How to Clean Fabric Sofa without Water Step by Step

While fabric sofas look great when they are new, they can be a nightmare to clean. Over time, pet hair food crumbs, spillages, dirt, oil from your hands, and dirt on your feet end up on your couch.

The frequency of cleaning the sofa depends on how often you use it, and consequently, how fast the dirt collects. Normally, manufacturers recommend cleaning once in every few months or vacuuming it every fortnight. Sofas come in a wide variety of materials all of which require different ways of cleaning. Before we delve into how you should clean your couch, here are a few things you should do:-

  • Check the manufacturer’s instructions – before using any solutions or cleaning detergents on your couch, confirm what’s suitable for use from the sofa tags. Failure to use the recommended products could severely damage your sofa’s upholstery.
  • Check out the sofa’s cleaning codes – most people do not make sense of the random letter on the sofa tags. These are the cleaning codes.
  • ‘W’ means that you can only clean your sofa with a water-based cleaner. A water-based cleaner uses water as the main ingredient.
  • ‘S’ stands for ‘solvents’, which is a type of solution with a cleaning chemical.
  • ‘S/W’ means that you can use both solvents as well as water-based cleaners to clean your couch.
  • ‘X’ implies that you can only clean your sofa’s upholstery by vacuuming or by engaging a professional to clean it
  • ‘O’ indicates that the upholstery is made of natural fibers. You may use cold water to clean such.

Sofa and upholstery cleaning tricks and tips

  • Test all cleaning products by rubbing them on an inconspicuous to spot. This not only evaluates their effectiveness but also shows you how they will react with your sofa’s fabric. The underside of the back of the sofa would make a perfect testing spot.
  • Placing throws on the sofa’s upholstery is a unique way of preventing is from getting dirty. This is also a nice way of decorating your couches.
  • Avoid placing your furniture near the window or door. The direct sunlight from such only makes the colors on your furniture’s upholstery fade.
  • Cleaning your upholstery on a regular basis helps avoid dust, germs, and mites build-up.
  • If possible, have your furniture’s fabric treated to protect it from spillages. While this does not make them stain-proof, it prevents the spills from getting absorbed.

A step-by-step guide on how to clean your sofa without water

  1. Surface Cleaning

Begin by removing the cushions. Depending on the fabric, use a bristle or lint brush to loosen any caked-in dirt. Pay special attention to the armrests and headrests as they are often the dirtiest. Make sure you remove any dirt from the sofa’s nooks and crannies. In case the fabric is predisposed to tearing if you use a bristle brush, rub a white, dry hand towel against the caked-in dirt and stains. By using a colored hand towel, you could end up transferring its color onto your couch.

  1. Vacuuming

You will be surprised at how a simple vacuuming can brighten the sofa’s fabric. Most sofa manufacturers recommend frequent vacuuming so that you can keep the upholstery in pristine condition. This also helps prevent dirt and debris from settling deep into the body of the sofa.

Vacuuming before cleaning helps get rid any pet hairs, dirt and dust. Vacuum the cushion surfaces too along with any removable parts of your furniture. Have someone help you flip the sofa over so that you can vacuum the underside as well as its back.

When vacuuming a leather sofa, do so at the soft brush setting and be as gentle as possible so that you do not end up scratching it.

  1. Cleaning your sofa with homemade ingredients

Homemade ingredients are kinder to the environment. Baking soda is particularly effective at cleaning natural-fiber upholstery. Sprinkle the baking soda on the couch and allow it to sit for about 20 minutes. For a deep cleaning, you can mix it with a dry carpet cleaner. Vacuum the baking soda. If there are any stubborn stains left, you can use a cleaning solvent that’s suited for the couch’s fabric. Baking soda also helps get rid of sofa odor especially when mixed with an essential oil such as lavender oil.

For leather upholstery, mix a ¼ cup of vinegar with ½ a cup of olive oil and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the sofa’s surface and buff it with a soft cloth.

  1. Steam cleaning your couch

This is ideal for couches whose cleaning code is ‘W’ or ‘W/S’. However, you will still need to check on the manufacturer’s instructions as some ‘W/S’ sofas are not able to withstand the heat produced during steaming. Follow the following steps:-

  • Add 3 ounces of the cleaning detergent and water into the steam vacuum tank. Steam clean a small patch that’s not easily seen and let it sit for around 10 minutes. Press a paper towel on the spot and check for fabric color bleeding. If the fabric’s colors do not change or the color doesn’t bleed it is safe to proceed with the steam cleaning.
  • Attach the hose, solution tube, and upholstery nozzle to the tank according to the manufacturer’s instructions and turn the steam vacuum on. Place the nozzle against the fabric and start cleaning by holding the trigger and moving the nozzle slowly towards you. Overlapping the passes will help prevent streaking.
  • Release the trigger and move the nozzle over the fabric to get rid of any detergent residue.
  • Point a fan to the sofa and turn it on to dry the couch completely.
  1. Using a solvent cleaner

Dry solvent cleaning is ideal for non-colorfast upholstery fabric which could get damaged if water-based cleaning solutions are used. These solvents are made with hydrocarbon-based ingredients. After testing it and establishing that is safe for use, apply the solvent on a white cloth and rub it on the couch’s surface. Pay special attention to the parts with stubborn stains. Once you are done, rub the fabric with a mildly damp but clean piece of cloth to get rid of the dry cleaning solvent.

When and why clean your sofa professionally?

Manufacturers recommend that you hire a professional to clean your couches annually. Leaving the couch unprofessionally cleaned for too long makes it harder to clean. As your sofa is subject to a lot of traffic from both human beings and pets, it is important to have them professionally cleaned and sanitized.

Mold spores could also form on couches made of soft absorbent fabric as such absorb moisture. Molds are a health risk as they could result in respiratory complications and allergic reactions.

It is impossible to clean all the dust, debris, and residue from home cleaners. These may irritate sensitive individuals and are generally not good for your health. Having your couch professionally cleaned takes care of all these.

Final thoughts

Taking care of stains and spillages as soon as they happen is the most effective way of avoiding having stubborn stains on your couch. Clean any spills by blotting them with a paper towel rather than rubbing them. Waiting for too long before cleaning a stain gives it time to set which makes it harder to clean in the long run.

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