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How to Clean: Fabric Sofas

You asked, we answered! Cleaning sofas can be daunting and frustrating. If you’ve just purchased a new sofa no need to pull out a plastic cover. In this blog post, we will be going over how to clean and care for your fabric sofa.


How to care for your fabric sofa:


Before you do ANYTHING always check our manufacturer tag and your warranty.


The tag could include valuable symbols:

  • WS: Use a mild detergent with a steam vacuum or a dry-cleaning detergent

  • S: Use a dry cleaner detergent only.

  • X: Use a vacuum only. No water.

  • W: You can use water to clean it.

We strongly recommend you follow the symbols on your manufacturer’s tag as it could void your warranty.

First Steps:

Sometimes simple is best. When a liquid is spilled, try to blot as much of it as possible with a light coloured towel and air dry. Sometimes, that is all you need to do.

Get to the stains quickly. If you find there is still residue after blotting up the liquid, get to cleaning it immediately. Waiting too long before treating a stain – even a matter of a few minutes – can cause the stain to set, making it harder to get out.

Basic Clean:

Baking soda is your new best friend. Everyone knows keeping an open box of baking soda in your fridge will help keep it smelling fresh. A similar technique also works for your fabric sofa!

Baking soda is great for a lot of things, including removing embedded dirt on your sofa.

You will need:

  • A couple of cleaning cloths

  • a stiff brush, baking soda

  • your vacuum cleaner using the brush attachment.

  1. Use the stiff brush to brush away crumbs, dust, and other debris.

  2. Sprinkle the couch with baking soda and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. You may want to consider mixing the baking soda in a dry carpet cleaner for a super-deep clean.

  3. Use the brush attachment on your vacuum to thoroughly remove the baking soda or mixture.

How to clean fabric sofas with the WS Symbol:

WS: Use a mild detergent with a steam vacuum or a dry-cleaning detergent

A WS code means that a combination of dry-cleaning solvents and water-based cleaners may be used. These fabrics can be spot cleaned with upholstery shampoo, foam from a mild detergent, or a mild dry cleaning solvent. Like I mentioned before, testing on a hidden area first is always a good idea.

  1. Mix a few drops of liquid dish detergent in a bucket of lukewarm water.

  2. Gently brush over the entire piece with a soft-bristled brush, making it lightly and evenly damp with the soap solution. Do not soak any areas, as this can cause fabrics to discolor.

  3. Follow up by wiping the entire piece with a clean, damp cloth.

  4. Allow the piece to air dry completely before using it. Don’t try to speed things up with a hairdryer, as the heat could cause issues, but feel free to turn on fans to help speed the drying process up.

  5. Clean one side of any cushions and allow to dry completely overnight before cleaning the other side.

How to clean fabric sofas with the X Symbol:

X: Use a vacuum only. No water.

This type of sofa should only be cleaned by vacuuming or gently brushing. Never use any cleaning agents at all. Any cleaning product whether water or solvent-based may cause staining, shrinkage, or distortion.

How to clean fabric sofas with the S Symbol:

S: Use a dry cleaner detergent only.

You Will Need:

  • Vacuum Upholstery attachment

  • Soft brush

Steps for General Cleaning:

  1. Use a soft brush to brush over areas with dirt to loosen it and even brush some of the surface dirt away.

  2. Use a vacuum with the upholstery attachment to remove the remaining loose dirt particles. Regular vacuuming will minimize the amount of deeper cleanings that will be necessary to keep your sofa looking great.

How to Spot Clean Dirty Areas and Stains You Will Need:

  • Mild, water-free solvent, such as Ultra Shield Stain Remover, or Dry cleaning product, such as Chemspec Dry Fabric Cleaner or ForceField Dry Cleaning Fluid

  • Clean cloths, Fan or hairdryer (optional)

Steps to Spot Clean the Upholstery:

  1. Use one of the cleaners from the list above to test the fabric. If the test area goes well, you are set to start on the main stain/dirty area.

  2. Apply the cleaning solvent to the stained area using a clean, white cloth. Blot the stain switching to a new section of the cloth each time. This will avoid reapplying the stain or dirt to the area being cleaned.

  3. When all of the dirt is removed, allow the area to dry completely. If there are any rough areas, brush over them with a soft brush or vacuum the area to restore the original texture.

For Sofas with the W Symbol:

W: You can use water to clean it.

The cleaning instructions below should only be used for sofas with tags marked “W” or “WS.”

What you’ll need:

  • A vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment

  • At least three light-colored microfiber cloths

  • A bucket

  • Distilled water (The minerals in tap water can leave residue behind.)

  • Liquid dish soap

  • Distilled white vinegar

We cannot stress this enough: just like when cleaning a rug, you should always spot test solutions on a small, inconspicuous area of the material before you begin cleaning.

  1. Vacuum your couch so you’re not rubbing in dirt or debris while cleaning.

  2. In the bucket, mix about 2 cups of distilled water with 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and 1 tablespoon of vinegar.

  3. Dampen a microfiber cloth with your cleaning solution.

  4. Gently blot any stained areas with the cloth. Don’t rub or scrub. This can damage the fibers.

  5. Moisten a fresh microfiber cloth with distilled water (no dishwashing liquid or vinegar), and blot the affected area to remove any remaining soap.

  6. With a dry microfiber cloth, blot the area one more time.

  7. Point a fan on the area to make sure it dries completely.


How to Steam Clean Your Couch


If you want to deep clean your sofa and you have a sofa marked “W” or “WS,” you may be able to use an upholstery steam cleaner. However, “W” and “WS” sofas may be able to withstand water, they can’t always take the heat - just double-check the label.

When it comes to figuring out how to steam clean a couch, you’re really just going to follow the manufacturer’s instructions provided with the upholstery steamer. They should tell you what settings you’ll need to use. There are a few tricks that can make your cleaning more successful, though:

  • Vacuum your sofa before you start to steam clean. After you have steamed and the sofa has completely dried, vacuum it again.

  • Pick a nice day to steam clean your couch so that you can open the windows and air out the room.

  • Some steam cleaners use microfiber cloths to help pick up debris. You’ll want to change these out as you steam so you can pick up all the dirt.

  • After steaming, point a fan on your couch to help it dry completely.

How to Clean Revolution Fabric sofas


Revolution fabrics are next level. They look beautiful, environmentally friendly, it feels like any other fabric only they are stain-resistant (yes, even the lightly coloured versions of the fabrics). They are fade-resistant, 100% recyclable and built for heavy use. Perfect if you have children, pets or are just clumsy with wine. No need to panic.

  1. Remove loose debris by lightly brushing off or remove excess water with clean cloth by blotting.

  2. Create a bleach and water solution. With Revolution, bleach won’t damage the fabric. The solution should be one ounce of bleach to 30 ounces of water (this should fill an average size spray bottle).

  3. Spray the solution on the stain. Allow the solution to soak into the fabric. If you can, it is recommended to place a clean towel between the fabric and foam cushion. This is to absorb extra moister for a faster drying prosses.

  4. Add water and blot up until clean.

  5. Let air dry.


Now that you know how to clean any sofa, take a breath, stretch out on that sofa and celebrate with a cup of coffee or glass of wine to celebrate! … Actually, maybe enjoy in another room with no absorbent surfaces, at least until the spill spot is dry… No judgment.


Think your sofa is beyond cleanable? Take advantage of our $200.00 off a custom sofa or loveseat!(Limited time offer) We can help you pick the best fabric for your lifestyle.

Contact us to book a consultation appointment.


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