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How to Clean a Couch
Tuesday, 12 June 2018 | Mike Leano
Unless you clean your couch frequently, it's probably the dirtiest piece of furniture in your home. The couch is where you often prop up your bare feet and eat some chips while watching the telly. And guess what? All those crumbs, dirt and skin cells don't just disappear. They accumulate in the farthest corners of the sofa. If the fabric is furry, the grime clings to it more easily.
With this filth comes dust mites and bacteria, which can cause allergies and other skin conditions. So don't let this oft-used furniture stay dirty for long. Here are a few tips on how to clean your couch.
Wipe it down
The first step is to wipe your couch with a clean, dry brush or cloth to remove the dirt, crumbs, lint, pet hair and various grime. A brush, in particular, can loosen persistent dirt on the fabric.
Clean the non-fabric parts
Don't limit your efforts to only the fabric-covered areas; your couch likely has exposed metal and/or wood parts which also require cleaning. To care for the wood surfaces, wipe them with a solution that combines warm water and oil-based soap.
As for metal parts, you can simply use mild soap and water.
Remove the rest of the loose grime with a thorough vacuuming. See to it that you also reach into gaps and corners where all manner of dirt gather. But keep the vacuum cleaner close by as you may need it again later to remove any remaining grunge.
Identify the material
Couches use different fabrics for its upholstery. To properly clean yours, you'll need to know what material covers your couch. You wouldn't want to apply a cleaning agent that damages the surface!
So look for the tag on the couch. It has the necessary instructions on how to clean your couch's fabric. Here are the codes usually found there:
- W: You can clean it with water or water-based detergents.
- S: Use water-free, solvent based cleaners only.
- WS: You can use water or solvent-based cleaners
- X: Cannot be cleaned with water. Fabric is vacuum-only.
Blow some steam
If your couch can be cleaned by water, then you can use steam to remove marks, loosen stains, as well as kill bacteria, germs and dust mites. Here's an easy way to do it: if your clothes iron comes with a steamer, you can use it to clean your couch. A carpet steam cleaner should work as well.
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Test the cleaning product beforehand
Even if you're using the suitable cleaner specified in the tag, make sure you test it out first on a small concealed area (like the back of the couch facing the wall) to avoid damaging the upholstery.
Deal with spills immediately
If your couch gets spilled on, clean it in 15 minutes to avoid staining. Start by gently blotting the spill with a clean damp cloth - provided it's suitable for the fabric. But don't rub the affected area, this will just spread and set the stain. Instead, work from the edges towards the centre.
Natural materials also work
You can also use natural, eco-friendly materials to clean your couch. Some may even work better than commercial cleansers. Here are a couple of tricks you can use:
- Sprinkle baking soda on the affected area, then let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Afterwards, vacuum the powder off.
- If your leather or vinyl couch gets a grease stain, sprinkle corn starch on the affected area then let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Vacuum the powder off after.
Let it dry
If there's any excess water on the couch, soak it up with a towel to avoid mildew, then let the furniture dry naturally. You can also direct an electric fan at the towel for faster results.
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