials tend to require a solvent-based dry cleaning product consisting of short-chain alcohols, glycol ethers, d-limonene or pine oil. Spot clean by applying the solvent to a clean, white cloth and blotting the dirty area. Then simply allow the dampened spot time to dry. If rough patches remain on the upholstery, brush or vacuum the area to restore the original texture.

If you need to clean a large surface, such as entire couch cushions, you’ll see the best results if you hire a company to bring professional dry cleaning equipment and tackle the job for you.

Clean Your Code "S/W" Couch

This cleaning code provides the greatest versatility since you can clean with either water- or solvent-based upholstery cleaner. Couches made of fabric blends consisting of both natural and man-made fibers are most often labeled with this cleaning code.

After brushing and vacuuming your fabric-blend couch, sprinkle the entire thing with baking soda to soak up lurking smells and break up stains. Allow the baking soda to sit for 20 minutes to an hour. Then vacuum it up using the brush attachment.

Next, look closely for any stains that require spot cleaning. Use a homemade cleaning solution consisting of warm water, dish washing liquid, white vinegar and baking soda to remove set-in stains. Test in an inconspicuous area first to check for any discoloration. Then gently dab or rub the solution onto the stain with a clean white cloth and “rinse” with a cloth dampened only with water.

Code "X": Hire Professional Upholstery Cleaning Services

If you need a professional’s help bringing your old sofa back to its former glory, count on Rainbow Restoration®. We offer upholstery cleaning services to deep clean, remove stains and control allergies. Whether your sofa recently took the brunt of a spilled cup of coffee or you’re simply tired of the accumulated stains making your couch look grimy, request an appointment for upholstery cleaning from Rainbow Restoration today. 

For Further Reading:

How to Clean Furniture After a Fire

How to Clean a Smelly Drain

Why Should You Have Your Carpet Cleaned?

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Call us at (855) 724-6269
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