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How to remove odour from sofa fabric

Baby playing in the living room next to a beige sofa

While your sofa may look clean on the surface, it could still be holding bad smells from days gone by.

After all, between pets sneaking on the couch and cooking fumes wafting through the house, unpleasant odours are inevitable. Sofa fabrics are particularly susceptible to these pungent smells.

But fret not. You don’t need to stick with bad smelling furniture - not when you can read our guide to removing odours from your sofa. Take a look, below, for tips on how to elevate your cleaning routine.

Mix your own fabric freshener

If you fancy yourself something of a rookie mixologist, don’t shell out money for branded fabric fresheners. Instead, you can make your own mixture with ingredients that could already be in your cupboard.

Just take one cup of white vinegar and combine it with a cup of water. Stir well, adding ½ a teaspoon each of vegetable glycerine and an essential oil of your choice, such as lavender or peppermint. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and -  voilà - you’ve made your very own all-natural fabric freshener.

Spray the concoction over your sofa when it begins to smell and let the mixture work its magic. 

A sprinkle of baking soda

Close up of baking soda

Once again, we turn to the hidden wonders of your cupboards to combat bad smells. This time, it’s baking soda – and the process couldn’t be simpler.

Before you go to bed, just sprinkle a layer of baking soda on the sofa. Then, in the morning, once the powder has had time to work its magic, you simply vacuum up the residue.

The baking soda will neutralise the smell, leaving your sofa fresh and odour-free.

TOP TIP: Place a few droplets of essential oil into the baking soda overnight. This will imbue the sofa with a pleasant scent.

A zesty solution

As the old adage goes, when life gives you lemons, make a natural cleaning solution for your sofa.

Start by squeezing the juice out of a whole lemon into a ¾ full cup of hot water. Dip a cloth or sponge into the solution and wipe the fabric firmly, in a circular motion.

The result is a citrus-fresh sofa!

Let the sunshine in

Sun-soaked cream sofa

Homemade fabric fresheners and cleaning solutions are great at removing bad smells, but don’t underestimate the power of natural elements, too. Namely, sunshine.

The UV rays from natural light will kill the odour-causing bacteria, freshening your sofa with nothing more than an afternoon in the sun. Just move the piece of furniture next to the window and let the sun do all the hard work.

TOP TIP: Delicate sofa fabrics, such as silk, could fade from over-exposure to sunlight. Check with the manufacturer to see whether your sofa is suitable for sunbathing.

Create scented sachets

While many of these techniques are fantastic for freshening-up your sofa, the pleasant scent can often fade and odours do return.

To stave off unpleasant smells for longer, make small sachets of dried flowers or herbs and tuck them under the sofa cushions. Try sprinkling a handful of dried lavender into a handkerchief, pick up the corners and tie them together.

These delightful parcels are just the trick for long-lasting freshness. Easy peasy!

TOP TIP: You can achieve a similar effect with freshener bags of activated charcoal. That’s because charcoal is an effective odour killer and remove smells from the sofa.

If you’ve exhausted all cleaning options and the odour still lingers, it might be time to consult a professional cleaning service or even consider reupholstering your sofa. To give your sofa a new lease of life, take a look at our range of upholstery fabrics. Or if your prone to odours gathering on your sofa consider out machine washable sofa covers available for both 2 seater sofas and 3 seater sofa styles

As a reupholstery specialist, we are experts at sourcing the best fabrics for our customers. However, we are not responsible for any damage caused to sofa fabrics as a result of these methods, or any other cleaning methods.

Sally is the Digital Marketing Manager at Plumbs. Prior to Plumbs, she ran the digital marketing strategy for Johnson’s Cleaners UK. Her interests include home interiors and upcycling, and her favourite show to watch after work is Homes Under the Hammer. Some of the topics she covers on the Plumbs blog include sofa reupholstery and furniture protection.

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