How To Shampoo Couches In 4 Simple Steps? (Shampoo Alternatives)

Woman cleaning a couch

Our couches take in as much wear and tear as our carpets do.

Yet, we’ve all had our carpets shampooed, but how about couches?

Can You Shampoo Couches?

Yes, you can shampoo couches. However, it mainly depends on the type of upholstery fabric. So make sure to check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer first. You will then have to pick detergents based on the fabric type.

Now that you’re ready to start, read our step-by-step guide to cleaning your couch. Let’s get cleaning!

How To Shampoo Your Couch?

Step 1: Read Your Couch’s Care Instructions

First things first, find what the manufacturer has to say about cleaning your couch.

Usually, the care instructions are hidden underneath your cozy couch’s cushions.

Look up the manufacturer’s online instructions if the care label is nowhere on the couch.

You may also try to remember where you stored the printed instructions that came with the couch.

Here’s a quick guide to help you decode the care instructions once you finally find them.

First, look for capitalized letters X, W, S, or W/S, which are codes for the following:

  • X: it means you can only vacuum or brush the couch’s fabric. Keep things dry; no detergents are allowed here whatsoever.
  • W: it refers to water-based cleaning solutions or foam.
  • S: this means you can clean with solvent-based solutions.
  • W/S: it means you can use either water-based or solvent-based solutions.

Step 2: Determine The Type of Fabric

Here, you need to find out about the upholstery fabric used for your couch.

Microfiber Couches

Microfiber might seem deceptively challenging to clean.

However, it’s a synthetic fabric admired for its softness and affordability.

On top of that, it’s durable and easy to clean, making it one of the most common upholstery fabrics.

Luckily, you can safely shampoo your microfiber couches.

For a quick fix, you can use some diluted soapy water and a damp towel.

That’s why experts feel safe using microfiber couches in high-traffic areas.

Leather Couches

Leather is your go-to fabric to add both classic luxury and aesthetic pleasure to any room.

Furthermore, the looks of leather don’t compromise on its cleaning practicality.

However, you can’t shampoo leather couches like their microfiber counterparts.

Although you can’t even wet them with water, you can wipe them with diluted dish soap to remove stains and debris.

You can also find various types of soap specifically made for leather called “saddle soaps.”

Vinyl Couches

When it comes to ease of cleaning, vinyl is one of the most practical fabrics.

Additionally, it has impressive bacteria-resistant properties, making it one of the best options for heavily used couches.

Similar to leather, you can’t shampoo vinyl couches. Still, you can wipe vinyl upholstery with diluted soap.

You can also use a soft-bristled brush to scrub persistent grime.

Velvet Couches

A velvet couch will set you on the way to royal luxury.

Yet, the truth is, velvet is infamous for bringing luxury at the expense of maintenance.

Yet, it mainly depends on the fibers used in making the fabric.

Luckily, you can shampoo synthetic velvet couches or even steam-clean them.

On the other hand, the dirt on cotton velvet couches tends to seep in, so you’ll need to enlist the help of a professional dry cleaner.

However, if you own a contract-grade velvet couch, this means it’s been treated to repel stains and dirt.

If this is the case, you can easily wipe with diluted soapy water and instantly dry the couch with a cloth.

Step 3: Shampoo Your Couch

Now that you know about shampoo-friendly couch fabrics, let’s discuss the shampooing steps.

First: Dust Or Vacuum Your Couch

Woman vacuuming a couch

The first step is to remove loose debris, such as dirt, lint, food crumbs, and pet hair.

We recommend you vacuum the couch after connecting a dedicated upholstery attachment.

Make sure to thoroughly clean between the narrow gaps in the corners of the couch.

Otherwise, the dirt will sink further into the couch fabric, which will require professional cleaning.

Second: Spot Clean Fabric Stains

Apply a dedicated upholstery stain remover on stubborn stains.

Then, wait a few moments before wiping the spot with a clean damp cloth.

If it’s your first time using a stain remover, try it on a hidden part of the couch.

After drying, check the spot for any fading or color change.

If everything appears to be okay, proceed with the rest of the couch fabric.

Third: Shampoo The Couch With A Detergent

If you don’t own a portable upholstery cleaner, you can use our recommended DIY shampooing method.

First, spray the fabric with water until it’s damp, and apply diluted soap to the material.

Next, wipe the couch with a clean cotton cloth.

Keep in mind that you should replace the cloth as soon as it gets covered with dirt.

Otherwise, you’ll just be bringing the dirt back into the fabric.

So, make sure you have 3–4 clean cloth pieces on hand.

After that, spray some sparkling water to bring the dirt and stain remover to the surface.

Finally, add a few drops of vinegar to break down detergent residues and eliminate any lingering odors.

Finally, lightly scrub the fabric to remove any leftover grime or residue.

Fourth: Air Dry The Couch And Vacuum Again

Let your couch dry overnight.

To speed up the drying process, you can press clean towels or napkins on the surface.

You can also open the windows or use fans to boost airflow.

If you’ve scrubbed the couch, the fabric will likely show some lint after drying.

In this case, it’s best to use a close-cut shaver or a dedicated lint roller to remove the loose fibers.

Finally, vacuum the couch again to remove any remaining debris.

Alternatives To Shampooing Couches

If you’re a regular furniture cleaner, pat yourself on the back.

You’ll be happy to know that all your hard work is paying off in spades.

Research shows that regular couch cleaning removes allergens, improves its appearance, and makes it last longer.

Of course, the best option is shampooing.

It’s proven to be more effective than other cleaning methods in removing food and pet odors and restoring fabric color.

However, it’s the only way to keep your couch clean.

So, here are some quick and easy shampooing alternatives to keep your couch spotless year-round.

Wash The Removable Couch Covers

Some manufacturers are practical and offer removable couch covers.

If your couch comes with this option, all you have to do is remove the covers and wash them separately with a mild detergent.

Leave to air dry and vacuum the couch base before replacing the covers.

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is one of the most popular alternatives to shampooing your couch.

Some even prefer it over other cleaning methods because it can remove difficult stains and grime from deep in the couch.

Additionally, steam cleaning effectively kills microbes and dust mites that commonly populate upholstered furniture.

As a result, odors and allergens are reduced, which improves air quality.

Dry Baking Soda Cleaning

Using baking soda to clean the couch is 100% water-free.

It’s low-maintenance and does an excellent job of brightening the fabric and removing odors.

Simply sprinkle baking soda and let it work into the fabric with a soft-bristled brush.

Let it sit for an hour at least or overnight for best results.

Finally, vacuum the dried bits of powder off the couch, along with the dirt and grime.

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