How to Clean Linen Couch

  • The good news is that cleaning linen upholstery isn’t more demanding or complex than washing linen fabrics used for other usages. Moreover, if your sofa has removable covers, the washing process will be the same as usual for this material. 
  • However, if your linen furniture covers aren’t removable and you notice a stain on the upholstery, or your sofa covers need a little refresh, keep reading to discover how to clean a linen upholstery.
  • You can take care of your sofa covers by yourself at home. Read our tips below to make sure that you know the needs of your linen fabric.

Good to know about linen

Most of us love linen, and it’s completely understandable. 

You know that feeling when a new light linen upholstery glows in the center of the room, providing an experience close to luxury. 

How to make sure this grand adventure never ends?

Whether it’s linen slipcovers, clothes, or upholstery, linen fabric isn’t that hard to keep in a satisfying condition, given you know a few golden rules.

Learn a couple of helpful maintenance instructions before you get yourself linen furniture. This natural material can be very rewarding if only given some due attention. 

Linen may not be the easiest fabric to care for, but we’ve got you covered!

Check our articles below to explore the world of linen by House Rituals:

Important: Taking care of a tote bag or small household accessory made of linen isn’t the same as dealing with an upholstery. Any potential mistake will also cost more. 

Keep reading to discover how to care about linen upholstery the right way.

Clean linen upholstery

How to clean linen couch?

You know how it hurts if you ever came across your pet’s prints on your splendid linen sofa or noticed wine spills on a couch. 

Let us help you deal with these awful stains!

 Also, if you have a feeling that your couch isn’t fresh anymore and needs a cheer-up, keep reading to learn some handy cleaning tips. 


Washing instructions on your upholstery can say:

  • W = Wet/water cleaning only
  • S = Dry solvent cleaning only
  • SW = Dry solvent or wet cleaning
  • X = Professional cleaning or vacuuming only

Where “X” on your linen couch means you should regularly vacuum the dust from your furniture. Do it to prevent build-up from soiling the fabric and spending a ton of money on professional cleaning. It’s nice to have your upholstery dry cleaned, but it’s also an extra cost.

“S” stands for “dry solvents”—find them in hardware and home improvement stores, such as Ace or Home Depot. Look, for instance, for Blue Coral Upholstery Cleaner.

A “W” or “SW” type of couch permits water cleaning, and it’s the easiest for maintenance. If you want to easily clean your sofa, pick the upholstery with “W” or “SW.” 

In addition to checking the care tag, look at the fiber content. 

If you have a couch that includes cotton or linen, steer clear of any machines that produce steam. No natural material goes well with steam cleaners. 

The fibers may 

  • change color, 
  • become loose, or even 
  • slowly degrade. 

The steam can cause natural linen to pucker in a hard-to-reverse way.

On the other hand, synthetic materials, such as polyester or nylon, are okay with steam cleaning, so you can use them freely.

Tip: Always test your fabrics to ensure that the steam won’t damage the fabric.

Iron your linen while still damp if you want to remove any natural wrinkles (which are actually a fancy part).

For more information about using steam and dealing with wrinkles on linen fabric, check the article “Can You Iron Linen?

If you can remove covers from your linen sofa, you’ll have no problem tossing them into a washing machine. 

Use a mild detergent or mild soap on a cool machine wash following the fabric’s washing instructions. Avoid washing linen in cold or hot water—suggests Linen Beauty.

Once washed, hang to air dry, but avoid direct sunlight.

Tip: Sunshine works as an additional bleaching agent on your linen fabric, so use it carefully, and only with white or cream linen fabric. 

In your linen furniture has removable covers, wash them in the washing machine:

  • at 30 degrees or less, and
  • on a slow spin cycle

being careful not to shrink the material. 

Tip: Wash all the covers and cushions of the same couch together to maintain the color consistency.

When the cover is almost dry, put it straight back on the sofa to keep the shape. Don’t put sofas covers in a tumble dryer! 

Spot clean

You obviously won’t be able to machine wash the entire couch. 

If you can’t wait to provide your sofa with 

  • a good old refresh or 
  • cleaning and stain removal, 

but your upholstery needs to stay in a living room, you’ll have to have sofa covers professionally cleaned or remove stains individually with DIY methods. 

To perform spot cleaning, take a washcloth, stiff brush, or a clean, dry white hand towel and brush the entire piece of your linen furniture: 

  • rub and break up any dried-on spots,
  • remove any bits that have made homes of nooks and crannies; 

Tip: Use only a white cloth and avoid incorporating colored towels or sponges so as not to alter the color of your couch accidentally.

Have an overall look at your sofa and find any lingering stains. Pay attention also to faint stains.

Take the cleaning product and do a small fabric spot test for discoloration in the unseen location, a hidden area of your sofa, so it’s not visible in case things go wrong.

Important: Darker linens are more heavily dyed. Remember that the dye may lift when you’re spot cleaning, leaving a lighter patch.

Dip the wash cloth in the cleaning solution and gently dab and rub stains.

Deep clean

What does it mean to deep clean? You don’t focus on a single stain but treat the entire couch.

In some cases, spot cleaning is enough, but some other pieces of furniture will require a deep clean. 

Now, go to the living room, localize your sofa, and follow the cleaning tips below. 

Sprinkle the sofa with baking soda. Baking soda helps release lurking smells and breaks up stains in the fabric. 

Otherwise, try the dry carpet cleaning solution, mixing together:

  • 1 teaspoon of mild detergent or dishwashing liquid,
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar,
  • 250ml of warm water,
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda;

Vinegar is an acid, and baking soda is alkaline. They work exceptionally well when paired, creating carbon dioxide. 

Expect a pleasing spectacle of cleaning bubbles! 

Allow the baking soda or the dry carpet cleaning solution to sit on the couch for at least 20 minutes, up to an hour.

Eventually, vacuum it using a brush attachment.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Linen is temperature-regulating, so it works amazingly in cooler and warmer months. This fabric is durable, so a linen sofa should maintain a fresh look for longer than furniture made of other materials. Moreover, since linen is anti-static, it's less likely to attract dust—good news for people with allergies. Linen is made from flax plants which are easy to grow. The process doesn't require much labor and is conducted with minimal use of chemicals (unlike, for example, cotton). Unfortunately, linen lacks bounce, so expect constantly reappearing wrinkles. Lovers of crisp, crease-free sofas will be better off with a different material.
Linen is a demanding fabric for maintenance, but the rules for taking care of it are simple. If something spills on your furniture, always act quickly. Use a clean, damp cloth to soak up the liquid. Remember not to scrub the cloth or grind the stain into the fabric. Instead, the best way to lift the stains is to dab them gently.
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