Couch Cleaning Tips

Mysteries Revealed: The Ultimate Guide on How to Clean Your Couch

As experts in our field, we at want to let you know a little secret: over the years, we've learned the best ways to clean your sofa. Here's how!

The Most Essential Couch Cleaning Techniques

  • Machine Washing Guidelines: Machine washing parts of my couch can be useful but isn’t always recommended by retailers. If I choose to machine wash, the key is never to use the dryer, as it can shrink, warp, and discolor the fabric. Using a mild detergent and opting for a cold wash cycle usually does the trick. For deep stains, warm or hot water might be necessary, but cold settings are surprisingly effective.
  • Dry Cleaning Options: Dry cleaning is often overlooked for couch cleaning. While I can’t take the entire couch to the dry cleaners, I can take removable cushion covers, throw pillows, and sometimes seat or back cushions. Dry cleaning is excellent for removing stains without using water-based solvents. If I’m unsure, I can ask the dry cleaners for a free assessment.
  • Benefits of Steam Cleaning: Steam cleaning is another powerful method, and I can either hire a professional or rent/buy a steam cleaning device. Professionals have more powerful equipment and can handle multiple items at once. Steam cleaning is particularly effective for deep cleaning and removing tough stains. It’s a bit costly but worth it for comprehensive couch maintenance.
  • Practical Cleaning Solutions: Regular couch cleaning is essential for maintaining its appearance and longevity. By understanding and utilizing spot cleaning, machine washing, dry cleaning, and steam cleaning, I can keep my couch in top condition. Each method has its advantages, and choosing the right one depends on the specific cleaning needs and my budget.


How do you deep clean a couch?

The deep clean. One of the most procrastinated activities that I see for couch owners, is actually super easy. This article goes into all the best approaches and techniques to make sure that your deep clean process goes so smoothly that you’re going to be counting down the days until your next deep clean!

How should I start my deep clean?

When it comes to deep cleaning your beloved couch, there are several tried-and-true methods that can bring back to its original glory.

First thing’s first: Assess the fabric: Before you don the badge of couch cleaner, you need to know whatcha got. Hence, prior to diving into the cleaning process, it’s essential to identify the type of fabric your couch is made of. Manufacturers usually provide care instructions, so be sure to check the labels or any accompanying documentation that says something like: “Instructions for furniture in living room.”

What are the best ways to clean a couch?

The following are a list of methods of upholstery cleaning that are at the top of our list:

Spot Cleaning

  • Spot cleaning: If your couch has surface stains or spills, it’s best to tackle them right away with spot cleaning.
    – Gently blot the affected area with a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Avoid rubbing too vigorously, as it may spread the stain further.
    – You will also want to use an upholstery cleaner product- this is’s recommended method. Rather than reinvent the wheel or get too wrapped up in home remedies (and there are plenty) we recommend folks stick to the stain removal script.

Dry Cleaning

  • Dry cleaning: Some couches require dry cleaning, especially if they are made of delicate or sensitive fabrics.
    – If your sofa has removable cushions covers, it may be worth swinging by the dry cleaners on your way home to see what they might be able to do for you! We’ve seen dry cleaning cushions work wonders for many people.

Machine Washable Cushions

  • Machine washable cushions: If your couch has removable and machine washable cushion covers, good for frickin’ you! You can easily freshen them up by following the care instructions and throwing them in the washing machine.
    – Remember to use a gentle cycle and mild detergent to preserve their quality. You likely should NOT be drying them in a machine dryer vs. letting them air out to dry.

Steam Cleaning

  • Steam cleaning: For a thorough deep clean on your sectional couch or sofa with sleeper, steam cleaning can work wonders. Therefore, rent or purchase a steam cleaner designed for upholstery cleaning, and carefully follow the instructions provided.
    – The hot steam will help sanitize the fabric and loosen embedded dirt, leaving your couch looking revitalized. Don’t want to DIY? Call a local upholstery or carpet cleaner company like this one.

Remember, prevention is often the best strategy in maintaining a clean couch. For example, regularly vacuuming and using fabric protectors can help minimize the accumulation of dust, pet hair, and spills.

Want to scare yourself into keeping things nice and tidy? Check our our post on The Number One Hardest Thing To Clean From a Couch!

Official Transcript: Mysteries Revealed: The Ultimate Guide on How To Clean Your Couch

Hey, couch potatoes! It’s me, Alex with, and today we are going to talk about cleaning your couch. It’s very important, and it’s very much essential. There’s a lot of mystery and allure when it comes to cleaning one’s couch. Everybody sort of thinks that there’s some great mystery to it, but it’s really not that difficult. There are, however, four fundamental ways to clean your couch.

Spot cleaning. Spot cleaning is, as it sort of sounds, cleaning a spot on your sofa versus the whole thing is the subtext. To spot clean, there are various methods, and we have a few articles about that here on But essentially, it’s diagnosing the issue based on what you spilled on it and what cleaning products you have available, and trying things in a methodical and slow manner. The keys to spot cleaning are to test first because you want to make sure that what you’re using on your couch is not going to damage it in the long term. Test it out, then later in.

Machine washing. Now, this is not a method that’s always recommended. Washing parts of your couch in the washing machine is sometimes very useful but often not recommended, and certainly not recommended by the retailers that sold it to you. They don’t really want to have the problems of you saying, “You told me to do this, and it didn’t work out the right way.” But the fact is, it usually does work out the right way if you do it correctly. The hard and fast number one cardinal rule of washing things in the washing machine that have to do with your couch is don’t put them in the dryer ever. There’s really no good reason to ever do that. It will shrink, it will warp, it will discolor. Using the washing machine to do what it was meant to do, which is wash things, is a perfectly reasonable way to give something a very deep cleaning. When putting parts of your couch in the washing machine, there are two main things to consider: what type of detergent you’re using and what wash temperature of water you’re using as well. For detergents, you want to go with something mild like that stuff they sell in Whole Foods, you know, the stuff that doesn’t smell like anything. When it comes to using your washing machine, you want to go for a cold wash cycle. Sometimes there may be a reason to use warm or hot if it’s a really deep stain or something that you know is not going to come out using cold water. But you’d be surprised at what these washing machines can do on the cold wash setting.

Dry cleaning. Now, dry cleaning is a very underutilized method of cleaning something when it comes to your couches. Why is that? Well, if you think about it, how are you going to get your couch to the dry cleaners? And it’s a good point because you can’t. What you want to do is really consider, is this a piece that I can take to a dry cleaner? Will a dry cleaner accept a small throw pillow? Yes. Will they accept a seat cushion or a back cushion? Maybe. Will they accept an entire arm panel? No, they will not. So there are only certain things you can take to the dry cleaners. If you have removable cushion covers, however, you’re golden. Why not give it a shot? Certainly, it may cost a little bit more money, but if you’re worried about it being something that you’re not going to get out of your couch, why not spend the extra money and just take it to the dry cleaner and see what they can do? You can also have them give it a free assessment when you bring it up to the counter. They’re going to look at it, maybe confer with their dry cleaning associates, and see if that’s something they can do for you. Now, dry cleaning is a great way to clean something without using a water-based solvent. That’s why most people bring things to the dry cleaner. But they’re also really good at taking out stains. If you have a bad stain on your shirt, you bring it to the dry cleaners, so why wouldn’t you do the same with your couch? Don’t sleep on the dry cleaning option. It’s always worth a shot assuming you can get something to the dry cleaner without taking a moving truck to get there.

Steam cleaning. Now, this can be done in two ways. One, you can hire a professional—always a preferred method, of course, but it can be more costly. And two, renting or buying a steam cleaning device to do it yourself. Generally, those have less power, and when it comes to steam cleaning, the more steaming power, the better. So I’ve had professional steam cleaners come and steam clean sofas for businesses that I’ve used to run, and it’s an incredibly effective method, especially if you have multiple things for a steam cleaner to do in one setting. Steam cleaners who come to clean your sofas are generally the same ones that come and clean your carpets. So let’s say you’ve got a few stains over here, a few stains over there—make a package deal. These people are business people, they’re usually local business people, and their price is generally a little bit malleable. If you make them an offer they can’t refuse, either way, even though it may cost around 100 or 125 dollars just to get them to come to your house, if it’s a really bad stain or if your couch needs a full deep cleaning or there are a lot of little stains that might need to be addressed, steam cleaning can be a great option for you.

A smiling man with short brown hair and a beard stands on a beach during sunset. He is wearing a black short-sleeved shirt with small white dots. The ocean and sandy shore are in the background, creating a warm and relaxed atmosphere.
Alex Back is the founder and CEO of Previously, he was the co-founder and COO of the popular furniture brand, Apt2B, which was acquired by a large US retail furniture chain in 2018. He worked to integrate Apt2B, one of the very first online furniture retailers on the Shopify platform, into the operations of the 100 year old larger business entity and was deeply immersed in the business operations of both online and brick and mortar retail for 4 years before leaving in 2023 to start Working in various parts of the furniture industry since 2004, he has 20 years experience in retail sales, e-commerce, marketing, operations, logistics and wholesale manufacturing and distribution. He has worked extensively with partners such as Costco, Bed Bath and Beyond and Amazon and his work has been highlighted in many publications such as Forbes, CNN and HGTV, among others. Alex is delighted to bring his experience and authority on couches and the furniture industry to this platform, along with many of his industry colleagues who are helping him keep the audience informed and engaged on a daily basis.
Alex Back CEO & Founder