Skip to Content

Can You Use A Carpet Cleaner On A Couch?

Can You Use A Carpet Cleaner On A Couch?

Nothing makes a homeowner happier than finding a multi-purpose piece of hardware.

With so much upkeep in a home and each part requiring different equipment, something versatile that can be used for a couple of things can make life significantly easier.

The same goes for a carpet cleaner. 

Thanks to its name, it is easy to restrict its use to wool or linen carpets but it is very common to use carpet cleaners on mattresses, curtains, car upholstery, comforters, and most importantly, couches. 

That does not mean a carpet cleaner and couch cleaner are the same things. They are two distinct products designed for different types of textiles. So, can you use a carpet cleaner on a couch?

You can technically use a carpet cleaner on a couch, depending on what material it is. However, it is not recommended, as it may damage your couch.

Read on to learn why using a carpet cleaner on a couch may be a bad idea, along with other ways you can clean your couch or sectional.

Carpet Cleaner

Adapting a Carpet Cleaner to a Couch

While a carpet cleaner can be used on a couch, not all cleaning solutions are compatible with all kinds of couch materials.

Similarly, the carpet cleaner itself must also be suitable for a couch. 

Many carpet cleaners come with a brush and hose/upholstery attachment that must be used to clean all parts of the sofa and prevent any damage to it.

Be it an upright carpet cleaner or a portable one, each can be adapted to a couch. 

If your equipment did not come with these additional materials, they are readily and cheaply available if you know what kind of vacuum you have.

This investment is worth it since the alternative is damaging a couch that costs thousands. 

Once the equipment is out of the way, there are certain additional steps you need to undertake when you clean a couch with a carpet cleaner. 

Cleaning A Couch 

When people clean carpets, they usually soak the carpet with a cleaning solution before vacuuming it 15-20 minutes later.

Although a carpet cleaner can be used to clean a couch, several precautions need to be taken to not only ensure thorough cleaning but save your sofa from undue duress. These steps include:

  1. Vacuum

Before using a carpet cleaner, you need to get rid of the excess dirt, crumbs, and debris on your couch via other methods.

A handheld vacuum or a vacuum with an upholstery attachment can get this job done, and it is important to prioritize the seating area, sides, and crevices (after removing the cushions).

This is usually where things lodge the most. 

Visible dirt, food particles, or liquid should be removed by hand before using the vacuum.

This step is important so that when you apply the carpet cleaner, it can easily soak into the sofa’s fabric. 

Pen Stains
  1. Remove Stains 

A carpet cleaner is not the best solution if there are stains you want to eliminate.

Lightly sprinkling baking soda or spraying a water and baking soda solution on the affected areas is a viable solution.

Vacuuming the couch after letting the soda rest for 15 to 20 minutes often gets the job done. 

This step can be skipped if there are no such lingering stains. 

  1. Check the Tag 

Here comes the part where you finally introduce the carpet cleaning solution. However, note that not all chemicals are suitable for all materials.

Therefore, verifying the manufacturer’s instructions and tallying that with the chemicals of your carpet cleaner is an important step. 

Care tags located on the bottom of the couch often contain all the information you need.

Cleaning codes W, WS, S, and X demonstrate how that couch is meant to be cleaned, with W deeming water and water-based cleaners safe for use, WS identifying water-based solvents as optimal, and S requiring a water-free dry solvent.

A sofa with an X cleaning code requires professional cleaning. 

Therefore, if your carpet cleaner contains water, it should only be used on a sofa with a W tag.

For example, you should never clean microfiber sofas with bleach, acetone, upholstery cleaner, or carpet cleaner. 

Not all carpet cleaners can be used to clean a couch. 

  1. Spot Testing

Checking the tag and verifying the chemical composition of your carpet cleaner is not usually enough, and a sofa is too expensive for this gamble.

Therefore, you should not use any new carpet cleaner immediately on the entire sofa.

Find a small, hidden part of the couch such as one on the lower back, and use your cleaner there.

Follow the instructions, evaluate the results, and wipe it off using a lint-free cloth. 

Even if there is a negative reaction this way, you can still hide it and save the rest of your couch.

If it does work, however, feel free to clean your sofa with that carpet cleaner. 

  1. Use the Carpet Cleaner

If your cleaning solution is safe for use, pour it into the carpet cleaner’s tank with an appropriate combination of warm water.

It is important to dilute the solution to prevent any white spots on the couch upon drying. Stronger chemicals require higher dilution. 

Now that your material is ready, turn on the cleaner and press the brush against the fabric of the couch.

Go over the arms first and work it towards the back seating area, towards you.

To avoid any oversaturation with the solution, ensure that the brush doesn’t sit on one area for more than a few seconds. 

  1. Let it Dry 

It takes around 2 to 4 hours for the couch to dry, depending on the temperature and humidity of your home, but you can employ additional measures to speed this up.

A fan to raise air circulation works wonders while placing the seating pillows vertically to dry and rotating it every 30 minutes is a popular method too. 

To be on the safe side, leave the sofa be for 6 to 12 hours. You do not want to take any chances to risk sitting on a wet sofa. 

Carpet cleaners on a couch

The Bottom Line on Using a Carpet Cleaner on a Couch

It’s common to use carpet cleaners on a couch, and something multi-purpose is always a valuable investment.

However, there is a lot you need to ensure before diving into this.

Checking the manufacturer’s instructions, doing a spot test, getting the perfect attachment and solution, and vacuuming off the debris is critical before you bring out the big gun: the carpet cleaner. 

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.