How to clean a fabric sofa or leather couch on a budget

You sit on it every day, but how often do you clean your sofa? Here’s how to do it without breaking the bank.

While your sofa is the perfect place to relax and unwind, many of us forget it requires regular cleaning, as it collects everything from our dead skin cells to leftover crumbs of food.

Depending on how dirty your sofa gets, you should ideally have it cleaned once every few months.

Here are some top tips from cleaning experts at Handy, the platform for connecting people who need home services with top-quality, pre-screened independent cleaners and handymen.

Sofa material

The first thing you must do before you start cleaning your sofa is identify the material, which can be anything from linen to leather.

The material is usually displayed on the tag, accompanied by the following signs, which tell you the various ways in which you can and can’t clean your sofa:

W – means you can wash the sofa with water
X – you can only use a vacuum cleaner
SW – you can use water, or solvent cleaner if you prefer
S – the sofa can only be cleaned with solvent cleaner

Surface clean

Once you’ve identified the fabric, remove any cushions and properly brush down nooks and crannies, to remove any crumbs and rubbish that can get stuck in there. You can also use a white hand towel to rub at any spots or stains, as that will help to break them up.

However, avoid using any coloured clothes or sponges, as the colour can sometimes transfer onto the couch.

Removing odours

Once you’ve removed any crumbs and loosened any stains, the next step is to remove any unpleasant odours. Baking soda is a great, budget-friendly solution for this. Simply sprinkle the sofa with baking soda and leave to sit for at least 20 minutes and then vacuum the sofa with a brush attachment.

If you find this isn’t enough, mix the baking soda with some dry carpet cleaner and leave to sit for another 20 minutes, which should leave your sofa looking new and fresh.

Managing stains

The best and most budget-friendly way to manage stains on your sofa is to make your own cleaning solution.

Simply mix a teaspoon of washing-up liquid, white vinegar, baking soda and warm water – baking soda and vinegar work really well together, removing any difficult stains quite quickly.

Just make sure to test the solution on a hidden piece of the fabric, to make sure it doesn’t discolour your sofa.

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Leather sofas

Cleaning leather sofas is slightly different to fabric, but again, you should always check the care label before trying to clean the sofa yourself.

Once you’ve checked the labels, make sure to always dust the sofa first, so as not to press the dirt further into the leather when cleaning.

Next, vacuum the sofa with a soft brush setting and make sure to be as gentle as possible, so as not to scratch the leather.

After you’ve finished vacuuming, see if there are any spots or stains on your sofa and focus on cleaning them with a slightly damp cloth – that’s all leather normally needs.

If your sofa has any persistent stains, lightly rub them with gentle soap (make sure to do a spot test first), without using too much water.

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