How to Clean Sofa Cushions

Your sofa absorbs plenty of beatings – from being sat on for hours and capturing every odors you can ever imagine, down to collecting airborne dusts and dirt particles.

It’s the perfect, cosy place to nap, snack or watch Netflix on. An integral part of your family.

As cautious as we are, food crumbs and spilled drinks do happen. Especially for homes with small children and/or pets, you get more challenging stains like urine and vomit.

Want to hear something more?

Your skin sheds at least thirty thousand dead skin cells every hour.

With all these filth combined, if you haven’t cleaned your sofa in the last few months, perhaps it is time you should.

We know how expensive sofas can get. It is only right for us to maintain our assets for as long as we can.

Deep cleaning of upholstered furniture is almost impossible without getting them spoiled, unless you are able to dry your sofa out in the sun often. You can imagine this will be extremely challenging for those living in apartments.

How exactly do we clean our precious sofas?




Failing to check this leads you to further worsen your dirty sofa situation with damaged fibres. Before purchasing any cleaning agents, check the tags of your sofa to find out the type of fabric and some codes.

These are generally the codes you might get. Whichever codes you got, dry vacuuming your sofa on a weekly basis is a great start to clean sofas.




Go through every nook and crannies of your sofa – from the surface down to the depth corners of it. Get rid of any crumbs, lint and dust particles. Vacuuming would also help to remove furs that your pets left behind during their laze on your beautiful sofa.

If your cushions are removable, separate them and meticulously vacuum inside and out.


Holife Cordless Vacuum

This handheld vacuum from Holife is one to recommend. It has a strong suction to suck up even small dust, sand, pet hair particles.

Holife’s cordless vacuum also comes with:

  • A crevice nozzle – works on narrow gaps and corners
  • A brush nozzle – great for carpet, pet hair or computer keyboard
  • A soft pipe – gives more flexibility to clean up dust particles in hard to reach places.

With the different apparatus, it means that you can use this vacuum for more than just the sofa. It can also be easily used for the kitchen, carpets, cars and even in your home office.

Offering better suction power and 2 more apparatus to the whole package, Vaclife’s handheld vacuum is worth it’s higher price point.









Meet your home’s new best friend.

100% all-natural heat-pressurised steam cleaning, promising to leave your home furniture clean without the use of harsh chemicals.

Pursteam’s steam cleaner comes with 9 pieces of apparatus that makes you reach any difficult corners and spaces.

This steam cleaner rids of grease and stains on a wide range of surfaces too – all for $39.99. If you don’t have this yet, maybe it’s time you should!


Another handy item to have at home is a lint roller remover. The best there is in the Amazon market is from the brand ChomChom. Super easy to clean, 100% reusable and removes those unwanted pet furs and lints. No sticky tapes or adhesive paper used!

The cheaper alternative is Scotch-Brite’s Roller that gets the furs and lints out on almost anything you can roll on, from your furniture to the clothes you wear everyday.

Weekly vacuuming, steaming and rolling makes a huge difference. It will also determine how much cleaning that you need to do to maintain.




For washable upholstery, it will be good to plan washing the cushions on at least a couple of sunny days for absolute, proper drying.


Image source | CONSUMER REPORT


With the covers removed, you can throw your cushion in your washer (if it’s big enough). Do not forget to turn off the agitator before your machine wrangles your sofa cushions. Add in regular laundry detergent only!

This other method and arguably the safer way, is to personally hand wash them. Fill your bathtub, a blow-up pool, or anything big enough to fit the cushions with water. Add in the laundry detergent (or vinegar if you’d like) and start giving them a gentle water massage.

The tricky part is getting rid of all absorbed water and laying them out to sundry. Depending on the thickness and size of your sofa cushions, it could take the entire day, two days and even 3 days if Mr Sun is not strong enough in those days.

For cushions that are not washable, skip the entire washing process. Simply air dry them out in the sun for a couple of hours and you’re good to go!




If your sofa can be machine-washed, it’s a green light to strip the covers and zip them up before throwing them into the washing machine. Vital settings need to be made sure. These covers are delicate things, so change it to a gentle cycle in cold water and only with a mild detergent.

However, it must be cautioned NOT to wash too many times because of loss of color from being washed repeatedly. On the other hand, not washing them at all can leave a grimy-looking sofa. Wash in moderation!

As mentioned, your sofa covers are delicate. Never put them in the dryers, or you’ll find yourself with shrinked covers. After the wash, hang them out to air-dry, completely dry, before putting them back on the cushions.

There are, however, people who put the covers on while they are still slightly damp for fear of shrinkage. They would then iron them afterwards to make sure that they are fully dry.

The science to take note of damp sofa cushions:

  • Damp sofa cushions smells bad and develops mold growth
  • If water seeps through to your wood-framed sofa, it also promotes mold growth.

By understanding this rationale, you can choose whichever step that makes you more confident of maintaining the good conditions of your sofa.

Some sofas come with special washing instructions for the covers. Don’t ignore them, follow them.



Rule of thumb is: the earlier you tackle the stain, the better the chances of removing them. For minor stains, we do something called spot cleaning.

Before fully using the cleaners, test if the one you bought won’t damage or discolour your sofa. Test a little amount on a small area on the sofa that is less visible.

With an absorbent, white colored microfiber cloth, immediately but gently soak up as much of the spilled liquid to prevent it from further staining into your sofa. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing to prevent the spread of stain.


EASY OF USE: 4.5/5



SCENT: 4/5


Admirably #1 in Amazon best sellers rank in:

  • Cat odor & stain removers
  • Dog odor & stain removers
  • Small animal odor & stain removers

Simply follow its instructions. Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator is worth every penny. Eliminates weak stains like wine and other beverages to strong ones like vomit and animal pee.

The bio-enzymatic formula can safely remove those stubborn stains from not just your sofa but also the carpets, concrete, hardwood and laundry!

Rating high on deep cleaning and odor elimination, Rocco & Roxie’s cleaner leaves a nice scent to top it all off. Wonderful bargain for $19.97, if you ask me.


EASY OF USE: 4.5/5



SCENT: 3/5 

The second cleaner to recommend is from Resolve. For less than $10, you still get both minor and major stains removed. It may not smell as nice as Rocco & Roxie’s but the job gets done – and that’s what matters.

Whichever cleaner you’ve got, in the case of major stains, you might need to leave the cleaner on longer or reapply it several times before you can actually see results. After each spot cleaning, don’t forget to rinse your white microfiber cloth too!

After successfully removing the stain, you might want to remove the cover (if you can) and once again air-dry to fully rid of the smell.




No stain will be too stubborn for a steam cleaner. The quicker, efficient alternative to spot cleaning or cleaning your entire sofa. It’ll also be the option for those whose sofa cushions can’t be removed.

With so many in the market and newer ones coming out, the most expensive upholstery cleaner might not be the best one there is.

Choose one that:

  • Has a powerful suction to remove deep stains efficiently
  • Can clean on multiple surfaces
  • Light and easy to use
  • Designed to clean hard to reach corners


Checking all on that list, I recommend Bissell’s multi-purpose portable carpet and upholstery cleaner. The winning factor is probably its small and compact size. For something that weighs just about 4kg, it does its job of removing tough stains – proving to have a strong suction power.

This little guy won’t take up too much space in the storeroom either. Even better, it’s only $109.99 – priced lower than average prices of upholstery cleaners in the market!

If you’re planning to get this, you might as well pair it with the spot & stain cleanser to create your best upholstery cleaning experience.



EASY OF USE: 4.5/5



SCENT: 4.5/5

From the same brand, Bissell, it’s a biodegradable detergent that is safe for the environment, humans and our beloved pets. Specifically formulated to use in any portable carpet cleaners.

Removes all kinds of general stains there is to think of, along with the odor. The end result? A clean and freshly smelling sofa.



Things have been made easier with cordless vacuums and upholstery cleaners, so there’s really no excuse for us not to have clean sofas!

Maintaining the conditions of your sofa is your own responsibility. Washing them once every two weeks is possible. You deserve a fresh smelling sofa at your home.

Cleaner sofa, happier you. Happy you, happier home!


** Disclosure: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which allows me to earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. There are no additional costs to you!

10 thoughts on “How to Clean Sofa Cushions”

  1. Thank you so much for this highly informative article, Sam! Though I do not have any children, I have two dogs and regularly spend time with my little cousins-my sofa looks like it blew up, endured three tornadoes, was attacked by the Kool-aid Man, and was used in the boiler room for World War 2. Haha I definitely need to deep clean my sofa, and you have provided us with an excellent selection of products, especially the steam cleaner and Resolve spray. I will definitely make my sofa look, feel and smell as good as new! God bless you!

    1. Oh I know how that situation looks like. Glad your home is still standing. Hahaha. Imagine me having all my 9 nieces and nephews visiting at one go.

      Nonetheless, we do need to clean our sofa, kids or no kids around. I’m happy you found the article useful!


  2. Great article and details for cleaning the sofa! I know our sofa is very dirty due to the dogs and parties we have had.

    Thank you so much for this great info!! I will be purchasing the Bissell Little Green vac to clean our sofa so thanks for that recommendation.

    1. Hey there!

      Oh the parties. God knows what’s left behind hahaha.

      Awesome. Appreciate that you’ve found the article useful!


  3. Hey,

    This is a really important article foe all of us who have our own sofa’s and chairs. We definitely do need to clean our sofa’s a lot more than we currently do, especially me. From learning the different products in your article, this will definitely help me to keep my sofa in much better condition.

    I will let you know how I am getting on with cleaning my sofa and if I have any questions or need any further help, then I will get in touch. If that is OK with you?

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,


  4. Hi Sam,

    Thank you for your sharing and product recommendations. I think it’s time to clean my sofa because it is very dirty. My children always play and eat on the sofa and make it very dirty. I think I should buy an Audew’s cordless vacuum first since I don’t have one. Great article, Sam. Keep it up.

    All the best,


  5. Hi there,

    Great post, it’s not often you get all the information you need from one review, so congrats on that!

    I really need to start using these products and getting into a routine of using it too. I shudder to think what concoction of dirty and what not accumulates on upholstery!

    Looking forward to seeing what you write next.


  6. This is an extremely helpful post with tons of great suggestions, tips, tools, and resources. I’m sure others will find this as helpful as I have. I just got a new sofa and I want to keep it “new” as long as possible. The cushions are the biggest issue as they get dirty very fast. I’ve got some tools at home and now I know how to keep them clean. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!

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