How to Clean a Cotton Sofa

Melynda Sorrels

Both soft and comfortable, your cotton sofa is the perfect addition to your living room. Perhaps it’s so comfortable that your family spends considerable time on it. That being the case, it’s important not just for aesthetic reasons, but sanitary reasons as well to keep it as clean as possible.

It's important to keep your sofa clean for your family and your pets.

Over time your cotton sofa may begin to look a bit dingy as dust settles in and dirt tracked in from kids and pets works its way in between the fibers. If your sofa is due for a good cleaning it takes a small time investment and a few household materials to get it looking brand new once again.

  1. Remove the couch cushions and vacuum the entire sofa with the brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner to remove dust, pet hair and dirt. Vacuum over the cushions as well.

  2. Remove the cushion covers from the foam inside and machine wash them with warm water and a bleach-free detergent. If you have pet odors from cats and dogs sleeping on the sofa, add 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle to help eliminate them. Machine dry the covers with a scented dryer sheet or hang them out to dry in the sunshine.

  3. Add 2 tbsp. of a bleach-free dish or laundry detergent into 1 qt. of warm water and mix it up with an electric mixer to create lots of bubbles.

  4. Dip a soft clean cloth or sponge into the suds and wipe down the upholstered surface with it.

  5. Dip a second cloth in warm water and wring it out well to wipe down the upholstery and remove any residual soap.

  6. Spot treat stubborn stains with a clean cloth dipped in white vinegar.

  7. Place a fan nearby to help the sofa to dry quickly.

  8. Reassemble the cushions and place them back on the sofa once it is completely dry.

  9. Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the sofa and leave it there overnight if you are dealing with odors. Vacuum it up in the morning.

  10. Tip

    If you opt to use a commercial cleaning product or a steam cleaner read and follow all manufacturers’ instructions carefully.