How to Clean Linen Couch?

  • To start with the good news, cleaning linen used as upholstery isn’t much more demanding than washing or ironing linen. If your sofa has removable covers, the washing process goes as usual for this material. However, in case they are not removable and some stains appeared on the fabric (or it simply needs a little refresh), we’ve got several simple pieces of advice, i.e., methods to get the dirt out of your sofa. 
  • You can take care of your sofa covers at home. Deal with a stain with a small amount of specially prepared detergent, go for dry cleaning, or search for a professional cleaning service to remove the grease and stains. 
  • Whatever you choose, make sure that you consider your linen fabric needs and read the tips we mention below.

Trouble with linen

Your living room has never seen such glorious times! 

Since the new light linen upholstery shines bright in the center of the room, everything is different. 

You love it; your family loves it; your guests love it. 

This story has a happy ending, but you need to learn a couple of helpful maintenance instructions before we get there.

Linen isn’t the easiest fabric to care for, not to mention having linen upholstery in the central part of your living room.

We’ve got you covered!

Check these guides through the world of linen in the House Rituals articles:

There are some questions that you’ll eventually ask yourself when dealing with this charming and capricious fabric. 

But dealing with a linen fabric when it’s a tote bag or one household accessories—like curtains or pillows—is not the same as having to deal with an entire couch. 

We prepared this guide to explain methods for the maintenance of linen upholstery.

Linen upholstery cleaning

Ever came across your beloved pet’s prints on your—equally beloved—linen sofa? Who to kill first? 

Or maybe a blind date turned into a breakfast-included meeting, and wine spills on a couch were a non-ordered extra to the main meal?

If your linen couch suffered in the course of its usage, we are going to share methods to deal with:

  • these awful stains, 
  • a feeling that your couch isn’t fresh anymore and needs a cheer up;

Washing instructions note

First off, a sofas’ language comprises of four words:

W = Wet/water cleaning only

S = Dry solvent cleaning only

SW = Dry solvent or wet cleaning

X = Professional cleaning or vacuuming only

“X” on your linen couch stands for continuously vacuuming the furniture to prevent build-up from soiling the fabric and spending a ton on professional cleaning.

“S,” meaning “dry solvents,” is a less disturbing option since you can find them in hardware and home improvement stores (i.e., Ace or Home Depot, one brand to look for is Blue Coral Upholstery Cleaner).

A “W” or “SW” type of couch which permits water cleaning is the easiest for maintenance. These are the best letters to pick when buying a new couch. 

Important: Making the right choice when purchasing a sofa may be the best option. 

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

It’s an open secret that the couch with polyester or linen prefers if you steer clear of any machines that produce steam. 

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

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

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

Cleaning and stain removal

Can’t wait to give a good old refresh to your beloved linen sofa?

There are two possibilities for washing the natural linen fabric that your sofa is covered with. Your couch can either have removable fabric covers or not removable ones. 

If you can remove the material from your sofa, simply put it into the washing machine and follow the cleaning instructions of this fabric. 

It’s recommended to dry clean or having sofa covers professionally cleaned. 

In sofas and cushions with removable covers, you can also wash them by yourself in the washing machine:

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

(not to shrink the material) 

After the cycle has finished, quickly remove the covers from the machine to avoid creasing and hang them out to dry over a clothes horse. 

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. 

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

If not, you’ll have to deal with the entire piece of furniture.

Here’s how to perform spot cleaning of your couch in a few steps:

  1. Preparation

Use a stiff brush or a clean, dry white hand towel or washcloth to brush the piece of furniture. 

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

Tip: Avoid using any colored towels or sponges to avoid altering the color of your couch.

  1. Deep clean

Deep clean means that we’re treating the whole furniture and not particular stains and spills of your upholstery.

Go to the living room, find your sofa and follow the steps below. 

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

You can also try the dry carpet cleaner solution method. 

It will give you a bit more impressive results than baking soda alone. 

The dry carpet cleaner solution is made of:

  • 1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent liquid
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 250ml warm water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Quickly screw on the top of the spray bottle when all the elements are in.

Vinegar (an acid) and baking soda (alkaline) work exceptionally well when paired. 

Mixed, they create carbon dioxide, which translates to a pleasing spectacle of cleaning bubbles! 

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

In the end, vacuum it using a brush attachment.

  1. Stain spot cleaning

Have an overall look at your sofa and find any lingering stains. 

Take the cleaning solution described above and do a small fabric spot test for discoloration (do it in an unseen location). 

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

Dip the wash cloth in the cleaning solution.

Gently dab and rub stains.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Let's gather several facts. First, linen is temperature-regulating, so it works amazingly in both the cooler and warmer months. Second, this fabric is durable, so a linen sofa should maintain a fresh look for longer than pieces of furniture made of other materials. Third, since linen is anti-static, it's less likely to attracting dust, so people with allergies will benefit from it. Fourth, this sustainable fabric is made from flax plants which are easy to grow, and the whole process doesn't require much labor and is conducted with minimal use of chemicals (unlike, for example, cotton). Among drawbacks, linen lacks bounce giving us a nightmarish collection of constantly reappearing wrinkles, so lovers of crisp, crease-free sofas will be better off with a different material.
Linen is a demanding fabric for maintenance, but rules for taking good care of it are simple. For example, if something spills on your furniture, use a clean, damp cloth to soak up the liquid. Yet, don’t scrub the cloth and grind the stain into the fabric. Instead, the best way to lift the stains is to dab them gently.
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