After months of social distancing, working from home, and lengthy TV show binges, our couches have become the epicenter of our homes. Not to mention the family members and pets who also enjoy lounging on the sofa. Our couches take a beating throughout the day.

As you sit on your couch and read this, you may start noticing a new stain, a few lingering crumbs, and a distinct funky odor. If you do, it’s time to learn how to clean a smelly couch.

Besides the obvious spills and accidents, a fabric couch can trap cooking odors, body oils, fur, dust, and more. If you don’t want your nice couch to become your home’s eyesore, you need to clean it.

Regularly cleaning your couch and home will prevent odors and keep you and your family healthy. You can deep clean almost every type of sofa. But how you clean the sofa will differ depending on the couch materials.

Do you feel your couch needs cleaning? Here’s what you need to know about cleaning a smelly couch.

1. Check the Label

Most couches come with a label or instructions for proper care. Before you start deep cleaning your sofa, read the instructions to learn what cleaning liquids and methods are safe to use. Checking the label will help prevent you from permanently damaging your couch.

Have you checked the label but felt confused after seeing a few random letters? Those letters are cleaning codes. Here’s a breakdown of the most common cleaning codes.

W: The “W” stands for water-based cleaners. These types of cleaners have water as their main ingredient. Look for water-based upholstery cleaners to clean your couch.

S: If there’s only an “S,” you must only use solvents to clean your couch safely. The main component of these cleaners is the solvent or detergent. You should avoid any water-based homemade cleaners as well as steam cleaning.

S/W: The “S/W” means you can use both water-based cleaners and solvents to clean your couch.

X: This means you should avoid all cleaners. You can safely use a vacuum to clean your couch.

You should always follow the recommended cleaning instructions for your couch. While water may seem relatively harmless, it can leave lasting stains on couches with an “S” or “X” on the label.

If you can’t find the label or are unsure how to clean your couch, check online, or contact the manufacturer. Make sure you carefully read the label as it may have different instructions for cleaning the cushions versus the couch cover.

2. Clean Stains and Spills Fast

As soon as you, a family member, or your four-legged friend causes a stain, clean it right away. Stains become harder to get out the longer they sit. Again, pay attention to the label as water can ruin some couches.

If the cushion covers unzip, place a towel between the cushion and the cover. This will prevent the stain or the cleaning solution from affecting the cushion.

3. Use a Dry Brush and Vacuum

Brushes and vacuums are one of the safest and easiest ways to clean your couch. They’re great for removing crumbs, dust, and any other dry debris. Vacuums are gentle enough to use on fabric, leather, and microfiber couches.

Start by using a dry natural bristle brush to loosen dust, dirt, and stains. Use a hand-held vacuum or soft vacuum attachment to remove the dirt and debris. This will make it easier to find and clean any underlying stains.

4. Homemade Cleaning Solutions

Baking soda is a fantastic cleaning treatment when you’re learning how to clean a smelly couch. It removes and prevents odors as well as removes most stains.

Use dry baking soda by sprinkling it all over your couch to absorb odors or sprinkle it on a stain to help loosen it. A saturated solution of equal parts baking soda and water can penetrate deep into stains.

Let the baking soda sit for about 10-20 minutes to absorb the stain. You can either wipe it off or vacuum the dried baking soda.

This is an excellent option for pet owners and those with small children who want to learn how to clean pee out of a couch. The baking soda will absorb the stain and prevent the odor from lingering.

Another safe option is a combination of 2 parts warm water, 1 part vinegar, and just a few drops of dish soap. Spray or dab the mixture on the stain and gently blot with a clean cloth.

Make sure your couch has a “W” or “S/W” on the label before using the wet method. Test a small area to ensure the baking soda doesn’t discolor your couch.

5. How to Steam Clean

Steam cleaning is an effective cleaning method for most water-approved couches. Steam cleaning, however, uses heat, which isn’t safe for all sofas, so again, refer the manufacture’s label.

You’ll need an upholstery steam cleaner, which should come with detailed instructions on how to use it. Test it on a small out-of-the-way spot on your couch before cleaning. Typically you can start by:

  • Vacuum and brush your couch
  • Try to pick a beautiful day to open windows to air out your couch
  • Steam clean (following manufacturer’s instructions)
  • Let your couch dry completely
  • Vacuum again if needed

Steam cleaning also kills most bacteria and germs that may linger on your couch.

6. Let Your Sofa Dry Completely

Whether your deep clean your entire couch or just one spot, let the sofa dry completely before you use it again. The wet area can trap unwanted scents and dirt if you use it too soon.

Keep your couch smelling fresh longer by lightly spraying it with a fabric sanitizing spray. It will also kill lingering germs and bacteria.

Use These Tips on How to Clean a Smelly Couch

Learning how to clean a smelly couch can be easy. Most people have the cleaning ingredients they need available at home. It’s time to freshen up your couch today!

Need help keeping your home clean this year? Request a quote! We’re happy to help you with all of your cleaning needs.