How to clean a fabric sofa – Our insider secrets for keeping your sofa newer for longer

How to clean a fabric sofa – Our insider secrets for keeping your sofa newer for longer

So, you’ve just unwrapped your brand-new sofa, sat down to enjoy it, and along come the little ones with sticky bolognese fingers! Accidents happen, but sometimes there is nothing worse than red stains on a grey sofa. It sounds silly, but do you really know how to clean a fabric sofa? 

That’s why we have compiled a step by step guide to clean a fabric sofa. Ranging from little spot cleaning to a full deep clean, our handy tips and advice will keep your sofa looking brand new for years to come!

Spot Cleaning

  1. For any small little marks, you can usually clean them off with some warm soapy water - as long as you catch them quick enough! Put 1 tablespoon of dish soap (such as Fairy) into 2 cups of warm water.
  2. Take a (this part is important) clean white cloth and dab it into your soapy water. Pat over the stain (DO NOT RUB) and use a dry white cloth to absorb the water. Repeat this 3-4 times until stain has gone.
  3. If you have a slightly more stubborn stain, then try adding 1x tablespoon of white vinegar into your soapy solution. White vinegar is a great household cleaner and can be used in all sorts of cleaning solutions. Don’t worry about the vinegar smell, as this will disappear once dry.

If you catch a stain before it’s dried in, the above method is great at removing small stains and is super gentle on your upholstery. As long as you don’t rub, you shouldn’t be able to see any evidence of any marks!

These spot cleaning tips work great for all sorts of fabric, including the super on trend velvet. Just be sure to dab, otherwise some colour may rub away!

Deep Cleaning

If you have some worn in stains, or feel your furniture needs a real deep clean, it couldn’t be easier! Don’t worry about spending hundreds going to a pro - just grab some baking soda and a dry carpet cleaner (such as Vanish or Shake’n’Vac) and follow the below steps:

Take your baking powder and sprinkle generously over the seats. If you need to remove seat cushions place on a clean sheet to save any extra dirty marks!

If you feel a deeper clean is needed, at this stage you can add a dry carpet cleaner, and brush in along with the baking powder. Make sure you use a clean, soft brush so as not to damage the fabric. You can purchase specific carpet and upholstery cleaning brushes but using a clean brush from your dustpan and brush will work just fine.

Leave the powder to soak in for 20 minutes. Now is the time to go pop the kettle on and put your feet up.

Once the baking powder has worked its magic, vacuum it all up! Most vacuums will come with a upholstery attachment, which will usually have red felt pads around the edges to protect the fabric.

Take your time when vacuuming. Start on one side and work down in lines, to ensure nothing is missed.

Top Tip: Fabric dining chairs are also subject to spills and stains, so the baking powder will also work wonders for these, too. Follow the same method as above to keep your chair shiny and new!

Future Protection

Hopefully now your sofa is looking good as new and smells fresh as a daisy! If you want to protect your sofa from future stains, try using a product such as Scotchgard Fabric Protector. This will coat your sofa and keep cleaning to a minimum. Check out the manufacturer’s instructions and be sure to test in an inconspicuous area first!

As long as you are gentle, follow any manufacturer’s instructions, and pat instead of rub - your colourful fabric will stay bright and cheerful.

Helpful Info:

  1. When you’re thinking about how to clean a fabric sofa, take a trip to your local supermarket. There are some great products on the market for cleaning upholstery, such as Vanish Power Foam and Shout. Just be sure to follow instructions carefully and test a patch first. Do not to leave on too long to avoid any discolouration.
  2. Make sure you do not use any coloured cloths to clean your sofa. Using a white cloth will allow you to see if any colour comes off. If so, stop using the product immediately. This is why it’s so key to test a small patch first!
  3. Kids are messy. It’s a fact of life. Darker colours always work best for families, as marks don’t show up so much, but if you do opt for a light colour sofa, a fabric protector is an essential.
  4. Blue jeans are your sofas biggest enemy, be it fabric or leather! Make sure any new blue jeans go through the wash to avoid any colour transferring. (Or make PJ’s a must have when chilling on the sofa… win win!)
  5. When cleaning velvet make sure you do not rub the fabric. Because velvet is a cut pile, the fibres are only attached to the base weave. By rubbing this you’ll end up pulling out some fibres and potentially creating a bald patch! Not a good look…

Fancy more cleaning tips? Check out our blog post about keeping faux leather fresh and clean right here.

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