Things You'll Need
Liquid dish detergent
White rag or paper towels
Water-based upholstery cleaner
Extractor (typically used for carpet cleaning) with upholstery attachment
Some upholstered furniture is labeled with a cleaning code that indicates the proper cleaning method for that particular fabric. This information may appear on fabric samples, on a label under a cushion or on a hand tag. Based on tests done at the mill on the stability of the dye used to color the fabric, the code – W, S, W/S or X – offers a guideline to follow when attempting to remove stains and/or completely clean upholstered furniture like sofas.
Determine that your sofa has been labeled with the cleaning code W for Water. Check under the cushions for a tag with this information. You may have to call the manufacturer (online or via phone) if you cannot find the cleaning code.
Spot-clean W-coded sofa fabric with the foam of a water-based cleaning agent.
Dissolve a teaspoon of mild liquid dish detergent per one cup of water; agitate until suds form.
Dab the suds onto the stain with a white rag or paper towel and blot. Dampen the area with a clean, damp rag to pick up remaining soapy residue. DO NOT OVERWET.
Use a water-based store-bought upholstery cleaner if the above method does not remove the stain to your satisfaction. Follow the manufacturer's directions and test the cleaner in an inconspicuous area on your sofa before tackling the stain.
Clean your entire sofa with an extractor by following the manufacturer's instructions. In general, use the upholstery attachment that comes with the extractor and move it back and forth on the upholstery, releasing the cleaning solution while pulling back and drying the same section while pushing forward. Focus on one area at a time and make sure your strokes overlap. However, DO NOT OVERWET the fabric.
Gail began writing professionally in 2004. Now a full-time proofreader, she has written marketing material for an IT consulting company, edited auditing standards for CPAs and ghostwritten the first draft of a nonfiction Amazon bestseller. Gail holds a Master of Arts in English literature and has taught college-level business communication, composition and American literature.