Keep Your Fabric Sofa Looking Like New: Water-Free Cleaning Tips

Cleaning a fabric sofa without water may seem like a daunting task, but it is actually quite simple and can be done using a few household items. Water and other liquid cleaners can cause damage to the fabric on your sofa, and can also leave behind unsightly stains.

In this article, we will provide step-by-step instructions for cleaning a fabric sofa without using water, and offer some tips and tricks for keeping your sofa looking fresh and clean. Whether you’re dealing with spills, stains, or just general grime, these methods will help you safely and effectively clean your fabric sofa without damaging it.

So without further ado, let’s check out how to clean your fabric sofa without a single drop of water.

Check the label on your sofa first

Before you begin, you need to know whether you can or cannot clean your sofa fabric with water. Normally every fabric sofa comes with an upholstery care tag code to help you decide if you can clean the sofa fabric with water or water-based solvents. If the sofa does not have a care tag, you have to test the fabric of your sofa yourself by soaking it in water or using a water-based solvent in a not-so-easily noticeable part of the sofa.

How to read the care tag code: 

Code W: Fabric is cleanable with water or water based products.

Code S: Fabric is only dry-cleanable with high quality water-free solvents.

Code W-S: Fabric is either cleanable with water or water based products or solvents.

Code X: Fabric can only be cleaned by vacuuming or by a professional.

Things You’ll Need to Clean a Fabric Sofa Without Water

  1. Vacuum cleaner with multiple upholstery cleaning attachments and crevice tool 
  2. Long-handle adjustable microfiber crevice duster
  3. Stiff-bristled brush
  4. Soft-bristled brush
  5. Air circulation fan
  6. Dry cleaning solvent
  7. White microfiber cloth
  8. Baking soda
  9. Drop cloth
  10. A couple of dry towels

Step by Step Instructions to Clean a Fabric Sofa

Step 1 – Dusting:

Dust your entire sofa off from top to bottom using a stiff-bristled brush and do not overlook the back of the sofa, the crevice between the cushions, the sides and underneath the sofa. Clean the dust between the crevices at this stage using only the stiff-bristled brush and clean the dust underneath the sofa using the long-handle adjustable microfiber crevice duster.

Step 2 – Getting Rid of Odor and Vacuuming:

Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda on the upholstery of the sofa and with the soft-bristled brush work it into the fabric of the sofa. Wait for one hour or upto overnight for the baking soda to get rid of any odor and then vacuum away all of it along with all the dust, make sure to vacuum everywhere not missing a spot.

Step 3 – Ensuring Air Circulation and Safety:

It is always better to be safe than sorry. Most dry cleaning solutions are highly toxic and flammable chemicals emitting dangerous vapors after use. Even Perc or Petroleum based dry cleaning solvents which are labeled as organic dry cleaners have hazardous contents that can lead to cancer and other health issues. Therefore, try to look for clean, silicone based, eco-friendly dry cleaning products.

  • Before using dry cleaning solvents, make sure to extinguish all sources of fire nearby.
  • Smoking is absolutely out of question while using dry cleaning products.
  • Open the windows or doors of the room and turn on your air circulation fan for better ventilation.
  • Protect the wooden floor with a drop cloth.    

Step 4 – Experimental Dry Cleaning First 

Do a test dry cleaning first by turning around the sofa and choosing a less noticeable part to apply the solvent. Dampen a white microfiber cloth with the solution and rub that on that area and wait till the area dries. Examine carefully if there is any difference in the brightness of the fabric or any dye transfer on the microfiber cloth. If there are none then proceed to use the solvent for spot cleaning or in larger areas.

Step 5 – Spot Cleaning

Start from the edges of the spot to prevent spreading of the stain to the clean areas and slowly dab away at the spot. If the spot in a section of the sofa is large, then clean that entire section to avoid streaks or discoloration. For better stain removal you can also use DIY stain removal solutions made with a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda or hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.

Step 6 – Drying

You need to dry your clean sofa right away as you do not want the solvent to seep into the inside of the cushion and ruin the foam therein. So place a towel on top of the spot where solvent has been used and let the towel soak up the moisture. Then use a stand fan or table fan to dry the spot off completely. Do not use a hairdryer or room heater for this purpose. Finally, give your sofa another round of dry brushing and you are good to go.

Tips to Keep Your Sofa and Upholstery Clean

  • Vacuum cleaning weekly.
  • While sofa shopping, look for the ones with removable covers.
  • Invest in a good brand of fabric protecting spray.
  • Deep clean twice a year.
  • Ask the manufacturer for cleaning manual or cleaning instructions while buying sofa or upholstery.