How to Clean a Couch That Smells





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Ah, the comfy couch. It’s the heart and soul of any living room – a place where we unwind, binge-watch our favorite shows, and maybe even take an occasional nap or two. But when that once inviting smell starts to turn sour, it’s time to take matters into our own hands!
First things first, let’s assess the situation. Is the odor coming from the couch itself, or is it just the cushions? If it’s the cushions, you’re in luck – they’re usually removable! Take those puppies off and give them a good shake to get rid of any loose dirt and debris.
Now, let’s tackle the main culprit. Grab a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment, and gently vacuum the whole surface of the couch. Pay close attention to any crevices or seams where dirt and odor might be lurking.
Once you’ve finished vacuuming, it’s time to kick things up a notch. Create a cleaning solution by mixing equal parts of warm water and dish soap. Dip a clean cloth into the solution and wring out any excess liquid. Gently scrub the surface of the couch using circular motions, focusing on any areas with stains or built-up grime.
After the scrubbing, it’s important to remove any soapy residue. Dampen a fresh cloth with clean water and wipe down the entire couch. Make sure to wring out the cloth well, as you want to avoid oversaturating the fabric.


  • Use baking soda to absorb odors.
  • Vacuum the couch thoroughly to remove dirt and debris.
  • Spot clean stains using a mild detergent or upholstery cleaner.
  • Use a fabric freshener spray to eliminate odors.
  • Allow the couch to air dry completely.


  • Don’t use bleach or harsh chemicals on the couch.
  • Avoid scrubbing the couch vigorously, as it may damage the fabric.
  • Don’t use excessive moisture when cleaning, as it may lead to mold or mildew growth.
  • Avoid placing the couch in direct sunlight, as it may cause fading or discoloration.
  • Don’t use abrasive materials or brushes that can cause damage to the fabric.

Step 1

Pre-treat any stains or spots: Before cleaning the entire couch, take care of any visible stains or spots. Use a suitable stain remover or a homemade solution like vinegar and water to treat the affected areas. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before moving on to the next step.

Step 2

Vacuum the couch: Use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to thoroughly vacuum the entire couch. Pay special attention to crevices, corners, and areas where pet hair or dust might accumulate. This step will help remove loose dirt, hair, and debris.

Step 3

Clean with a suitable cleaner: Depending on the fabric of your couch, choose an appropriate cleaner. You can use a commercial upholstery cleaner or make a solution with mild soap and water. Test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area of the couch first to ensure it doesn’t cause any discoloration or damage. Follow the instructions on the cleaner and use a clean cloth or sponge to gently scrub the entire couch.

Step 4

Remove excess moisture: After cleaning, use a clean cloth or towel to gently blot and remove excess moisture from the couch. Avoid rubbing the fabric vigorously as it can cause damage. Allow the couch to air dry completely before using it again.

Step 5

Use a fabric freshener: To eliminate any lingering odors, spray a fabric freshener or use a natural odor absorber like baking soda on the couch. Allow it to sit for a while before vacuuming it off. This will leave your couch smelling fresh and clean.

Final thoughts 💭

To clean a couch that smells, it is important to first identify the source of the odor. Once identified, follow the appropriate cleaning method based on the couch’s material. For fabric couches, vacuuming, spot cleaning with a mixture of water and mild detergent, and using baking soda to absorb odors can be effective. For leather or faux leather couches, wiping with a leather cleaner or a solution of water and vinegar can help remove smells. Regularly airing out the couch and using odor neutralizing sprays can also keep the couch smelling fresh. Remember to always check the manufacturer’s instructions before attempting any cleaning methods. By following these steps, you can eliminate unpleasant smells and enjoy a clean and fresh-smelling couch in your home.

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