Have You Cleaned Your Couch Lately? Here's How To Do It Naturally

mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant By Sarah Regan
mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant

Sarah Regan is a writer, registered yoga instructor, and Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Red Midcentury Couch with Pink Throw Pillow in a Studio
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We all know to wash our blankets and vacuum our floors from time to time, but what about cleaning the couches we've been sitting on every day? This piece of furniture could easily be one of the most used but least tended to things in our homes. And that may be because we're unsure how to clean it. So we spoke with Melissa Maker and Becky Rapinchuk, two green cleaning experts, to find out what we can do to keep our couches in tiptop shape (without harsh chemicals)!

How to clean different types of materials.

First things first: Maker and Rapinchuk both recommend giving your couch a good vacuum, regardless of what type of fabric it is, at least once a month to ensure debris isn't piling up. Lots of vacuums come with a brush attachment that's perfect for this. Take all the cushions off and vacuum those, along with the base of your couch that collects all the coins and earrings you've been missing. And don't forget underneath the couch, too.

Then, to tackle any stains, you'll want to use water or a specialty product depending on the material of your couch. Be sure to check its cleaning label before getting started so you don't end up doing more harm than good:

  • If you've got a leather couch, run a lightly dampened microfiber cloth over any stains. Only do this as needed since leather can be finicky. You can use a leather cleaner or conditioner if water doesn't do the trick, but always check the manufacturer's guidelines before doing so.
  • Some fabric couches (made using polyester, cotton, etc.) shouldn't be cleaned with water, so again be sure to check the manufacturer's guidelines. If you can use water, a lightly dampened microfiber cloth works here as well. If not, you'll need a special microfiber cleaning product. Rapinchuk adds you can also lightly mist rubbing alcohol over your microfiber couch and scrub with the rougher side of a sponge, working in small sections. Then, let the alcohol dry and fluff the fibers back up with a bristle brush to restore the look of your couch.
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How to tackle caked-on stains.

For most fabrics, Maker notes you can start treating deeper stains by scraping up any caked-on bits with a cloth that's damp with water or a stain remover (that works with your material, of course). Be careful not to use too much stain remover, as it will wind up leaving a soap ring. Think about what a tissue feels like when you sneeze into it: That's what "damp" means here.

From there, Rubinchek recommends Castile soap. "It's similar to a dish soap, but it's natural, typically. It's vegetable- or hemp-based, not petroleum-based," she says. "If you have a natural dish soap, you could use that too." Since Castile soap is so concentrated, you'll want to put a small dot on your stain and then give it a good scrub with a sponge or white cloth (so no color gets transferred to the couch).

See? Cleaning your couch doesn't have to be so daunting after all. With a little vacuuming, a wipe down here and there, and a good spot clean as needed, your couch can stay looking great.

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