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How to clean couch cushions that stink

Updated February 21, 2017

A couch is typically found in the living room or family room, areas of the home where friends and family gather and spend extended periods of time. Whether you have purchased a used couch, stored your couch in a musty basement or storage unit or just if an unpleasant odour has developed over time, it is important to properly handle foul-smelling couch cushions. It is important to clean in a manner that will remove the odour, but not soak the cushions, as too much water will cause mildew growth and additional unpleasant odour.

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  1. Vacuum the couch cushions to collect loose residue. Vacuum one side, then clean the underside as well. Also remember to clean the sides.

  2. Fill a spray bottle with one cup water, one cup vinegar and three tablespoons of baking soda. Shake gently to mix ingredients. A slight foaming action may occur when the baking soda and vinegar mix, which is natural; it will dissipate within a few seconds.

  3. Spray directly onto the couch cushions, covering all sides with a light mist. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodoriser, while baking soda is also a deodorising agent.

  4. Mix a cleaning solution in a bowl, to give a more thorough cleaning to set-in odour and residue. Pour two cups water into the bowl, with one-half cup vinegar, one tablespoon of baking soda, and one tablespoon of washing powder. Both liquid and powdered detergent will work well; use whichever you have on hand.

  5. Dip a cleaning cloth into the mixture and wring it out thoroughly. You want to use little water when cleaning the cushions to prevent mildew growth.

  6. Repeat until all cushions are cleaned and allow to air dry.

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Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum
  • Washing powder
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Bowl
  • Spray bottle
  • Cleaning cloth

About the Author

Mel Frank is a professional freelance writer with over 15 years of writing experience. She has completed a wide variety of writing assignments for a number of publications that include CNN and various websites. Frank received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from a prestigious university in Pennsylvania.

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