How to Get Odor out of Couch: Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide

Last updated on April 3, 2024

Eliminating odors from your couch can be a simple process, and this comprehensive guide will equip you with several helpful methods to restore the freshness of your furniture.

Key takeaways:

  • Check the care label for appropriate cleaning methods
  • Inspect cushions and remove any removable covers for washing
  • Use a dry brush and vacuum to remove debris and dust
  • Try homemade cleaning solutions like vinegar and baking soda
  • Ensure your couch is completely dry before reintroducing cushions

Table of Contents

Check the Label

Before attempting odor removal, examine the care label on your couch for cleaning codes that indicate the appropriate methods to use. These codes generally include:

  • W: Water-based cleaning solutions are safe to use.
  • S: Only solvent-based cleaners should be used.
  • WS: Both water and solvent-based cleaners are appropriate.
  • X: Vacuuming or light brushing only; no water or solvent-based cleaners.

Understanding these codes is crucial to prevent damaging your couch during the cleaning process. Always perform a spot test on an inconspicuous area regardless of the recommended cleaning method to ensure there is no discoloration or damage.

First, Inspect Your Cushions

Begin by removing all cushions from the couch to assess the extent of the odor issue. Look for visible stains or areas that seem to be the source of the smell. This could be from food spills, pet accidents, or general wear.

Often, odors are concentrated in these problem spots. While you’re at it, don’t overlook the nooks and crannies; odors can lurk in the hidden parts of your furniture. Check for care tags; they might have important information regarding washing instructions or materials that could affect the cleaning process.

If the cushions have removable covers that are machine washable, laundering according to the manufacturer’s instructions can be your first line of offense against unwanted smells.

Use a Dry Brush and Vacuum

Begin with a stiff-bristled brush to loosen dried particles and debris hiding in the fabric of your sofa. Pay careful attention to crevices and folds where particles often accumulate.

Once you’ve sufficiently loosened the debris, bring in your vacuum with its upholstery attachment. Glide it over the surface and into deeper sections to suction up the loosened particles.

The combination of brushing and vacuuming helps to remove dust and dirt that contributes to the overall odors trapped within the couch. Remember, a thorough vacuum not only preps the sofa for further cleaning but can also significantly reduce surface smells.

Homemade Cleaning Solutions

Combining everyday household items can create effective odor-eliminating solutions. For fabric upholstery, mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle, adding a few drops of essential oil for a pleasant scent if desired. Mist the affected areas lightly, ensuring not to soak the fabric.

Baking soda is another powerhouse that absorbs lingering smells. Sprinkle a generous amount over the couch, let it sit for at least 20 minutes or even overnight for stronger odors, then vacuum it up using an upholstery attachment.

For leather sofas, a solution of equal parts water and vinegar can be used gently with a soft cloth, careful not to drench the material. Always perform a spot test on a hidden area first to ensure there is no discoloration or damage.

Alternating between these methods can help neutralize a range of odors, from pet smells to cooking odors and mustiness. Regular treatment with these solutions can keep your couch smelling fresh.

Let Your Sofa Dry Completely

After applying any cleaning solution, moisture can linger in your couch’s fabric and padding, potentially leading to mold or mildew if not properly addressed. Ensuring your sofa completely dries is a crucial step in odor removal.

Open windows or use a fan to increase air circulation and speed up the drying process. The use of a dehumidifier can further aid in removing moisture from the air and the couch. If the weather permits, you might consider taking cushions or small furniture pieces outside to dry in the sun, as UV rays have natural sanitizing properties. However, keep colored fabric out of direct sunlight to prevent fading.

Touch the surface periodically to check for dampness, and only reintroduce throw pillows or blankets once the couch is thoroughly dried to prevent trapping any residual moisture.


How do I get rid of a bad smell in my couch?

To eliminate a foul odor from your couch, simply sprinkle baking soda all over its surface, which not only absorbs the odors but also helps loosen stains.

Do couches absorb smells?

Yes, couches can absorb smells as odors can get trapped in their fibers over time.

Will vinegar make my couch smell better?

Yes, vinegar can freshen up your couch by tackling mild, stale smells, but you should always check the upholstery labels first, as certain materials are not compatible with water-based cleaning solutions like vinegar.

Does Febreze really eliminate odors?

Yes, Febreze does eliminate odors, however, it does so by trapping odor molecules within a specific donut-shaped chemical structure, not by removing them or cleaning the items it’s applied to.

Can baking soda help in removing couch odors?

Yes, baking soda can effectively aid in eliminating odors from your couch due to its natural deodorizing properties.

How often should upholstery be cleaned to prevent odors?

Upholstery should be professionally cleaned every 12 to 24 months to prevent odors and maintain its condition.

Are there specific fabrics that resist odor absorption better than others?

Yes, synthetic fabrics such as polyester are better at resisting odor absorption compared to natural fibers like cotton.

You may also like to read: