How to clean polyester sofa fabric

Updated February 21, 2017

The sofa is one of the most expensive and hardest working pieces of furniture in the average household. Protecting and maintaining the sofa is essential to prolong its lifespan to ensure that you get every dollar you invested out of it. Proper cleaning of the sofa fabric is an easy thing to do, but you must be diligent in watching for soil or stains and cleaning immediately upon discovery. Many sofa cushion covers are removable and can be either dry-cleaned or washed in the washing machine. In between washings, maintain your sofa by spot-cleaning regularly.

Check that your sofa fabric is colour-fast on an inconspicuous area. You can usually find fabric hanging down under the sofa or an inside hem to test pre-treaters and detergents on first.

Vacuum the sofa to ensure it is clean.

Scrub or scrape off any solid debris with a dishcloth or butter knife.

Treat any stains you see with a stain pre-treater. Allow to soak according to the manufacturer's recommended time frame.

Use a wet dishcloth or rag to scrub the stain, in a circular motion, until it is eliminated.

Use a fabric or upholstery cleaner to hand wash the sofa backs and arms, and anywhere there isn't a removable cover. According to Max Value Building Services, "You can use a commercial upholstery cleaner, or you can save a few dollars by making your own: In a large bowl, combine ½ teaspoon dish or washing powder with a quart of warm water. Using a mixer, combine the ingredients until they turn frothy and sudsy. You'll use only the suds as the cleaning agent, so you might need to mix up additional batches."

Use a clean, wet cloth to "rinse" the sofa fabric, removing all suds and detergent. You may need to rinse and re-moisten the cloth during the suds removal.

Towel dry and open the windows or turn on a fan in order to thoroughly dry the sofa's fabric to avoid mildew.


Always test the colour fastness of your sofa fabric before using any stain treaters or detergents on the fabric. A few minutes to test first could save you heartache and money later.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric stain pre-treater
  • Fabric or upholstery cleaner
  • Scrub brush or old, clean toothbrush
  • Dishcloth or rag
  • Dishtowel
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Butter knife
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About the Author

Louise Harding holds a B.A. in English language arts and is a licensed teacher. Harding is a professional fiction writer. She is mother to four children, two adopted internationally, and has had small businesses involving sewing and crafting for children and the home. Harding's frugal domestic skills help readers save money around the home.