How to clean and sanitize a used couch?

Nowadays, it has become a normal culture to buy second-hand couches and other furniture. With the introduction of electronic marketplaces buying a used couch may only take you a couple of hours. In those couple of hours, you will be able to contact the seller, meet, exchange cash for a couch and be home in time for the news. It’s really that simple.

lady with cleaning equipment

The main issue that people have when purchasing a second-hand couch is one that many second-hand products buyers face, how clean is it? Bearing in mind that your couch will be your new lounging spot. 

Humans spend on average 4 – 6 hours a day on their couches. This is a great deal of time, especially if the couch is dirty. It means that you are likely to get sick or experience allergies. These may result in pimples on your face or serious infections.

white sofa in a hallway

You never know what kind of person you have been sharing a couch with; therefore, it is essential to sanitize it when you buy it. This should be done before it even enters your home. So, let’s talk about what you will need and how to go about doing this.

What do we need?

  1. Warm Water
  2. Vinegar
  3. Bucket
  4. Spray Bottle
  5. Soft Scrubbing Brush
  6. Rubbing Alcohol
  7. A vacuum
  8. Dish or carpet soap (or mild dish soap)
  9. Laundry detergent (For fragrance)

Step by Step Process.

  1. Vacuum the entire couch

Vacuuming is a very safe way to deal with any physical dangers that may be resting on your couch. These include things like breadcrumbs and dog hairs. When you vacuum, make sure you remove the cushions, and then you vacuum them each individually in the sun.

vacuum cleaner

Natural light is one of the best sanitizers you can get, so make sure to do this outside and, if possible, in the morning. This will allow your couch to sit in the sun all day until the evening, when you can move it in dry.

Ensure not to miss any small spaces on the couch because there could even be living organisms camped there. Vacuuming your couch is also something you should try incorporating into your cleaning schedule at least once a month.

  1. Mix all the ingredients to form a solution.

First, off you should bear in mind that professional couch cleaning solutions exist, and these can often be purchased from the supermarket. These would undoubtedly be much more effective than this solution we are putting together but do not worry. This will work too.

If you just spent a large amount of money buying a couch, then you may not have the money to buy a professional couch cleaner. Fortunately, these ingredients are relatively cheap.  

To get the cleaning started, we will need to mix all the different chemicals we have gathered. For this, you will need about 2 liters of warm water. It doesn’t matter how warm it is, just if you can use it without burning your hands.

You will then need about one cup of white vinegar. This will work well to neutralize any of the acidic elements that are resting on the couch. Mix all of these in a standard bucket or any container that can carry water safely. You will then need to add the rubbing alcohol to the solution. 

For this, you will need to add between 15-30mls of alcohol, mainly depending on how big your couch is and how afraid you were of the seller. This will be the main soldier in the battle against any germs on the couch.

The last ingredient will be carpet soap, preferably, although normal dish soap will work too. This is to make the solution foamy, which will work to clean better. Once mixed, you should wait a couple of minutes to allow the ingredients to merge safely.

  1. Scrub

At this point, the real dirty work begins. You will need to take a soft thistle brush and dip it into the solution you have made. Ensure that it is well mixed. If it is, it should be slightly foamy, and then you must scrub every inch of that couch as though your life depends on it because it really may.

In most cases, with a used couch, you will find that it will start to change color as you begin to scrub. This means that the dirt is now being washed away. Scrub the entire couch in this fashion until you see it has changed color. It should appear lighter.

  1. Take a microfiber cloth and wipe down the couch.

You will be doing this to remove as much chemical as you can from the sofa to allow it to dry. Remember, you do not want to do it over because we still want the chemical to sit for some time. This is to avoid it being wet for too long.

How Long it will take

The entire process should take you about an hour. In terms of drying, it should take a full day depending on if it is outside in the sun.

Expected Results

It would be best if you got a couch that is smelling fresh and clean. It should feel soft and almost brand new. If it is not dry, then do not take it out of the sun because the water can rot the wood in the couch.

Things to look out for

You will need to make sure not to take the couch inside before sanitizing it as germs can spread to the carpet. If you want to, you can also consider using bug spray on the couch. Avoid getting any of the solutions in your eyes, nose, or mouth.


This is an essential task, so you should not forgo it. No matter how well you knew the seller and if you trusted them. If the couch is in your space, it should arrive there in a clean and comfortable state. Remember not to do this in the house because your couch will need to dry fully to prevent the wood from rotting.

Elissa Smith

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