From pet smells and body odor to cooking smells and odorous spills, your couch can pick up lots of funk. A stinky couch isn't the ideal place to spend much time. Learn how to deodorize your smelly couch so you don't want to gag every time you curl up with a good book or binge-watch your favorite show.
How to Get Smells Out of Couches
1. Air It Out
You probably don't want to haul your entire sofa onto the lawn, but you can take detachable couch cushions outdoors to get rid of odors. The fresh air can help disperse some of the odor. Sunlight can also kill some of the bacteria that cause odors. Choose a sunny spot on a rain-free, low-wind day and leave the cushions outdoors for an hour or two.
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2. Tackle Problem Areas
Figuring out the source of the smell can help you eliminate it. If the problem is a spill or stain, such as a pet accident or a food spill, focusing on that area can get rid of the odor.
Upholstery cleaner can help remove the offending stain. You can use a general upholstery cleaner or a problem-specific product, such as a pet odor and stain remover, depending on the situation.
The type of cleaner you choose can also depend on the upholstery, which should include a cleaning code on the tag. For instance, type W fabric can be cleaned with water-based products. Type S fabric can be cleaned with solvents that don't contain water, type W/S can be cleaned with either, and type X fabric should only be vacuumed.
3. Deodorize With Baking Soda
For general deodorizing, baking soda is a safe option for fabric couches. Sprinkle the baking soda over all surfaces of the couch and wait 10 minutes or longer to let it soak up the odors. Vacuum up the baking soda using an upholstery attachment to remove the powder and the smells. You can repeat this sofa cleaning method regularly to keep odors at bay.
4. Wash What You Can
Some sofas have removable cushion covers that are machine washable. If yours fit this description, remove the covers and wash them according to the instructions. Toss your throw pillows and blankets in the wash too — they can also absorb odors and make the seating area smell.
If you can't remove the covers, you can shampoo your sofa as long as the cleaning code is either W or W/S. Vacuum the sofa before shampooing it to get rid of crumbs and dirt. Follow the instructions for your machine to protect your sofa and get it cleaned thoroughly.
An upholstery cleaner typically uses shampoo solution and heated water to remove stains, gunk, and odors from the upholstery. It usually involves spraying the water and cleaning solution onto the couch, scrubbing where necessary and sucking up the dirty water into a separate tank within the machine.
5. Use Activated Charcoal
For lingering couch odor problems, activated charcoal pouches can help. Activated charcoal can absorb odors like baking soda does, but you don't want to sprinkle it directly on the sofa since it can stain. Instead, place the pouches between cushions or under your sofa.