While a microfiber couch may be the most comfortable seat in the room, a foul odor emanating from it may make you want to sit far, far away or banish the couch from your home entirely. Cleaners and fabric refreshers containing water are not viable options for microfiber, since many microfiber fabrics are easily stained. Freshen up that funky couch instead with fresh air and odor-absorbing, dry materials such as baking soda.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Even a new microfiber couch emits odors that may be unpleasant or harsh for those with chemical sensitivities. Chemicals used to treat the fabric, or found within the construction of the couch frame, off-gas, or emit noxious odors into the air. If the couch is a recent purchase, remove any plastic coverings and air it out in a protected outdoor area such as a screened-in porch or balcony for several days, if possible. If you're unable to take it outdoors, place it in a well-ventilated room and turn on a ceiling fan, or use box fans to draw fresh air in from one window and stale air out from another on the opposite side of the room. This air-out treatment also helps for older microfiber furniture that smells musty that has been stored in a humid or damp environment. Excessive dampness may cause mold and mildew, along with the musty odor.
The Suction Solution
Some odors are easily remedied by merely vacuuming the microfiber. Hair and dander from pets may make your favorite place to sit smell like a wet dog bed. Vacuum the microfiber thoroughly using the upholstery brush attachment. Remove the cushions, if possible, and vacuum the areas beneath the cushions, as well as the tops, bottoms and sides of each cushion. If the cushions are permanently attached, use a crevice tool to reach between them. Vacuum the sides and back of the furniture as well, since all areas are magnets to stray hair, dust and small debris that may contribute to the odor. If it has been a long time since you've vacuumed the couch or swept beneath it, flip it on its back and vacuum its underside as well.
From Fridge to Furniture
Baking soda deodorizes furniture, much the way it removes foul odors from the refrigerator. Sprinkle baking soda all over the couch, let it sit for an hour or so; then vacuum it away. Remove all cushions and pillows not permanently attached and deodorize each with baking soda, one side at a time. If the couch still smells a bit after the initial treatment, sprinkle it again with baking soda before bed, vacuuming it up the next day.
If the primary reason behind unpleasant couch odor is a pet, ban the pet from joining you on the couch to help keep it smelling fresh, or cover his favorite area with a washable blanket. Wash the blanket every week or two, as needed, to help keep the couch smelling its best. Food and beverage spills may result in sour, unusual odors as well. Prevent mysterious sour smells by keeping all foods and drinks, including snacks, away from the couch. Enforce the rule with others sharing the home -- especially children.
Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.