How to clean a fabric sofa without water

What type of sofa do you have in your house? Most of you may have fabric sofas as this is the most popular type of sofas and the reasons are quite apparent. Fabric couches can easily match with other appliances like tables and rugs in the living room.

More importantly, fabric sofas are more affordable than other kinds such as leather couches. However, nothing is perfect, so are fabric sofas. A major shortcoming of fabric couches is that they are hard to clean.

If you find a speck on the couch surface and try to scrub it off, instead of disappearing, the spot may become larger and your sofas could also be damaged. Some fabric sofas cannot even be cleaned by water as water will penetrate into the sofa and damage them.

The good news is, there are still good ways to polish the sofas without water and that is the purpose of today’s article. Sparkling and Beyond will give you some easy cleaning tips to make your fabric sofas stay nice and tidy.

Can I use water to clean my fabric sofas?

As we mentioned before, some fabric couches cannot be cleaned by water. The more concrete reasons are that when water seeps into the couches, it will dampen and ruin the cushion inside the sofas as well as the wooden parts like columns and frames.

If this happens, it is difficult to repair the sofas and you can only replace them with new ones. Therefore, it is important to find the proper way to clean your fabric couches

Fortunately, the answer usually lies on the instruction tags of your sofa. 

If the tag marks “W”, this means your sofa can be cleaned with water. 

If the tag shows “WS”, this means you can use solvent-based cleaners or a small amount of water to clean. 

On the other hand, a label “S” suggests you cannot use water at all. 

Also, the label “X” means that both water and solvent-based cleaner should not be used for cleaning. 

If your sofas are not allowed to be cleaned by water, don’t be frustrated. 3 alternative ways to polish your couches are baking soda, vinegar or alcohol – these products can properly polish your sofas without water.

Can I use water to clean my fabric sofas
Can I use water to clean my fabric sofas

Clean fabric sofas with baking soda

Baking soda has been widely used to clean all kinds of stains in the house. In the case of a fabric couch, this magical white powder can also get the job done. Baking soda can remove dirty spots without damaging the sofa and also clear any unpleasant smell. 

  1. To clean the sofa, vacuum all over its surface first to wipe off the dust.
  2. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda on the couch and use a stiff scrub to brush the surface until all the dirt is removed.
  3. Let the baking soda stay on the couch for an hour before vacuuming it away.
Clean fabric sofas with baking soda
Clean fabric sofas with baking soda

Clean fabric sofas with vinegar

Vinegar is another natural product to clean the fabric couch without ruining it. When the vinegar is mixed with olive oil, it becomes a more effective cleaner.

  1. Mix some vinegar and olive oil with equal portions in a spray bottle.
  2. Apply the mixture on the couch surface and scrub it with a stiff brush for 5 minutes.
  3. Leave the vinegar mix on the couch for a while and use a microfiber cloth to wipe off the remaining mixture.
How to clean a fabric sofa without water
2/5 How to clean a fabric sofa without water

Clean fabric sofas with alcohol

Alcohol is a stronger cleaner to cope with tougher stains if the previous methods do not clear all the grime. Before using the alcohol, read the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure that your sofa does not absorb the water inside the alcohol. Otherwise, the water may damage the couch.

  1. Fill a spray bottle with alcohol.
  2. Keep yourself a short distance from the spray and apply the alcohol onto the sofa. Remember to wear a face mask and gloves while doing this.
  3. Buff the sofa surface with a rag for 5 minutes before using another clean cloth or paper napkin to wipe off the leftovers.
Clean fabric sofas with alcohol
Clean fabric sofas with alcohol


Fabric couches are great for house decoration at an affordable price. However, the cleaning process may be a bit trickier as water cannot be used for some types of fabric sofa.

Therefore, check the instruction tag of the fabric sofa before cleaning to make sure your cleaning method won’t damage the couch.

If the couch cannot be cleaned with water, you can use baking soda, or a mix of vinegar and olive oil as alternative measures.

For more stubborn dirt, you can also use alcohol to wipe it away. We hope this information can help you polish your sofas properly.

For more cleaning tricks and methods, please visit or dial 415-966-1101 to book our cleaning services today!

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