How to Clean Fabric Sofa Naturally Without Water at Home

Our couches are probably the second most comfortable piece of furniture in our home. That is why it will see a lot of use.

And with extensive use, it is going to get dirty. But the thing is, it is not possible to take off the cover that easily. So, washing with water is not an option all the time.

How to Clean Fabric Sofa Naturally

However, if you know how to clean fabric sofas naturally without water at home, you really do not have to consider that as an option.

In fact, this method is highly effective in cleaning out bacteria and stains, which the water cleaning method sometimes cannot deliver.

Nonetheless, without knowing the process correctly, you will not be able to enjoy all the benefits that it offers. Well, that is where this guide steps in!

How to Clean Fabric Sofa Naturally at Home Without Water

You will find plenty of guides on the internet regarding how to clean a sofa fabric naturally without water.

But most will make the process seem like a tedious thing to carry out, which it is not! Do not trust us? You will, after going through this segment.

How to Prepare the Sofa for Cleaning

The first thing that you need to learn is the process of preparing the sofa. You cannot just jump into the cleaning process without preparing the couch properly because you will risk damaging the fabric.

First, you need to check the instructions provided by the manufacturer. That will answer a lot of the questions that you might have on your mind at the moment.

The instructions will have different labels that will state the suitable cleaning method for the sofa. But what do the labels mean?


If you find the mark “W” in the cleaning instructions, it means that the couch can be cleaned with water.

However, as I have mentioned, this method is pretty tedious and will require you to remove the entire cover. So, I’m not going to focus on this cleaning process that much.


The mark “WS” means that the couch can be cleaned using solvent-based cleaners. This mark also means that it is possible to clean the sofa using a little bit of water.

However, some of the couches might only have the “S” mark in the instruction. That means that you cannot use any water at all.

Alongside that, the usual solvent-based cleaners are not going to work either. Instead, you need to invest in high-quality solvent-based cleaners that are strictly for couch fabrics.


There might be an “X” symbol on the cleaning instructions. Unlike the other mark, this does not relate to the cleaning instructions that much.

This mark means that you are not allowed to use water or water solvents. Instead, it would be best if you used a vacuum cleaner.

Now that you know what the signs mean let us describe how you should prepare the couch. For this, no matter what the label is stating, you need to use a vacuum cleaner. Use that to clear out any of the visible gunk and dust particles.

Consider using a brush attachment with stiff bristles because that will work like a charm in clearing out the dust remnants. The brush will also take care of the stubborn dust particles that a vacuum without any attachments cannot get rid of.

After preparing the couch, you would need to follow any one of the following methods that I’m going to describe below:

How to Clean Couch Fabric with Baking Soda

How to Clean Couch with Baking Soda

One of the most popular ways of cleaning the couch is by using baking soda. It even takes care of visible stains, which means you will not have to wonder how to clean fabric couch stains if you follow this method. That being said, the steps are as follows:

Step 1: Spread a Thin Layer of Baking Soda on the Surface

Take the packet of baking soda and spread a thin layer of it on the couch. Make sure that you are not using too much because the process might get a bit hard after that.

Ensure all surfaces are covered with the soda, or else you will leave some of the spots uncleaned.

Step 2: Use a Bristle Brush

After you have covered the surface with baking soda, it will be time to use a bristle brush. Scrub the entire surface with it.

Getting a stiff bristle brush will make the whole process easier. After scrubbing the entire surface properly, you will notice that the stains are disappearing.

Do not just get the baking soda off after scrubbing the surface. Instead, leave it on the top for an hour

Step 3: Clean with a Vacuum

You would need to power on the vacuum cleaner once again after the hour has passed. Remove all of the baking soda from the surface. There might be residues after the initial sweep, which is why you might need to do a couple of sweeps.

Read Next: How to clean vertical blinds at home

How to Clean A Fabric Sofa with Vinegar

Another cleaning agent that is widely used to clean couches is vinegar. However, this method can only be followed for the sofas with W and WS marks in the instruction.

How to Clean A Fabric Sofa with Vinegar

If the instructions state X, it would be wise not to use any liquid solvents to clean the surface because you will risk damaging the fabrics. So, if the instructions of the sofa states W or WS, follow these steps:

Step 1: Mix a Solution of Vinegar

Get yourself a spray bottle to mix the solution of vinegar. I’m using a spray bottle because it will be easier for you to apply the solution on the surface with this type of bottle. Fill half of the bottle with vinegar and leave the other half empty.

Why should you leave the other half empty? Well, you need to fill the other half with olive oil. Shake the bottle properly and make sure that the vinegar and olive oil have been adequately mixed.

Step 2: Spray the Solution on the Surface

Now that you have adequately mixed the vinegar and olive oil solution, it will be time to spray the solution on the couch. Make sure each corner is covered, or else there will be spots that will have bacteria and dirt on the top.

Step 3: Scrub with a Brush

After spraying the solution, get yourself a brush that has stiff bristles. If you cannot find something with a stiff bristle, opt for something with medium stiffness.

Use that to scrub the whole surface. Ensure you are cleaning each of the areas of the couch to get the full benefits of the cleaning process.

Let the sofa soak in all of the solutions. Five to ten minutes should be enough. After that, move along to the next step.

Step 4: Wipe Away the Residue

Once the sofa has soaked all of the vinegar and olive oil solution, it will be time to wipe away any excess residues.

For that, you would need to use a clean microfiber cloth. Please do not use anything that is abrasive because it might end up loosening the fiber strands of the couch.

After wiping the whole surface, the sofa should look squeaky clean, and it will be free from bacteria and other gunks.

How to Clean Fabric Couches with Alcohol

Alcohol is a great cleaning agent. It holds the power to eliminate any bacteria present on the surface and clear out dust and debris. And most importantly, it will let you clean the sofa without using any water.

How to Clean Fabric Couches with Alcohol

However, like the previous method, you should not follow these steps if the cleaning instructions stated X. Only carry these out if the instructions stated W or WS. Also, do make sure that you are wearing masks and gloves while carrying out this process.

Step 1: Pour Alcohol into a Spray Bottle

We will rely on a spray bottle for this process as well. The spray bottle will make it easier to spread the alcohol around evenly.  It will ensure that the alcohol does not get soaked up by the fabric quickly and damage the material in the process.

Step 2: Spray the Alcohol on Your Hand

Instead of spraying the alcohol directly on the couch, you need to spray a little bit of the alcohol on one of your hands. Make sure that you are wearing gloves before carrying out this step.

Step 3: Rub the Surface

Using that hand, you need to rub the surface of the sofa for about five minutes. This will kill most of the germs and bacteria. If you notice that the rubbing leaves residues behind, take a soft napkin or cloth and wipe the residue right away.

What Should I Do to Dry the Sofa?

After following the vinegar and alcohol methods, there will be a good amount of moisture left on the couch. To dry the surface up, first, use towels.

Press them on the surface and make them soak up the excess moisture. If the towels do not work, opt for paper napkins. You would need to use loads of them.

A dry brush can help as well. However, whenever you are using the brush, make sure that you are gentle. If you use too much force, you might end up causing irreversible damage to the surface.

How to Remove Stubborn Stains off the Sofa?

Usually, baking sodas are going to do a proper job of clearing the stains off the surface. However, the stains are sometimes so stubborn that the baking soda can only fade them a little. In that case, get yourself a fabric spot cleaner from the market.

I would recommend using waterless cleaners because those will be compatible with the X-marked couches. You can even try out the vinegar-cleaning process again.

Use a good brush this time and scrub the entire surface gently. However, make sure that you do not use too much force while cleaning the surface.

Final Words

Cleaning the sofa with water can be a pretty tedious and challenging task. In fact, you will not be able to follow the water cleaning process for most of the sofas. But if you know how to clean sofas naturally without water at home, there is really no need to opt for the water-cleaning process.

And I hope that I was able to describe the waterless methods adequately. Just follow the steps correctly, and you should end up with a squeaky clean, and bacteria-free sofa.

Hi, I'm Robert Jameson. I'm a textile engineer. As a textile engineer, I design & create fabric. When I'm not busy with my family members, I research, write, and edit content for Fabric Fits.

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