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Couch Cleaning 101: A Crash Course

Your couch – or sofa – is probably one of the most used furniture pieces in your home. It’s also probably one of the least hygienic unless you clean it regularly. Exposed to dust, eaten over, and shed on (by both humans and pets), it doesn’t matter how clean your couch looks, chances are it has collected enough dust and other unsavory unmentionables to make it quite a health hazard. Fret not: the following cleaning guide will help you turn your fabric, leather or suede couch back into a safe and hygienic lounging area for your family and guests. 

Vacuum your couch regularly. Once a week, remove all cushions and covers from your couch and put the different gadgets that come along with your vacuum cleaner to good use. Vacuuming your couch regularly will help you get rid of dust and crumbs, which is particularly important if any of your family members suffer from allergies . Make sure to get the tricky crevices and nooks when vacuuming as well. 

Wash loose sofa covers periodically. Not all sofas have these, but the ones that do sure can make your life easier. Regardless of whether you’re dealing with dust or stains, with loose covers you just need to take them off and stuff them into the washing machine to get them clean. Before you do, however, check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine whether your covers can be machine-washed or need to be sent to the dry cleaner. If they’re machine-washable, be sure to replace your covers on the sofa while they’re still slightly damp to get them to take the right shape. 

Clean fixed sofa cover stains promptly. Double check your manufacturer’s instructions to determine whether your covers can withstand water. If they can, use a mild solution of laundry detergent and warm water to rub out minor stains. Just to be on the safe side, test this solution on a small hidden section of the fabric and wait to see if it goes well. If it does, lightly dab at the stain then rinse the area with a clean wet towel. Avoid getting the fabric too wet, and be sure to dry the spot as quickly as possible by using an absorbent dry cloth or FINE kitchen towel on it, leaving your windows open to let in air, or using your hairdryer on it. If the stain is too stubborn, consider dabbing white vinegar onto the offending area then following up with a mild soap solution then clean water, and drying as instructed earlier.    

Wipe down leather couches. Ideally, your regular leather couch maintenance routine should include vacuuming using a soft brush vacuum attachment. If you don’t have a soft vacuum brush, use a soft duster. After vacuuming, wipe your couch down every so often with a damp towel to remove grime. For spills and stains, you’ll need specialist cleaning products based on the type of leather your couch is made of. Check your manufacturer’s instructions for details.  

Regularly brush suede couches. Usually, all you need to keep your suede couch clean is to brush it down regularly with a dry towel or a soft suede brush. Do your best to avoid getting spills on your couch, but if you do have a mishap and need to get a stain out, simply use a clean soft pencil eraser to gently rub the spot then brush the spot with your suede brush.