DIY Cleaning Tips to Keep Your Sofa Looking Brand-New

Don't let pets, kids and red wine ruin your prized possession. We've got at-home cleaning solutions to keep your sofa looking good-as-new.

While getting your couch cleaned by an upholstery cleaner is sometimes necessary, there are actually quite a few things you can do on your own before calling in the big-gun professionals.

Transitional Open Plan Kitchen and Living Area With Blue Sofa

Transitional Open Plan Kitchen and Living Area With Blue Sofa

Varying shades of blue create a peaceful setting for this transitional open concept kitchen and living area. A gorgeous royal blue sofa anchors the living room space.

Photo by: Tobi Fairley

Tobi Fairley

Remember that whenever you're using any kind of cleaning solution (even one you think will be totally safe!), it’s always best to test it out first on a small, hidden area of your couch just to be safe. Here are some of our favorite at-home DIY couch cleaning solutions:


Many vacuum cleaners these days now come with upholstery attachments that make vacuuming your couch a breeze. You’ll want to remove all of your cushions first, then make sure to get deep into every crevice and corner of your couch with the vacuum. It’s easy for crumbs, dirt and pet hair to get stuck in there, so it’s important to clean it out often.

If you don’t have an upholstery cleaner attachment for your vacuum, a smaller hand-held vacuum will work well, too.

Lint Roller

If your couch is made from a fabric the easily attracts lint, hair or dust, you should keep a lint roller on hand that you can exclusively use for your couch. This works best for a couch that only requires a light amount of de-linting, but it can work for larger jobs, too. In a pinch, I've even used large pieces of packing tape to de-puppify the hair on my couch.

Cleaning Codes

Did you know that all couches have a secret code on the tag that will tell you how it should be cleaned? Find the fabric tag on your couch to see what will work best.

W — Use a water-based detergent.

S — Your couch should be dry cleaned or cleaned with a water-free detergent.

WS — Your couch should be cleaned with a water-based cleaner or dry cleaned.

O — Your couch is made from organic and/or natural fibers and should be washed in cold water.

X — You can only have it cleaned by a professional upholstery cleaner.

Make sure you keep these rules in mind when you're searching for a good cleaning agent solution for your couch. Get more on the letters and what they mean here.

Leather Soap + Conditioner

If you have a leather couch, leather soap and conditioner is something you can use to keep it looking clean and fresh. I also use a slightly damp, clean rag to wipe off my leather furniture about once a week. See below for some additional leather-specific product recommendations.


If your couch is made of a fabric that can be cleaned with a water-based cleaner, try using steam to loosen up dirt and stains.

Try This: Grab your iron, put it on the "steam" setting, and wave it back and forth across any trouble spots on your couch.

Spot Clean

For spot-cleaning, you’ll have to make sure you're using the right solution for the fabric. (Again, check the codes on your fabric tag!) However, even for fabrics that can handle a variety of cleaners, it's sometimes best to start off with a clean rag and some simple dish soap when tackling a stain. Blotting (rather than wiping) seems to be a technique that most people favor when it comes to spot-cleaning, too.

Another important thing to remember is that some stubborn stains might actually take two or three passes before they completely come out. So even if you’re not seeing immediate results, keep going. Let your spot dry completely, then try again.

Go-To Cleaners

Here are some common go-to cleaners I found that might work on your upholstery.

Dryel Dryer Wipes — At-home dry cleaner products are a good choice if your fabric is marked "S" or "W/S".

Tuff Stuff — This can be used with vinyl or fabric upholstery.

Zep Cleaner — This is great for leather furniture.

Folex — Jenny from The Little Green Notebook has had lots of luck with this solution.

Baking Soda — Try baking soda for a more natural solution.

Wine Away — For red wine stains, this is my go-to.

Cleaning Essentials That Make Life Easier

See All Photos

7 Things You're Forgetting to Clean

Whether it's deep cleaning or just tidying up, there are a few ways to go the extra mile and keep your home sparkling. From the back of the TV to the garbage disposal, there are some items around your home that may need some TLC from the sponge or vacuum. Did You Know These Items Were That Dirty? >>

Clean Out Your Dryer Lint

One way you can speed up the laundry process is by not only cleaning the lint from your dryer, but actually cleaning your lint screen.

Clean Your Home After Illness

Keeping your home spic and span is one of the most important ways to ward away disease, and a thorough cleaning once you're feeling better can prevent illness from spreading to your loved ones.

Photo By: DK - House Works ©2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Spring Clean Your Paper Clutter

Preparing your tax return can be chaotic, but it doesn't have to be. Keeping important papers organized year-round can help you spend less time scouring your file cabinet and more time planning your Tax Day shopping spree.

Choose the Right Vacuum

With so many brands, options, filter types and other factors, choosing the right vacuum can be a daunting task. To make the decision easier, we've narrowed down some of the most important factors to keep in mind while picking out a vacuum.

Photo By: DK - House Works ©2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Flip Your Ceiling Fan Rotation

If your home feels fine during the day but you find yourself reaching for an extra blanket at night, it may be time to reverse the direction of your ceiling fan blades.

Clean Out Your Closet

Start the cold seasons off on the right foot with a few tips for making the closet swap less painful.

Amazing Uses for Vinegar

One of the best things about keeping vinegar in your home is that it's so cheap. Plus, it's edible — no harsh toxins, no lingering chemical smell — making it the perfect cleaning solution if you have children or pets.

Creative Uses for Beer

As it turns out, your favorite brew may have more uses than just cooling you off after a long day, like polishing garden pots and keeping wasps away.

Photo By: Creatas Images

Amazing Uses for Spices and Herbs

You'll quickly find that herbs and spices offer natural solutions for both you and your home. Plus, it's likely you already have several of these super-spices at home, making them a practically free cure-all.

Make Natural, Homemade Potpourri

If you've ever tried to make your own fragrance, you know it can be difficult to get the combination just right. That's why we followed our noses to find easy mixes for springtime scents that you can make at home.

Spring Clean Your Outdoor Space

Have you been neglecting your yard? Get your outdoor space ready for the spring and summer months with our tidy-up tips.

Clean Your Gutters

Taking measures early — like checking your gutters for leaks and cleaning out built-up debris — will ensure you spend less time outside scooping up piles of wet leaves and more time inside with family.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Easy Floor Cleaning Tips

Keep all types of flooring clean and avoid premature wear with these simple tips.

Cleaning Schedule Wipes Chores Out Quickly

The quickest and simplest route to a clean house is to schedule cleaning tasks on a daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal basis. Try this easy schedule to mark off your cleaning to-dos.

Car-Cleaning Tips

12 ways to give your wheels a fresh start.

7 Spring-Cleaning Tips

Check out these ways to make the yearly chore less of a chore.

9 Homemade Cleaning Products

Simple ingredients from the pantry can be used to make cleaning products that are kinder to the environment for a fraction of the cost.

20 Cleaning Tips for Beds and Mattresses

Whether heaped with pillows or minimally spare, keep beds, mattresses and bedding in top shape with these easy-care tips.

Easy, Cheap and Green Cleaning Tips for Floors

Make your floors look like new again with these simple techniques for cleaning tile, hardwood and vinyl.

Lawn Care Tips to Keep Your Lawn Green and Growing

Mow, water and fertilize on a regular basis to keep your yard looking lush and tidy.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts