How to clean a velvet couch — four simple steps to refresh yours

Nail how to clean a velvet couch and restore its va-va-voom with these pro tips

Learn how to clean a velvet couch and make it as spotless as this green velvet 3-in-1 convertible couch that functions as a sofa, sleeper sofa and two accent chairs in living room with wall paneling and traditional area rug
(Image credit: Wayfair)

Knowing how to clean a velvet couch is key to maintaining its supple, luxury look and boy is it worth it, because these babies are as beautiful as they are stylish.

Velvet sometimes comes with a reputation as a fussy fabric, requiring extra care to maintain its rich color and plushness, but our cleaning and couch experts have detailed four simple steps to refresh yours, as well as products to use and avoid.

There's plenty to consider when it comes to cleaning upholstery, but zhuzhing up your velvet sofa doesn’t need to be complicated. Follow our expert-backed steps and you’ll have your velvet couch shining in no time.

How to clean a velvet couch with confidence

If you’re looking for advice on how to clean a couch, our industry pros are on hand with this guide to help you restore that luxe va-va-voom back to your velvet. If you're dealing with a urine stain, that will be a slightly different process that our experts have shared tips for in our dedicated guide to cleaning pee from a couch.

Where our experts have suggested helpful products for cleaning a velvet couch well, our matching product picks have at least 4.5/5 star reviews from shoppers.

Prices were correct at the time this article was published.

Depending on the stains, you may need:

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Paper towels
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Cleaning vinegar
  • Handheld steamer
  • Vacuum

Step 1: Know your velvet

Coral velvet sofa bed in living room against a salmon pink wall and black framed artwork. There's circular round side table and snake plant atop

(Image credit: Cult Furniture)

Not all velvets are created equal. Natural ones are made of linen, silk, or mohair and require a bit more TLC, whilst synthetic velvets consist of nylon, rayon or polyester and can more easily withstand pets, stains and general wear-and-tear.

Whatever the composition, it’s important to check the care label and laundry symbol meanings before deciding how to clean a velvet couch in your home.

Amy Poulton, home improvement expert at DIY website Hometalk, says, “Your couch’s type of velvet will determine what you can use to clean it. Check the tag for the cleaning code and select cleaning products that match.”

The label codes to look out for include: 

  • W — for water-based cleaning, such as with shampoo or foam
  • S — for solvent cleaners
  • WS — for water-based or solvent cleaners
  • X — for vacuum only
  • D — for dry-clean only

Amy adds, “When in doubt about using a cleaning product or method on a velvet couch, spot test in an inconspicuous section first — for example, on the underside of a cushion or at the back if it’s placed against a wall.”

Profile photo of Hometalk editor Amy Poulton
Amy Poulton

Amy Poulton is editor and home-improvement expert at Hometalk, the world’s largest home DIY community. It has 150,000 tutorial videos on everything from cleaning to decor provide inspiration, and shared expert guidance to more than 21 million members. 

Step 2: Spot-clean stains

Living room with white panelled wall, parquet flooring, orange velvet sofa, green velvet sofa, gallery wall with colourful prints and a large green plant in a woven basket

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

Velvet is a plush princess — so spot-cleaning promptly when stains occur (including removing red wine stains) is critical to maintaining its regal elegance.

Amy says, “When a spill occurs, soak it up immediately using an absorbent, light-colored cloth or paper towel. If needed, apply a lifting liquid (such as diluted vinegar solution or a small amount of baking soda) by gently dabbing it onto the stain. Finally, sponge it off with water.

We like the Heinz cleaning vinegar available on Amazon, and recommend Amazon Basics microfiber towels. Just remember to learn how to wash microfiber cloths to help retain its absorbent properties and prolong its life.

“For tougher stains, such as ink, blot the stain with a tissue, working from the outside in to prevent further seeping. Gently scrub at the stain with a damp cloth and mild dish soap (such as Dawn EZ-Squeeze available at Target), cleaning off the soap with just water until no more ink transfers."

Finally, apply rubbing alcohol (our experts recommend the Equate 70% Rubbing Alcohol from Walmart) to a cotton ball and gently rub the stain in a circular motion. Wipe away any remaining rubbing alcohol with a damp cloth.

If you already have cleaning supply subscriptions, you may have ingredients such as Arm and Hammer Baking Soda from Amazon already. Though it’s always wise to test your product first on an inconspicuous area. 

Step 3: Vacuum

A living area with white walls with wall art and windows, a deep blue velvet couch with a pink throw pillow, a tall yellow metal lamp, a wooden floor with a peach rug and white geometric table on it

(Image credit:

The best way to give your velvet the care it needs is a regular vacuum. Once a fortnight is a good place to start, with extra attention after parties or busy weekends. 

Cleaning expert Will Cotter, of HappyCleans, says, “Grab a vacuum cleaner (we recommend one of our highly-rated, tried and test best vacuum cleaners) with a soft brush attachment to gently remove any dust, dirt, and debris from the surface and within the fabric pile. 

"It's really important to do this before diving into any deep clean. The Shark Navigator Professional Lift-Away Vacuum from Walmart is a great choice for this task. It's got really powerful suction and works well on all kinds of surfaces, even delicate fabrics like velvet.”

Will Cotter, COO of HappyCleans, standing in sunshine in front of San Francisco Bridge.
Will Cotter

Will Cotter is Chief Operating Officer at the professional home cleaning service HappyCleans, providing one-off, regular, and deep-cleans across a growing list of territories including Oklahoma, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Louisville, Jacksonville, Columbus, Detroit, and Cleveland.

Step 4: Steam clean

Small living room with focal point of art on the yellow painted walls with wooden furniture accents and a purple velvet two seater sofa

(Image credit: Getty Images/ Andreas von Einsiedel)

Vacuuming, brushing or spot cleaning your velvet couch can often leave creases or compression marks. A steamer can be just the trick.

Will says, “For wrinkles or creases, a handheld steamer (such as one of Real Homes tried and tested best steam cleaners) kept at a safe distance is ideal to smooth them out. Select a low setting and never use too much water."

To help maintain this fresh look, avoid placing heavy items directly on the couch. The weight can crush the fibers and create unsightly indentations.

High-quality steam cleaners include the Bissell Little Green HydroSteam we've reviewed. For those on small budgets, this handheld Koitat Handheld Steam Cleaner from Walmart is a snip.

The four simple steps above will ensure you show your velvet couch the luxe love it deserves. To carry on your cleaning streak of delicate living room items, our pros have also delved into how to clean jute rugs without damaging the fibers.

Andy van Terheyden
Freelance Writer

I'm a senior writer with an English degree and NCJ qualification, plus years of experience writing news, lifestyle and consumer articles for the national and international press. I'm also a copywriter, working on a breadth of consumer and corporate projects, and a private education consultant. I live in the quiet of the countryside and spend my weekends mooching around homeware shops, completing DIY tasks to breathe life into my small, newly-built home.