How to Clean Your Sofa

Growing up, you probably saw your parents or grandparents cover their sofas in clear plastic wrap in an effort to keeping them clean. If the sofa wasn’t covered in squelching plastic that made a crude noise every time someone sat on it, it was likely shrouded in several blankets instead. The thinking behind this was to keep dirt off and protect the fabric or leather underneath, largely because how to clean a sofa was somewhat of a secret. 

Nowadays, plastic covers are reserved for grandparents and those with lively pets, but it’s not necessary. Cleaning a sofa isn’t a best-kept secret anymore. There are multiple methods you can use to clean your sofa depending on the fabric type. Follow our instructions and you’ll be able to keep your sofa looking good as new for years to come. 

Cleaning Codes

Like your clothes, your sofa will have a tag on it explaining how it can be washed and how the material should be cared for. Here are the codes you’re most likely to come across and what they mean:

W – water can be used during the cleaning process 

X – no water can be used during the cleaning process (vacuum only)

S – the sofa can be cleaned with dry cleaning detergent only

WS – steam cleaners, mild detergents or dry cleaning detergents can be used

Sofa being vacuum cleaned

How to Clean a Fabric Sofa

Most people struggle with how to clean a fabric sofa, but it’s a lot easier than you might think. The first thing to note is that if you buy a sofa with fixed covers, you should opt to get it professionally cleaned once a year. 

Even if your sofa covers are removable, we do not recommend taking them off and putting them in the washing machine. The spin cycle can be damaging to the fibres on the covers, and the detergents used can cause colour fading or streaking. To avoid damage, hire a professional cleaner to do a thorough deep clean that won’t cause any damage and potentially ruin your sofa.

It is possible to clean your fabric sofa at home depending on what the label says. If your sofa has an X on the label then you can’t use any water-based detergents, but you can use a bristle brush or a vacuum to remove debris. If you have a stain on your sofa, you can either wait for it to dry and use a bristle brush to remove the dirt, or your best bet is to hire a professional cleaner. They will have a range of safe detergents that are safe for your sofa and will lift any stains right off. 

For sofas with the WS symbol, you can use a steam cleaner to not only remove creases and wrinkles but to kill any bacteria and loosen dirt or stains to make them easier to remove. Where the label dictates you can use mild detergents (WS or S), you can blot the away stains as and when they appear using a baby wipe. If you don’t have a baby wipe, a damp cloth may be used, but make sure you don’t use water on sofas with an X label. 

Baking soda is generally safe for most fabrics and is a great tool for lifting stains, so if you can’t get a hold of a professional cleaner, try using baking soda. It’s a good idea to test a specific area first, so choose a spot at the back that’s not visible. Put a pinch of baking soda on, wait 30 minutes and use a soft cloth, bristle brush and vacuum cleaner to remove it. If there’s no damage, you can use it on stains that might appear. 

Fabric Sofa Care Tips

Along with putting rules in place such as no food or shoes on the sofa, there are some easy ways you can keep your fabric sofa looking brand new. Firstly, make an effort to vacuum it every week. Make sure you pull out the cushions and vacuum the base of the sofa to get rid of any small crumbs and bits of debris that may have accumulated. 

Next, turn your pillows once a week. This will prevent one side of the pillow from getting worn. When flipping the pillows, remember to plump them, too. This will encourage them to retain their original shape and prevent denting or sagging in the corners. 

Direct sunlight can cause the fabric to fade, so bear this in mind in terms of placement within your living room.

Leather sofa being cleaned by hand

How to Clean a Leather Sofa

Leather sofas look and feel beautiful, so it’s no wonder they’re a popular choice for those seeking a sleek new sofa solution. Generally speaking, leather sofas are easier to care for than fabric ones, but spills and stains can still happen. If you do spill something on your sofa, make sure to use a damp cloth immediately to wipe it clean. Don’t scrub too hard or use harsh chemicals as it could cause the leather to fade. 

As a general rule of thumb, you should wipe your sofa down once a week with a damp cloth and vacuum it in the same way you would a fabric sofa. It’s also a good idea to plump and turn cushions regularly. 

You will need to be aware that specifically with pale coloured leather sofas, dye from things like denim and newspapers can rub off, so it’s a good idea to put a blanket in place in the case of new denim until the excess dye has been washed out. 

More Sofa Cleaning Tips

The Delux Deco team are on hand to provide you with expert care tips when you enquire about or buy one of our luxury sofas – be it fabric or leather. If you have any questions about caring for your new sofa, or if you want to find out more about our beautiful sofa range, please contact us