How to Clean Polyester Couch – 4 Easy Methods & Tips

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Though polyester couches are appreciated for their beautiful look and soft feel, they can be quite difficult to clean. They require regular cleaning because they seem to attract all sorts of dirt and dust.

Most polyester couches can be cleaned with upholstery cleaners that are readily available in hardware stores, supermarkets, or online.

Some others can only be cleaned professionally. Let’s look at how to know which cleaning method is the best for your polyester couch.

Then, you’ll be able to refer to our step-by-step guide to successfully clean your couch.

How to clean polyester couch

Before you buy any product and apply anything onto the fabric of your polyester couch, you’ll need to decipher the tag to assess which cleaner to use.

To do so, find your couch’s tag – it is usually located under the cushions, hidden from plain view – and read the letter written on it.

It should have one of the following letters inscribed: W, S, SW, or X.

● W says that you should only use a water-based detergent, preferably with a steam vacuum.
● S says dry-detergent only.
● SW or WS says either a water-based or dry detergent.
● X requires professional cleaning. If you see this letter, do not put any product on your couch, or you might damage the fabric.
● O means wash using cold water.

So, the right type of cleaner corresponding to the letter on your couch’s tag is:

● “W” is for upholstery cleaner.
● “S” is for dry cleaning solvents.
● “SW”, you can use either upholstery cleaner or dry cleaning solvent cleaner.

Tip: When choosing a cleaner for your couch, always test on a small surface of your couch to rule out any unexpected reactions with the fabric.

How to Clean Polyester Couch – 4 Simple Methods

Method 1: How to Clean a Polyester Couch with the Solvent Based Method (for the “S” or “SW” tag)

Step 1: Before you apply anything to your couch, vacuum it thoroughly to remove any dust, hair, or dirt. Remove cushions and vacuum under them – access anywhere you think is possible. This will make the next steps easier.

Step 2:  Use a dry cleaning solvent cleaner for the “S” tag. If the tag is “SW”, you may alternatively use a water-based fabric cleaner.

For “SW” or “W”, you can also make your own cleaning solution. In a bowl, mix 1 teaspoon laundry detergent, 1 teaspoon white vinegar, and 1 quart of warm water.


Step 3: For this next step, it is advised you wear gloves. If you are using the DIY solution, it could dry out your hands, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Dip a microfibre cloth into your fresh solution, and in a light and gentle rubbing motion, work into the fabric of your sofa.

Alternatively, if your product has an applicator, you may follow the product instructions and directly apply instead.

Step 4: If using your own solution or a water-based cleaner for an “SW” or “W” tag, rinse the microfibre cloth from the solution and soak in some warm water for a few seconds. Repeat the rubbing motion to rinse the fabric from the solution.

Step 5: To protect your polyester couch from potential mold and mildew, make sure it dries properly if wet. Place it under the sun, with its cushions removed, to dry fully. If you don’t have access to an outdoor space that it could dry in, speed up the process by using a hairdryer.

Step 6: To return the polyester to its original, soft condition, use a dry soft-bristled brush and gently rub in a circular motion.

How to clean polyester couch

Method 2: How to Clean Random Stains off a Polyester Couch

Though it is a good idea to clean your polyester couch every 6 to 12 months, you may be faced with the need to get rid of a stain before you can commit to a full clean.

You can use upholstery shampoo for stains you want to target. Be sure to follow the instructions on your product, but the basic steps are:

Step 1: Put a few dots of upholstery shampoo on a damp microfibre cloth.

Step 2: Work into the stained area until it fades.

Step 3: Rinse with a clean, wet microfibre cloth.

Step 4: Let it dry completely.

Method 3: Warm Water for Grease Stains

Step 1: Saturate a microfibre cloth with warm water.

Step 2: Wring out until it doesn’t drip.

Step 3: Place onto the grease stain and let it sit until the water goes cold.

Step 4: Scrub.

Tip: If you’re dealing with a stain that hasn’t come from something greasy, try cold water instead of warm.

Method 4: Baking Soda Quick Fixes

Apply a generous amount of baking soda on a fresh stain.

Let it sit for half an hour minimum, these wipe off with a wet sponge.

What’s great about baking soda is that you can repeat it daily and it won’t damage the fabric.

Tip: Use a hairdryer to dry the spots where you just cleaned stains off to prevent mold and mildew.

Removing Dust and Hair – Lint brush to the rescue

You can use a lint brush on a regular basis to make your polyester couch look brand new, especially if you have pets.

It will wipe off any hair, dust, and dirt before it has a chance to seep into the fabric.

Going over your polyester couch with a lint brush a couple of times a week will keep your couch well maintained and clean.

How to Clean Polyester Cushion Covers

Polyester cushion covers are usually machine washable and thus simple to clean.

Make sure to use cold water and a low-intensity setting on your washing machine.

It is not recommended to dry your polyester cushion covers in a dryer.

Polyester can warp and melt when exposed to certain levels of heat. They may be able to make it through lower heat cycles without damage.

If possible, leave your covers out to air dry. This is the safest method and shouldn’t take long.

How to Get Rid of Bad Smells in a Polyester Couch

You can get rid of bad smells in a polyester couch fairly easily with just some water and lemon juice.

Combine 1 part lemon juice for 2 parts water and pour it into a spray bottle.

Simply spray onto the desired smelly area of your couch and let the power of lemon do its magic.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

I wasn’t able to find the tag on my polyester couch. What cleaning method should I use?

When in doubt, use warm water and baking soda.

You can also use vinegar, but only if you wash it off quickly, as it can act as corrosive and damage the fabric if left on for too long.

How easy is it to clean and maintain a polyester couch?

Though it does require some cleaning from time to time, it is actually a good option compared to other fabrics like cotton.

Because it is made from plastic and other synthetic materials, stains are easier to wipe off, whereas cotton has a tendency to absorb spilled liquids and grease, creating permanent stains.

Can you use a steam cleaner on a polyester couch?

Most often it is completely safe to steam clean a polyester couch. It is a great way to eliminate bacteria without deep cleaning the couch.

If you have a steam cleaner, it may be a good idea to use it once a month, in between deep cleans, to maintain and fresh polyester couch at all times!

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