The Difficulties With Cleaning All Types Of Sofas

March 27, 2023

A good couch might last anywhere from 7 to 15 years on average and may cost a few hundred dollars up to a few thousand. Of course, how well your furniture lasts will depend on how you treat it.

Manufacturers typically offer warranties for furniture including couches. These might last a year, or longer for a quality sofa. Furniture warranties cover any faults that stem from the manufacturer such as sub-standard production processes. But, warranties can be voided.

FindLaw states that any warranty can be voided if the product is misused or has seen a lack of proper maintenance. In the case of a sofa, this can mean incorrect cleaning and care. Before you make that stain worse, you may want to read the article below. 

Can you clean your couch or sofa yourself?

Some 46% of respondents to one study said that they cleaned their own homes all the time. Other respondents admitted using cleaning services regularly, or once every few months for a deep clean. 

Many people today are simply too short on time to clean every aspect of their homes, so they use professional cleaners instead. Using sofa cleaning services means your warranty will be unaffected and your furniture will be cleaned professionally.

Yet, there is no reason why you cannot clean your own sofa, as long as you understand the materials you are cleaning.

What difficulties do different fibers present?

Sofas and armchairs come in a variety of materials, and they may be colored and dyed, and patterned. Different materials and color treatments require careful cleaning according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. This is where things can get tricky and simple stains can become a bigger problem. 

One of the major tips for buying a new sofa is selecting the right material, as each material requires its own way of cleaning. Common materials for couches include both natural fibers and synthetics and some are easier to clean than others. 

Some of the most common materials for sofas and couches

Natural materials used in furniture coverings include cotton, wool, silk, linen, and leather. Plus, synthetics such as microfiber blends along with nylon, and polyester. 

Here is some advice on cleaning some of the more common sofa coverings, and what to avoid doing. 


This material belongs in both the natural and synthetic sections as leather can be genuine or fake. Faux leather might be a good choice if you want something environmentally friendly, but genuine leather is more durable. 

However, when it comes to cleaning, faux leather won’t stain as the genuine article will, and it is easier to clean.

Genuine leather couches need professional cleaning services to keep them in the best condition. They stain easily and need conditioning. 

Cleaning a faux leather sofa though is as simple as taking some soapy water and a damp cloth and wiping it down. Avoid harsh cleaning products and bleach, and don’t use any abrasive cloths. 


After taking advice from The Happy House Cleaning it is clear that no water should be used to clean a suede sofa. Suede is very sensitive to water and only a damp cloth should be used to wipe off dirt and dust. 

Suede couches should never be shampooed or steam cleaned either. This material absorbs odors and dirt, and this makes it one of the hardest types of sofa to keep clean. 


This is one of the hardest materials to clean when used as a furniture covering. Wool sheds, and can also be harmed by dirt and debris if not cleaned regularly. Dirt is abrasive to the fibers in wool sofas, and spills must be cleaned immediately to avoid staining. 

Wool is very durable, and makes an attractive covering for sofas. But, wool is difficult to clean and keep in good condition. 


Increasingly popular, microfiber can give the appearance of suede to a degree but without the cost. Microfibers are one hundred times finer than human hair and can be a blend of fibers including nylon and polyester. 

The downside to microfiber sofas is that the material can stain easily and it absorbs liquids. However, microfiber is extremely easy to clean, and the worst stains can be removed without great difficulty. A simple home cleaning solution of baking soda, water, and vinegar, is enough to clean a microfiber couch. 

Synthetic materials

Other synthetic materials used in sofa coverings include acrylics, vinyl, olefin plus nylon, and polyester. 

Synthetics and microfibers are popular furniture covering materials because they are durable, and don’t wrinkle easily. These materials tend to bounce back or recover their natural state and therefore last longer. 

They are also easier to clean. Synthetics are usually non-porous, so liquids won’t be absorbed meaning they are stain-resistant and easy to wipe down. 

Things to avoid when cleaning any sofa

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines before cleaning any of your furniture. This should give you the exact cleaning methods you need to use. Avoid using abrasive materials and hard brushes on materials such as wool and leather, and don’t use bleach or harsh chemicals. 

When cleaning your sofa follow these general rules:

  • Abrasive cloths and brushes
  • Ensure you carry out a spot-test
  • Use the right products
  • Don’t scrub too hard
  • Avoid soaking the material

Carrying out a little patch test when cleaning will help you to avoid damaging the material or coloring. Using excess water and scrubbing too hard will likely only cause further damage and staining. 


You will almost certainly be able to clean your sofa by yourself, but make sure you’re using the right products and not turning a small stain into an unsightly mess. 

The general rule is to follow the instructions that come with your sofa, and if you are unsure then find a professional furniture cleaner. If you want your sofa to last a dozen years or more then it will need care and cleaning.

Emiy Watson

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