How to Clean Fabric Sofas: The Best Methods for Different Types of Fabric

How to Clean Fabric Sofas: The Best Methods for Different Types of Fabric

When you have a fabric sofa, you want to make sure that you clean it properly in order to maintain its quality and appearance. Different fabrics require different cleaning methods, so it can be tricky to know how to clean them all.

In this article, we will discuss the best ways to clean different types of fabric sofas. We will also provide some tips on how to prevent dirt and stains from accumulating on your furniture in the first place!

Smooth Velvet

Different fabrics require different cleaning methods. Fine-knit velvets, for example, should be brushed with a soft cloth or vacuumed with an upholstery attachment to remove dust and dirt. If you need to spot-clean a velvet couch, use a mild detergent and water solution. A good rule to go by would be 3/4 warm water and a tablespoon of laundry detergent. Blot the stain with a clean cloth and avoid rubbing, which can damage the fabric.

mid-century modern sofas in austin

This is our Ladybird Sofa in Royale Blush, a fine-knit velvet upholstery.

The Strength of Polyester

Polyester couches are more durable and can be cleaned with a vacuum or mild soap and water solution for a quick clean. Polyester couches can take a beating, but when something is spilled--it's spilled. It's important to make sure you use a white rag or cloth to clean so the color isn't transferred onto your sofa. That would be tragic.

Are polyester sofas good?

This is the Mesa Reversible Chaise Sofa in Elliot Dove.

Our Elliot fabric collection is a Performance chenille that is 100% polyester.

Performance Fabrics

Several of our fabrics at Couch Potatoes are performance fabrics. According to James Gibbons in his article, "What is a Performance Fabric", a performance fabric describes fabrics that are easy to clean and withstand the wear and tear of everyday life. Simple stains should be able to come out with a little water and blotting. Tough stains like coffee, cupcakes, and dirty paws, should be able to come out with some household or upholstery cleaner.

chaise sleeper sofa in austin

This Track Reversible Chaise Queen Sleeper Sofa is in Sugarshack Metal.

Sugarshack is just one of our performance fabrics, and it specializes in being stain-resistant. This makes it great for households with kids and pets!

How to Prevent Stains

There are some general tips you can follow to prevent dirt and stains from accumulating on your fabric sofa in the first place.

  • First, vacuum regularly using the upholstery attachment to remove dust and dirt. Now, you know how to clean your sofa, but vacuuming up the crumbs and dirt is a good first method to avoid ruining your fabric sofa.
  • Second, if you have pets, trim their nails and wipe their paws before they get on the furniture. Or grab a couch in one of our performance fabrics that is stain-resistant and tear-resistant. This does not mean these fabrics are stainproof, and tearproof, but are much more durable than the average couch fabric.
  • Third, use coasters for drinks and avoid eating or drinking on the couch. The worst is when tiny chocolate pieces break off and then are smeared on your sofa, or end up melting. Or, you have a guest over who spills their wine and you have to pretend like everything is okay. We also have an article specifically covering how to get wine stains out of a sofa (if you're curious).
  • Fourth, place a throw blanket or slipcover over the couch to protect it from dirt and stains. Let the blanket take the hit of the attack, at least you can usually fit it in your washing machine.


By following these tips, you can keep your fabric sofa looking its best for years to come! If you have leather furniture and are curious about how to best care for it, check out our other blog article. Thanks for reading!

Couch Potatoes has locations in Central and South Austin, Texas.

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