How to Clean a Couch: Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Cleaning Routines


Maria DeSouza

| Published September 20, 2023

Your couch is where you sit and read your favorite book, scroll through social media, listen to your newly discovered podcast, and even finish the puzzle you’ve been doing for a month.

By continuously using the couch cushions and fabric, your couch accumulates dirt, dust, germs, and odor. All these are reasons enough to learn how to clean a couch.

Don’t worry; we have everything you must remember in this step-by-step guide — from understanding your couch material to the actual cleaning process, deep cleaning, cleaning without washing, and professional cleaning.

Let’s get cleaning started!

Understanding Your Couch Material

Cleaning isn’t easy. It doesn’t solely depend on how you like to clean a couch, but it’s more on understanding what the couch materials are and how they should be handled.

To help you out, we delved deeper into defining what fabric and leather couches are and understanding the different fabric codes and their implications in this section.

Fabric Couches

A fabric couch is a cozy furniture that makes us feel warm. It is usually made of wool, linen, silk, or cotton. Given their materials, fabric couches CANNOT be cleaned through these processes:

  • Bleaching
  • Soaking in hot water and cleaning solutions
  • Rough brushing

If you’re practicing these cleaning processes, it’s high time to STOP because it can cause marks on your fabric couch, as well as discoloration, stains, and shrinking of the fabric.

Leather Couches

True to its name, a leather couch has leather upholstery that provides comfort without agonizing individuals with allergies. It’s also a more durable option than a fabric couch.

In ensuring that your leather couch will last long, you also have to take part in caring for it by considering these leather cleaning tips:

  • A cleaning solution made of white vinegar & water or a small amount of rubbing alcohol helps in removing stains and in keeping an unprotected leather couch an extra layer of protection.
  • Using a microfiber cloth is a way to avoid damaging the leather material.
  • Keeping your leather couch away from direct sunlight when cleaning helps it retain its sturdiness

Fabric Codes and Their Meaning

Have you ever wondered what the codes on the tag of your newly bought couches mean?

These fabric codes are established to identify the materials of the couch and how it should be cleaned, including the cleaning solution and specific process.

  • W – This code stands for wet, which means you can clean it using water on a microfiber cloth paired with careful and gentle wiping. It can also refer to steam cleaning.
  • S – This code stands for solvent, which means you must not use water when cleaning because it can leave water stains. Instead of water, use a solvent-based cleaning solution.
  • WS – This code stands for wet and solvent, indicating that you can use water or solvent-based solution to remove the specific stain when cleaning. You can also maximize steam cleaning for this one.
  • X – This code stands for do not clean, which indicates that you cannot clean it using water or another cleaning solution. The only acceptable form of cleaning for materials with the X label is using a vacuum cleaner.
  • D – This code stands for dry cleaning only, which tells us that the only possible cleaning tip we can do for this material is dry cleaning.

How to Clean a Couch

Now that you finally understand the materials and applicable cleaning solutions for your couch, we will move forward to the actual cleaning procedure.

This section will tell you more about the preparations before cleaning and the daily, weekly, and monthly routines you can follow.

Preparations Before Cleaning

Before cleaning, you must first do these steps for an organized and systematic process:

  1. Read the cleaning instructions on your couch’s tag or ask the manufacturers if you have upholstered furniture.
  2. Identify and gather the cleaning supplies you’ll need based on the couch cushions’ materials.
  3. Arrange the cleaning supplies and tools based on the necessity for easier access.
  4. Remove debris on the couch.
  5. Do a patch test of the cleaning solution on a hidden part of the couch before starting the cleaning method to ensure it will not damage the material.

After doing the pre-cleaning routine, you can proceed to the cleaning proper. Learn more from the step-by-step guide in the succeeding sections!

Daily Cleaning Routine and Practices

Cleaning your couch on a daily basis includes basic methods, those that can be done immediately without wasting so much time. Here are the practices you must consider:

  • Always remove clutter on the couch. Ensure that books, toys, and other things are in their proper storage containers.
  • Vacuum clean a couch to remove dust.
  • Instantly wipe your couch fabric or leather with the appropriate solution based on its fabric code when spills occur. Make sure to use a soft cloth or microfiber cloth in the process.

Remember, cleaning your couch every day is part of maintaining cleanliness in your living room.

Weekly Cleaning Routine

Always include couch cleaning in your routine, even if it means doing it on the weekends.

The weekly cleaning method for your couch cushions is intended to prevent your couch from accumulating dust and fostering skin beetles and bed bugs. It’s a great practice to adapt for those with sensitive skin and pre-existing allergies.

Listed here are the steps to do for your weekly routine cleaning method:

  1. Remove the cushions and removable covers.
  2. Put the removable covers on the laundry.
  3. Maximize vacuum cleaning (use brush attachment for detailed vacuuming).
  4. In a spray bottle, mix your white vinegar solution and spot-treat stains. You can also do this using rubbing alcohol.
  5. Spray the solution into the sofa and gently wipe it using a microfiber cloth in circular motions.
  6. Wipe the entire couch clean and dry using a soft towel or a clean microfiber cloth.

Monthly Cleaning Routine

There are cleaning processes that are only done every month, and these are the following:

  • Deep cleaning the leather or fabric upholstery 
  • Moving the entire couch to clean the bottom part
  • Using a leather conditioner to clean stubborn stains, and add a protective layer on your couch to prevent cracks.

Deep Cleaning a Couch

We mentioned in the previous section that deep cleaning must be included in your monthly cleaning routine. Remember that this cleaning procedure is limited to cleaning protected leather and fabric, not bare ones.

To help you understand how deep cleaning works, we will delve into the step-by-step process, the time required, and the tools needed.

Step-by-Step Guide to Deep Clean a Fabric Couch

Deep cleaning is best done by hiring professional cleaning services. However, if you like to do it yourself, here’s a step-by-step guide to deep clean couch cushions:

  1. First, you must remove your sofa cover if you have the removable type.
  2. Second, clean the cover using dry cleaning or an upholstery attachment brush.
  3. Third, vacuum the fabric sofa to remove dust and debris.
lower body image of a male cleaner using a vacuum cleaner on a gray fabric sofa
  1. Fourth, through steam cleaning, kill mites and other insects on your couch.
  2. Fifth, remove the water stains, grease stains, and wet stains from the fabric sofa with the S label using solvent-based cleaners, like baking soda. 
  3. Sixth, remove the said stains from the fabric sofa with the W and WS codes using a mixture of white vinegar and a few drops of mild dish soap or mild dish detergent.
  4. Seventh, remove water, grease, and wet stains from fabric sofas with the D code by dry cleaning them.
  5. Eight, air dry the entire sofa or use a hair dryer for faster results.
  6. Ninth, vacuum the fabric sofa (air dry) to remove cleaning residues.
  7. Lastly, cap off the cleaning process by spraying fabric fresheners on the entire couch.

PRO TIP: Use cleaning materials depending on the cleaning code specified on your microfiber couch, suede couch, or velvet couch. 

Time Required for Deep Cleaning a Couch

In order to efficiently clean a fabric couch using the deep cleaning instructions, it would take at least four to six hours, regardless if you’re getting it professionally cleaned or through a DIY process.

Tools Required for Deep Cleaning

Your deep cleaning adventure is WORTH IT if you have all the required tools ready, such as:

  • Vacuum with a brush attachment
  • Spray bottle, gloves, and paper towels
  • Vinegar (white) and mild dish soap
  • Baking soda, rubbing alcohol, and warm water
  • Steam cleaner, dry scrub brush, and hairdryer
  • Lint roller for pet hair
  • A damp cloth, damp sponge, and dry microfiber cloth
  • Upholstery brush and a suede brush
  • Carpet cleaner (for under-the-couch cleaning)

How to Clean a Couch Without Washing

If you think washing is the only way to clean couch cushions, you’re wrong!

You can also have a clean microfiber couch, suede couch, velvet couch, leather couch, and other types by only using a vacuum cleaner, baking soda, and vinegar.

Using a Vacuum Cleaner

A vacuum is a great help in removing dust, debris, and even insects living in the nooks and crannies of your couch cushion.

Using a vacuum to clean a leather couch or a fabric couch is an efficient way to achieve these advantages:

  • Reduced allergens
  • Prevention or limitation of mold spores
  • Removal of particles and materials that can damage the leather or microfiber couches

Using Baking Soda

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a staple in every cleaning instruction – from bathroom to bedroom to living room. In our years of experience, we have always heard baking soda during cleaning conversations.

To maximize baking soda to its full potential, you can consider these tips:

  • In a spray bottle, mix it with warm water and sprinkle baking soda mixture onto the couch
  • Put baking soda directly on the stained spot and let it stay for at least 30 minutes before vacuuming to remove leftover powder. While baking soda sits, you can focus more on other tasks like cleaning your removable cover.

Using Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the cleaning materials you shouldn’t miss when cleaning a couch without washing, as it removes dirt, grime, and grease stains from your velvet or suede couch.

How to use it? It’s simple! You only need to follow these steps:

  1. Get your reliable spray bottle.
  2. Put four parts of warm water inside.
  3. Mix with one part of white vinegar.
  4. Mix the solution and mist it into your couch.

Professional Couch Cleaning

Cleaning your couch is beneficial to lessen dirt, dust, germs, and foul odor. But can you do it all by yourself? Sure, you can!

However, at some point, you’ll realize that it’s much better done by professionals to clean even those hard-to-reach areas.

Learn more about when to call a professional cleaner and the cost of acquiring the services in this section.

When to Call a Professional Cleaner

You MUST call a professional cleaner when one or more of these signs match your current situation:

  • When there is still a foul odor in your couch that doesn’t come off even if you tried ALL the remedies
  • When you observe stains and marks that occupy an ample space on your couch
  • When gum, grease, or sticky food stains are attached to your couch
  • When you are moving out and don’t have all the time and help in the world

Cost of Professional Couch Cleaning

If you need professional help, you should know that it will cost you around $60 to $400, depending on the following factors:

  • The severity of the condition of your couch
  • The services you availed
  • If the service is rushed or scheduled

Frequently Asked Questions

Couch cleaning is detailed and needs intensive attention. To help you do things effectively, we answered some of your FAQs in this section. 

How Frequently Should You Clean Your Couch?

Depending on how dirty your couch is, you should clean your couch daily, weekly, or monthly.

What to Do With Stubborn Stains?

You can use vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, dry cloth, leather cleaner, steam cleaning process, and solvent cleaning to remove stubborn stains.

In identifying what needs to be done, go back to the basics: know your fabric codes through the label or by asking manufacturers.

What Should You Avoid While Cleaning Your Couch?

You should avoid bleaching and other harsh cleaning materials for your fabric couch and refrain from putting the leather couch under DIRECT SUNLIGHT (even when you air dry).

How to Maintain the Cleanliness of Your Couch?

You can maintain the cleanliness of your couch by upholding this mantra: CLEAN AS YOU GO. 

This means that you must instantly clean food leftovers, crumbs, and spills on your couch. Also, don’t forget to maintain your daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning routine.

Can Home Remedies Damage Your Couch?

Home remedies are generally safe and can only damage your couch if you use them (even if it’s contrary to the fabric code) and apply them harshly to the couch’s surface.


Knowing how to clean a couch and maintaining a routine is ESSENTIAL for your well-being and your couch’s life span.

Sometimes, it can be challenging, especially if it’s your first time cleaning. But, if you try to learn and understand how cleaning works by heart, it can help you address couch-related issues in the blink of an eye.

Doing a DIY cleaning of your couch can even help you save money in the long run, as you don’t have to pay for expensive professional services. BUT, professional cleaning services can go a long way if your couch needs serious cleaning.

So, what are you waiting for? Start applying the cleaning instructions from our step-by-step guide. Surely, you’ll enjoy time for yourself, friends, and family in the comfort of your sparkly clean couch!

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