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Your couch or sofa is likely the focal point of the living room. It is the comfiest spot in the house and is well-used by everyone. It is where your kids post up when they are sick and home from school. It is where pizza and popcorn are served during family movie night. It is where you and your spouse cuddle after the little ones are FINALLY snug in their beds, and it is where you and your best friend have a glass of wine when she comes over to chat. Over the last couple of years, it has probably been used more frequently than ever.

It is important to periodically deep clean your couch to remove stains, spots, and odors that may have resulted from so much use. We recommend a thorough deep cleaning at least once to twice yearly, more so if you have pets or kids. After a long winter, spring is the perfect time to give your couch some TLC. Adding deep cleaning your couch to your spring cleaning routine will help extend the life of the couch and maintain its original beauty.

Hiring a service to deep clean your couch is an option, however, it is expensive and unnecessary. Rug Doctor provides professional-grade solutions and machines that can provide the same level of clean at a fraction of the cost. Do it yourself and save those dollars for something more fun that can add style to your couch – like Pinterest-worthy seasonal throw pillows!

Follow our recommendations below to get the best deep clean for your couch.

Check the manufacturing code on your couch

  • Most furniture manufacturers code their couches with the same cleaning codes and include them on the cleaning tag. Your couch is likely coded with a W (water-based cleaning okay), S (mild water-free cleaning solvents only), S/W (both water-based and water-free cleaning are okay) or X (clean only by vacuuming or light brushing, no water or cleaning agents).
  • The recommendations in this article only apply to couches and upholstered furniture with W or WS cleaning codes.
  • If your couch has removable cushion covers, it is likely you can wash them in the washing machine. Removable cushion covers will have cleaning and drying instructions listed on a tag from the manufacturer. Follow the instructions for cleaning the removable cushion covers as listed on the tag. You can use the steps and recommendations listed in this article for the couch arms and back.

Vacuum your couch before deep cleaning

  • If there are hardened or dried food or liquid stains, try to gently brush or scrape these areas to break up the stain into loose grit that can be vacuumed.
  • If you have pets, use a fabric lint brush to brush the couch and remove pet fur.
  • Locate the upholstery attachment for your vacuum and thoroughly vacuum your couch to remove loose soil, dirt, and debris.
  • Pay extra attention to the cracks, crevices, and seams where cushions are sewn to the couch. These areas are well-known to attract hair, dirt, and food crumbs.
  • Perhaps address the fact that the couch may look clean at this point, but it’s only a surface clean.

How to clean stains from fabric sofa

  • Use a pre-treat or multi-purpose upholstery cleaner to pre-treat heavily soiled areas. We recommend Rug Doctor Fabric + Upholstery Multi-Purpose Cleaner. It is formulated to gently remove stains, restore the look of fabrics and protect the area from future stains. You can purchase this at any of our 40,000 rental locations or at .
  • If you have pets, you may want to treat urine and other biological pet stains with a pro-enzymatic formula. Rug Doctor Urine Eliminator Plus is a good choice, because it also has odor neutralizers that destroy odors and deter pets from re-marking.
  • Before using any cleaner, do a spot check. Apply a small amount in a hidden area and blot using a white paper towel. After one minute, make sure no color has transferred to the paper towel.
  • Generously spray heavily soiled areas with your cleaner of choice and allow the solution to penetrate.

Deep clean yourself with a professional-grade deep cleaner

  • A professional-grade deep cleaner shoots a water and cleaning solution mixture onto the soft surface and then uses powerful suction to extract the water, dirt and grime from the surface and from deep with-in.
  • If you do not have a deep carpet cleaner with an upholstery attachment, Rug Doctor offers a Pro Portable Detailer and Spot Cleaner for rent at several participating locations. It is compact and lightweight, making it easier for you to maneuver than a traditional upright deep carpet cleaner. Though it is smaller, it still has professional-grade suction power you would expect from a Rug Doctor machine. The Pro Portable Detailer and Spot Cleaner also has a motorized head that does the scrubbing for you.
  • If you are deep cleaning your couch as a part of a larger deep cleaning project that includes large carpet areas and rugs, we recommend renting the Rug Doctor Pro Deep Carpet Cleaner with the upholstery attachment. The Pro Deep upholstery attachment utilizes the same head with a motorized brush as the Pro Portable Detailer and Spot Cleaner.
  • Whether using a portable spot cleaner or an upholstery tool attachment, you will need an upholstery cleaner concentrate to use with the machine. We recommend using Rug Doctor Spot + Upholstery. This triple-action formula deep cleans, deodorizes and protects soft surfaces. It is available for purchase at any of our rental locations and on Before using any cleaner, be sure to do a spot check as discussed earlier.
  • Follow the instructions for deep cleaning your couch as listed on the machine.

Let your couch dry before using

  • Make sure your couch is completely dry before putting it back to use. Completing a few “dry passes” with the deep cleaner can speed up dry time. A dry pass simply uses the machine without depressing the solution dispense button.
  • Opening windows and turning on ceiling fans can also speed up dry time.
  • If possible, remove the cushions and stand them up instead of leaving them flat and against the adjacent fabric.
  • After the couch is completely dry, you can give it a once over with the vacuum to fluff and soften the fibers.

You will be amazed how much a deep clean can bring your couch back to life! It is well worth the time and energy. If you are not completely spent after deep cleaning your couch, you can use these same steps, solutions and machines for deep cleaning other areas such as stairs, autos, mattresses and any other soft surfaces. The deep cleaning possibilities are endless with you and Rug Doctor!