How to clean a sofa

If you know how to clean a sofa with these tricks, you can put a stop to stains, smells and collections of pet fur (we're looking at you kids and pets)

how to clean a sofa
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Want a few tricks up your sleeve for cleaning a sofa? Of course you do: everyone gathers on the sofa: family, friends, children, cats and dogs… and so it’s no wonder that it ends up suffering spills and stains, can start to niff a bit, and gathers more pet fur than your companions could possibly seem to possess in the first place. 

But these inevitabilities can be tackled, and easily to boot with these clever hacks. And, once you’ve sorted out your sofa, you can make the rest of your furniture tidy with our guide to cleaning upholstery. And, make your whole home spotless with all the advice you could possibly need on our cleaning hub page.

1. How to clean spills from your sofa

If you’re there when something gets spilled on your sofa, so much the better. If there’s anything solid in the spill (we could be talking animal or human vomit here, as well as foods) remove it right away, using a spoon. Then apply a clean towel or paper towels to the liquid and blot. Make sure you keep blotting on to a dry area of towel. 

Lifted it all? Great. But if there’s a stain, you’ll need our next hack.

2. How to clean stains from your sofa

Check the label of your sofa to make sure you’re not going against the maker’s instructions or your remedy could make things worse. If furniture can be cleaned with water, you can try a weak solution of laundry liquid and apply with a spray bottle. Again blot with a clean cloth, but don’t rub. Use water on a clean cloth to rinse.

Label says water shouldn’t be used? Try vinegar on a cloth to gently blot the stain.

And if your sofa is more stained than either of these remedies can solve? Use a specialist product or method that follows the guidelines given on the sofa’s label. 

3. How to get rid of smells from your sofa

Sofa upholstery tends to take up smells – whether that’s curry, dog, or some other pungent aroma. Our number one for banishing the odours it’s absorbed? Trust in baking soda/bicarbonate of soda. Just sprinkle generously, leave for at least 15 minutes and vacuum up.

4. How to remove pet hair from your sofa

Don a rubber glove and run your hand over the sofa’s upholstery to lift the fur shed by the four legged. You can also try dampening the glove and again running your hand over the furry upholstery. Rinse off your now hairy glove and go again if necessary. This works on stair carpet beautifully, too!

Don't have one yet? We'd recommend you get the best pet vacuum you can afford if your pet's a shedder – the best ones capture hair and allergens, and our top pick has some gems...

5. How to disinfect your sofa

Someone in your house got a cold or, we hate to say it, a virus? You CAN disinfect your sofa of germs – this spray is our favourite buy and you can use it elsewhere, too.

Dettol All-in-One Disinfectant Spray Orchard Blossom | £5.49 at Amazon
Use this disinfectant spray on everything from surfaces to upholstery. We're talking curtains, sofas, cushions, mattresses, and, it's great to use on handles, light switches, remotes and other places you rarely think to disinfect – but really should. It can kill 99.9 per cent of bacteria and it smells nice!View Deal

  • Need a new one? Check out our pick of the best sofas – all at the best prices
  • Or maybe it's one of our pick of the best sofa beds you need? Check these out