How to Clean a Dry Clean Only Couch or Sofa

When fabric says "dry clean only" you need to heed that directive if you don't want to damage your furniture. But dry cleaning usually makes you think of heat or steam, both of which may be harmful to your sofa and the fabric with which it is covered. To keep your sofa from being damaged while cleaning it at the same time, there are two options you can try first at home.

Things You'll Need

  • Woolite cloths purchased at the grocery store
  • Woolite liquid
  • Water
  • Old terry washcloths

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Buy a box of Woolite dry cleaning cloths at your local grocery or discount store. The cloths are normally used on clothing, but in this case, you're going to use them on your sofa.

Vacuum the sofa thoroughly with the upholstery attachments on your vacuum cleaner to remove as much dust and loose soil as possible.

Test a dry cleaning cloth on a corner of sofa fabric that doesn't show to see how the cloth affects the fabric. Rub the cloth on this spot of fabric to clean it.

Clean the entire sofa with the treated cloths, if the test corner worked well, using as many cloths as necessary to clean the entire fabric's surface.

Inspect the sofa thoroughly to make certain it has been cleaned to your satisfaction. Spot clean any areas that need additional cleaning. If the sofa is not cleaned to your satisfaction, test a corner of fabric using a mixture of Woolite liquid, about a tablespoon full, and a quart of cold water. Dampen an old terry washcloth with this mixture - do not soak it because you don't want your sofa to get excessively wet - and wipe down the test area with the dampened cloth.

Wipe down the entire sofa with the washcloth dampened with the Woolite and water mixture to remove any soil that was not picked up with the dry cleaning cloths. It is not advisable to use heat or steam on a sofa, as it could shrink, permanently wrinkle, or discolor the fabric.

Allow the fabric to air dry. If necessary, use a clean wet vac to soak up any excess water.

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