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How to Clean a Sofa

Family rooms are the heart of the home. When your sofa receives daily, regular use from family members and pets, it is bound to look a bit unpleasant at times. Although periodic professional cleaning is recommended, there are still steps you can take to keep your sofa looking clean and fresh, even if it is the most used piece of furniture in your home. These simple tips will tell you how to clean a sofa in 2 simple steps.

There are many different types of sofa upholstery fabric, so it is useful to know what your sofa fabric is made out of before performing any of these steps. Certain types of fabric should not be agitated or wet, so be sure to do your research before you begin. Our blog posts and Textile Tips provide a wealth of information on all different fabric types.

Freshen up Your Fabric Sofa

Without the help of professionals, you can still use a few methods to clean a sofa by yourself.

One of the easiest things you can do is remove any hair or solids before cleaning the sofa fabric itself. Brushes that have rubber bristles are best, since they do a great job of removing hair and other fine particles without damaging your fabric. We recommend the Grime Reaper Upholstery Brush from Groom Industries. This brush is washable, great for cleaning out crevices, and is an absolute must if you are a dog or cat owner! Vacuum your sofa after brushing to remove the particles loosened by brushing.

Whether or not you brush, vacuuming your sofa about every other week is vital for prolonging its life. Dry particulate builds up over time and acts as sandpaper on the fabric when sat on.

How to Clean Sofa Fabric at Home

Damp dusting is the key to keeping your furnishings looking their best in between professional cleanings and increasing the longevity of your sofa fabric. It removes the oils and grime that naturally build up on fabrics over time. To damp dust, all you will need is a white towel and a mild water-based spot cleaning product, such as pHnominal.*

There are hundreds of ‘DIY cleaning methods’ on the internet that claim to be safe and effective. There are also hundreds of over-the-counter cleaning products that are marketed as all-purpose cleaners. The truth is, every fabric/fiber combination is different and will react differently to the cleaning method used. Learn more about the risks of DIY cleaning methods here

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The Fiber-Seal Fabric Care Kit


You will mist your cleaning product onto your white towel, and “dust“ the sofa as you would a tabletop. Make sure you are “dusting” in even swipes so that all your fabric gets cleaned. When the towel looks dirty, fold it and repeat on a clean side of the towel. If you have removable cushions, you can damp dust both sides. Be sure to remember the sides, back and skirt of the sofa rather than focusing on just the cushions!

*The best cleaning products that we recommend, such as pHnominal, are available in the Fiber-Seal Fabric Care Kit. Are we biased? Maybe. But as fabric care experts, we have perfected these formulas over many years of research and testing. The Fabric Care Kit is provided to Fiber-Seal clients who use our fabric protection services.

Fiber-Seal is Your Fabric Care Resource

Although damp dusting is great for removing the soiling on the surface of your sofa fabric, deeper cleaning occasionally may be needed for sofas that are constantly in use. The frequency of professional cleaning varies by situation, based on several factors such as fiber type, fabric construction, and use. As a general rule of thumb, a moderately used living room sofa made up of durable material may require professional cleaning about every 12 months. However, if the same sofa is protected with Fiber-Seal, it would increase that period of time substantially. 

We hope you are able to apply these techniques into your weekly cleaning routine and gained useful knowledge on how to clean a sofa! If you’re looking to invest in a new sofa, be sure to check out or blog where we rank the most cleanable and sustainable fabrics for upholstery.

How to clean your sofa

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