Our couch sees a lot of action. We sit on it, lay on it, spill food on it, and sometimes our cat throws up on it. It's kind of disgusting when I think about it.

I've been turning away from retail cleaning products for a few years now. I don't like the smells they leave behind or the fact that I don't understand what all the words mean on the ingredients labels. I prefer to know what's going into my house and the air I breathe. Also, I don't like how expensive those store-bought products are. I'd much rather make my own, safe, healthy DIY couch cleaner for a fraction of the cost at home.

If you'd like to do the same, it's important to be aware that you may need to use a different couch cleaner for different upholsteries (this is true whether you use a DIY couch cleaner or a product from the store). But don't worry. This article will walk you through how to clean your couch, along with the best DIY couch cleaners to remove stains on different upholsteries.

A man sleeps on the couch after spilling popcorn everywhere.
Rommel Canlas/Shutterstock


You probably vacuum your floors on a regular basis, but when is the last time you used a vacuum on your couch? The upholstery in your couch is just as likely to collect dust, dirt, hair, as your carpet, so it's important to vacuum it periodically.

If you use a heavy, upright vacuum on your floors it will probably be too heavy and unwieldy to use to clean your couch as well. This is one of those cases where you'll want to break out your hose attachments, or you can use a handheld mini vacuum. I use a mini vacuum myself because I'm lazy and I think it's a little quicker and easier than messing with attachments.

When you're vacuuming your couch, be sure to remove the cushions so you can vacuum them from all sides and get the all of the crumbs and debris from underneath. You may even get lucky and find some loose change down there.

Don't forget to vacuum the top and arms of your couch, also. These flat surfaces are the areas most likely to collect dust.

A cat lays on a white couch.

2. Clean The Feet And Trim

If your couch has feet or trim pieces made of wood or metal, you'll want to clean those separately. In most cases, a microfiber cloth dampened with a little bit of water will suffice. If you want to give it a deeper clean, mix a drop of gentle dish soap with your water. Be sure to use only a tiny amount so it doesn't leave a sticky residue behind.

3. Remove Stains

If you use your couch as often as we do, chances are you eat and drink on it. And that means it's probably subjected to spills from everything from soup to red wine. You need an effective couch cleaner to remove stains.

It's easy to make your own DIY couch cleaner at home. They work just as well as retail products and over the course of the year, they'll end up saving you a significant amount of money. Here are our recommendations for the best DIY couch cleaners for different upholsteries.

Important: Before you start cleaning your couch, it's important to read your manufacturer's guidelines to make sure that the products and methods you use are in keeping with their specifications and warranties.

If you no longer have the manufacturer's paperwork available, there may be a cleaning tag attached somewhere to the couch (these are often attached under the cushions on the platform). Cleaning tags often use codes:

  • W - Water or Water-based couch cleaners only
  • S - Solvent-based cleaner only
  • W/S - EIther Water or solvent-based couch cleaners
  • X - vacuum only

The S-only code is fairly rare and generally found only on high-end pieces of furniture. It is basically the same as a Dry Clean Only tag on a suit. If you are fortunate enough to own such couch, I suggest hiring a professional to clean it and protect your investment.

A man sits on a couch reading a magazine.

DIY Fabric Couch Cleaner

Fabric couches add a stylish touch to any room. They're available in an array of different colors and patterns. But fabric upholsteries are also among the most difficult to keep clean. It's important to treat stains immediately on a fabric couch, just like you would on carpet or clothing.

It's easy to make your own water-based DIY fabric couch cleaner to keep your furniture looking its best.

  • Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup white distilled vinegar
  • ¾ water
  • 1 tablespoon dish soap

Tip: Before you use any couch cleaner, test a small part of the fabric where it won't be seen (such as underneath the cushions or platform itself).

A little boy smiles as he jumps on a couch.

DIY Leather Couch Cleaner

I love the feel of good quality leather. It's soft, supple, and cool to the touch. Leather couches quite simply feel good to sit on. Plus, they're beautiful. But many leather couches require a little TLC on occasion to maintain that gorgeous look over the course of time.

If you research DIY leather couch cleaners, you'll find a great many folks recommending solutions including olive oil. Do not take their advice. Although olive oil will soften the leather on your couch initially, it will cause ugly, dark spots over the course of time. Also, the oil can transfer to your clothing and might be impossible to remove if you're wearing silk or similarly delicate fabrics. Lastly, you risk the smell of the olive oil turning stagnant, which isn't an inviting aroma when you're trying to relax on your couch. Avoid coconut oil for these same reasons.

  • Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup white distilled vinegar
  • ¾ cup water

Shake well in a spray bottle and spot clean where stains appear. Be sure to spray a small spot on a test area first, just as you would with a fabric couch cleaner.

Pavel Yavnik/Shutterstock

4. Steam Clean

If you have a fabric couch with an S or W/S code, you may be able to clean it with a steam cleaner. To be sure, you'll want to check your manufacturer's instructions. Although these codes mean you can safely use water, heat can cause some fabrics to deteriorate.

Once, you verify that you can use a steam cleaner on your fabric sofa, you'll want to check the settings and guidelines for your specific steam cleaner. These are different from unit to unit so proceed as instructed. Before you get started, make sure you vacuum your couch to achieve the best results.

You spend a great deal of time on your couch. Probably more than anywhere else in your house with the exception of your bed. If you're like me, you feel better about it now that you know how to keep it clean. So, prop up your feet and pop some popcorn. Your clean couch is calling.

Easy, Expert Upgrades For The Things That Bother You The Most About Your Home Easy, Expert Upgrades For The Things That Bother You The Most About Your Home
We Tried Goli's New Ashwagandha Gummies We Tried Goli's New Ashwagandha Gummies
Is Capital One Shopping Too Good to Be True? Is Capital One Shopping Too Good to Be True?