Written by Grove Collaborative

Clean your couch and remove stains in 3 easy steps.

Last Updated: March 29, 2021

Love seat looking less-than-lovely? Here’s the right way to clean and maintain your couches and upholstery.

Home is where the heart is, but really, that favorite spot on the couch is actually the keeper of your heart. The one where the cushion is a bit worn out and your pet’s hair is probably everywhere. You know the one.

Everyone loves a good, relaxing lounge on the couch. Whether that’s movie night with the kids, snuggle time with the pet, or a well-deserved nap after a long day, a good couch supports you through thick and thin.

But as a constant standby and constant supporter, couches inevitably get dirty and worn down. From food crumbs to sweat, from cat hair to wine stains, the couch takes more of a beating than most furniture. But, with proper cleaners, a few considerate cleaning tips, and a bit of patience, you can get your couch looking brand new again.

What is Grove Collaborative?

At Grove, we take the guesswork out of which products are good for you and your home. Every product meets strict standards for being nontoxic, effective, sustainable, and cruelty-free. Once you find products you love, we ship to your home on a flexible, monthly schedule.

Looking for more cleaning how-tos and other sustainable swaps you can make at home? Grove has you covered with our buying and cleaning guides. And let us know how if you have any cleaning questions (or share your own tips using #grovehome) by following Grove Collaborative on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you're ready to make the transition to natural cleaning products, shop Grove Collaborative's cleaning essentials or natural beauty products to start shopping healthier products for you and the environment.

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What can I use to clean my couch?

Cleaning products for fabric couches, explained

The first and most important step in cleaning your couch is finding its care tag. These are usually underneath the cushions or on the underside of the couch itself. The care tag will tell you more about what your couch is made of and how best to care for it. You’ll also find a few different codes or symbols:

W: Water based cleaner

“W” means that you can safely use water and water-based cleaners to clean your couch.

S/W: Solvents and water based cleaners

“S/W” means you can use solvents and water-based cleaners to clean your couch. Solvents include products like mild detergent.

S: Solvents

“S” means you can safely use solvents, and only solvents, to clean your couch. This includes dry solvent cleaners that do not use water.

X: Vacuum only

“X” means you cannot use traditional cleaners of any kind — stick to vacuuming it or the call the professionals.

How to deep clean your couch in 3 steps

Whether it's an old hand-me-down or a newly broken-in piece, deep cleaning your couch is crucial to keeping it clean, comfy, and beautiful. First, try this all-natural deep-cleaning process, and if your couch needs more help, move on to our quick tips for stain-removal in the following section.

Step 1: Vacuum

Before you start vacumming, try a lint brush on your couch to loosen debris. Then, using an upholstery or soft brush attachment, vacuum the entire couch. Remove the cushions, if you can, and get into the crevices where crumbs and hair tend to hide.

Step 2: Wipe down

Use a slightly damp Microfiber cloth to wipe down the non fabric-upholstered sections of the couch — like the legs, the supports, and the couch itself, if it’s the right material — to remove dust and reduce germs.

Step 3: Deodorize

When it comes to odors, baking soda is your best friend. Sprinkle it over the entirety of your fabric-upholstered couch, let it sit for a half hour, then vacuum thoroughly. The odors will disappear along with the baking soda!


Couch cleaning time saver

You can deodorize with Step 1 above to save time, especially if your couch doesn’t have too much debris to clean up.

Or, save time, by leveling up your deodorizing and using a fabric and room spray like Caldrea's linen and room spray for an all-over odor remover for the entire room.

How to get stains out of a couch: step-by-step guide

The most important part of keeping your couch beautiful and comfy is treating stains as soon as they occur, if possible, and using the right tools and treatments.

Step 1: Check the code

As bad as couch stains are, improperly cleaning them may lead to damage that’ll look much worse. Check your couch’s cleaning code and care instructions before using any type of cleaner.

Step 2: Vacuum

Vacuum thoroughly with an upholstery brush to remove dust, dirt, hair, and other debris.

Step 3: Apply remover to the stain

  • If your couch can handle water- and solvent-based cleaners ("S/W"), make a paste with equal parts baking soda and cool water, and apply it to the stain with a soft cloth. Let it sit for 20 minutes, then vacuum and pat dry. Or use a pre-made stain remover like Grove's Carpet & Upholstery Stain Remover.
  • If your couch’s cleaning code is “S”, use a specialized waterless solvent cleaner.
  • Let the spot dry completely before using the couch.
Shop Stain Removers


How often should you clean your couch?

Like most cleaning conundrums, this has to do with how often you (or other people/pets) are using your couch. You can probably get away with cleaning your couch through vacuuming and deodorizing once a month. If you have shedding pets, once a week is better. When it comes to deep-cleaning and dry-cleaning, once or twice a year is more reasonable.

When should you get professional couch cleaning?

When all is said and done, if your couch requires extra special care — or if it's just really, really dirty — professional couch cleaning is a good option to consider.

Is professional couch cleaning worth it?

Professional couch cleaning, while pricey compared to, you know, baking soda, has a lot to offer. For one, the professionals have all the right tools and cleaners for every type of couch, ensuring a deep clean that’ll remove all dust, dirt, oils, bacteria, and stains without worry of potentially damaging mishaps.

How much does it cost to get a couch cleaned?

Professional couch cleaning can cost anywhere from $100–$300, depending on your location, the company, the service, and the type of couch needing cleaning.

Looking for more couch-cleaning products?

Ready to tackle the dirtiest spots in your home? Grove Collaborative has you covered with Clean Team. Here, we do a deep dive into how to clean a different place or item in your home. No spot is too small — and we’ll tell you how to conquer them all, naturally.

Read more Clean Team Guides

Read about more natural cleaning tips

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