How Often Should You Clean Your Couch?

How to Clean a Sofa: Couch Cleaning Tips

We buy the specialty shampoos, the fragrant cleansers and the newest body wash, so we smell fresh throughout the day. Add to that the routine scrubbing, disinfecting and sanitation of our bathrooms, kitchens and floors. Even our pets get the spa treatment with aromatic soaps, elixirs and perfumes.

We have all of these hygienic habits, but we still tend to forget about the place where we spend most of our free time: the sofa. When you’re watching a movie, curling up with a book or napping away a weekend afternoon, the couch is usually the spot where you’ll land.

Whether you live by yourself, with a roommate or a family of six, your sofa may need a little TLC. Not only does giving your living room seating a refresher improve the look of your furniture, but it also creates a healthier, more enjoyable space for you and your loved ones to spend time. Check out these ideas for how to clean a couch so you can relax with a little peace of mind.

So, How Often Should You Clean Your Sofa, Really?

The short answer to this question is that you should probably clean your couch more than you do. The topic is a bit more complex than that, though. The frequency with which you should refresh your sofa depends on the type of upholstery you have, how often you use it and who’s using it.

It’s a good idea to give your sofa an all-over cleaning at least a few times a year. If you have kids or pets, the odds are that you need to vacuum on a more regular basis to cut down on crumbs and fur. Moreover, anybody who likes to eat snacks on the couch also knows that spills are inevitable, making the occasional spot-clean a necessity.

Common Materials

Sofas come in a variety of materials, and each requires a different approach to maintenance. Before starting, it’s important to understand the best way to clean your couch. Each type comes with unique perks and challenges, so you should follow the instructions and restrictions that come with your specific piece of furniture.


Experts recommend cleaning your leather couch once or twice a year. Make sure to apply a special leather conditioner instead of detergents, since the harsh chemicals may dry out the material.

You should dust your leather sofa once a month with a microfiber cloth to pick up any debris.


While there are many different types of upholstery, such as cotton and linen, a good rule is to clean a fabric sofa every three to four months. First, you’ll want to vacuum the cushions and between the crevices to remove crumbs, lint and dust. Then gently wash using a brush with warm soapy water and allow it to air dry.


Much like fabric sofas, you should clean this high-performance material a few times annually. While these models do a great job resisting spills, they can still stain. For the best results, use a mixture of warm water and dish soap, then gently rub the spot in a circular motion until it’s gone.


To clean a denim couch, you might only need to go as far as your kitchen pantry. Using baking soda is a great, natural way to remove stains and odors. Simply make a paste by sprinkling on a layer of baking soda and rubbing a wet cloth over it. Once it’s dry, you can vacuum away the residue. You should do this a few times a year.

Use baking soda and water to clean your denim sofa a few times a year to keep fresh and clean.


This delicate material can be a little trickier to maintain. Vacuum regularly to keep dust and hair to a minimum, and spot clean as-needed using a low moisture cleanser and a soft bristle brush and moving with the direction of the fibers. To be on the safe side, hire a professional cleaner every few years to deep clean your chenille sofa.

The Health Benefits of a Clean Sofa

In addition to looking fresh and vibrant, a clean couch can also have several health benefits. From wiping out bacteria to the reduction of allergens and improved air quality, properly cleaning your sofa helps in more ways than many people realize.

  • A Thorough Cleaning Can Kill Bacteria: While your sofa may look fine, harmful germs may be lurking within the fabric of your couch. A good way to tackle this issue is with steam cleaning. Using steam can kill harmful bacteria that affect individuals with lung problems or those with allergies.
  • It Can Improve Air Quality: Many people tend to overlook the air quality in their home, but dirt and dust accumulate quickly within couch fibers and between cushions. Regularly vacuuming these can help those who have respiratory issues and leave your home feeling fresher.
  • Helps to Reduce Allergens: Whether you’re allergic to dust, pet dander or pollen, sitting on a dirty sofa can trigger troublesome symptoms like a runny nose, sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes. A thorough cleaning helps to eliminate these allergens and allows people to relax and breathe easier.
  • Smells Fresh: Couches absorb sweat and oils, which can lead to lingering, unpleasant smells. Pet dander and food stains from last week’s takeout can also build up over time and create a less than desirable odor. Taking the time to clean your upholstery can help to remove these unwanted aromas.

Use Your Best Judgement

If it looks dirty, go ahead and take care of it. Simple spot maintenance is an effective method to keep your sofa looking like new in between deep cleaning. Regular vacuuming can also help prevent dust particles and dander from settling in. Keep in mind, the more you use your couch, the more often you’ll have to clean it.

Perhaps you keep pushing it to the back burner, or maybe just needed to know how to clean a sofa properly. Now that you have some solid couch cleaning tips, you can check this weekend project off your to-do list and breathe a sigh of relief.