Does the couch smell unpleasant? Then you need to do something quickly to enjoy fresh air again. Find out how to get smell out of couch with home remedies here.

how to get smell out of couch

How to Get Smell Out of New Couch

New upholstered furniture sometimes gives off an intense chemical odor. The background is that the fabrics are treated so that the furniture in the warehouse does not suffer and looks as good as possible when it is sold.

These chemicals have an unpleasant smell and should be removed from furniture as soon as possible. How do you get the smell out of the new couch? Vinegar water made from one part vinegar and two parts water neutralizes the smell of new upholstered furniture.

To clean the upholstery and remove odor, simply wipe the couch with a sponge moistened with vinegar.

How to Remove the Smell of Smoke from Couch

In smokers’ apartments, the fabrics often absorb cigarette and pipe smoke extremely. It is almost impossible to remove the smell of smoke from the sofa.

how to remove the smell of smoke from couch

For sofas and upholstery with a cover made of real leather, it is still quite simple:

They can be wiped with vinegar water or with a cloth moistened with vodka. Since the leather is very resistant and has fine pores, the smell of smoke does not penetrate deep into the upholstery. With fabric surfaces and upholstered furniture, vodka should rather not be used and vinegar water does not penetrate deep enough into the upholstery. The smell of smoke is too deep to be removed.

Our Tip!

The removal of smoke odor should be left to an expert. Often this can only be completely neutralized with what is known as ozone treatment.

How to Remove Oily Smell from Couch

how to remove oily smell from couch 1

All kinds of vapors from the kitchen move through the apartment. Hot oils are particularly stubborn, the smell of which settles in upholstered furniture. The oily smells can often be neutralized with vinegar water.

It can also help to sprinkle the sofa with baking soda and then vacuum off the powder the next day. Oil stains are something different: They can best be removed with a cleaning solution that has an oil-dissolving component. For example gall soap or detergent.

Since such independent attempts at cleaning often end up with discoloration and damage to the upholstery, you should also use professional cleaning by an expert in this case.

How to Get Rid of Cat and Dog Smell from Couch

how to remove cat and dog smell from sofa

It’s such a thing with beloved pets. Around 15 million cats and 6 million dogs live with us humans, many of them in the house or in the apartment. The love is based on reciprocity: The animals like to look for us near and prefer the comfortable corners of the house as we do. Couch, bed, armchair: we find it difficult to forbid animals to use this furniture as a bed.


Cats do not have a strong body odor of their own. The animals are very clean and care for their fur for hours every day. On the other hand, it looks completely different with their excretions.

Cats actually use a litter box, if they get old or if they are stressed, cat urine sometimes ends up on a couch or in other upholstered furniture. In addition, cats often vomit – preferably on a highly absorbent surface. How can you remove cat urine from the couch?


The situation is a little different here: Dogs have their own unique smell. Some less, some more. Damp dog fur can sometimes stink intensely.

A dog blanket that is placed on the couch is no longer enough. The smell naturally penetrates the upholstery over time. Ideally, the dog has “its corner” and does not regularly hog the whole couch. The question arises either way: How do I remove dog odor from the sofa?

First of all, it is helpful to vacuum the upholstered furniture regularly. This way, hair and dirt particles disappear. In addition, the sofa should be cleaned regularly with vinegar water in both cases.

If it is a microfiber material, you should be careful. Read the care instructions carefully and perform a material test. A tried and tested procedure for removing animal odor from microfiber is as follows:

  1. Prepare a cleaning solution with warm water, vinegar, and a few drops of dishwashing liquid and fill it in a spray bottle.
  2. Carefully spray the affected areas and dab lightly with a clean, white cloth in circular movements.
  3. When the fabric is dry, rub gently with a soft horsehair brush. The fibers will loosen, and the fabric looks new.


The dog or (worse) the cat urinated on the couch. Professionally removing cat urine from the cushion is as good as impossible for laypeople, as the liquid has penetrated deeply.

You won’t get any further here with a pure surface treatment. You should always leave the removal of the penetrating, pungent smell to a specialist. The same applies to “man’s best friend”: We also recommend professional services when it comes to removing dog urine from the sofa.

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How to Remove Urine Odor from Couch

Without question, urine on the couch is a real disaster. The smell of urine is perceived as extremely unpleasant, especially if a few days have passed since the mishap. The smell of urine should never come from a sofa. Therefore, should human urine, cat urine, dog urine, or the excrement of other pets get onto the cushion, act quickly.

how to remove urine odor from couch

Anyone can take the first steps themselves immediately:

Use a cloth, kitchen towel, or similar absorbent material to prevent the liquid from penetrating as quickly as possible. Then pat the area dry while pressing firmly on the cushion. In the first step, you will pull out a lot of moisture.

If you were quick and no large amounts of urine have penetrated the deeper layers of upholstery, it is sometimes sufficient to treat the area with a solution of water, vinegar, and dishwashing liquid and then wipe it again thoroughly with water.

However, if urine has penetrated deeper layers of your couch or sofa, you should contact an expert immediately. Speed ​​is required here, because the fresher the spot, the easier it is to remove.

Specialists used a special device and surfactant-free enzyme cleaners for this. The latter is based on the principle of micro-splitting, i.e. they dissolve organic excretion. The combination of technology and the natural product has been tried and tested in removing urine odors from upholstery and is very promising.

How to Remove Stubborn Sweat Odor from Upholstery

At best, fresh sweat smells slightly sour, a strong sweat odor only arises when bacteria on the skin break down the sweat into its individual components: Long-chain fatty acids are broken down, among other things, into butyric acid that smells of rancid butter, which also mixes with some skin fat. This smell is deposited in (sports) clothing, towels, and also in socks.

how to remove sweat smell from couch

From the body or from the said items of clothing, this smell also finds its way into frequently used seating: At some point, the smell of sweat emanates from the couch or sofa. The best way to remove it is to spread baking soda over a large area on the upholstery.

After a reasonable exposure time of several hours, remove the powder thoroughly with a vacuum cleaner. The first solution is a solution of vinegar and water (at least two parts). This allows you to remove the smell of sweat from upholstery.

How to Remove Musty Odor from Couch

Fabrics attract humidity and keep it for a long time. A musty smell develops over time, especially inside upholstered furniture. But how can you remove this musty smell from upholstered furniture?

First of all, it is important to have the sofa, couch and other upholstered furniture only in well-ventilated rooms. The air must be able to circulate so that the moisture can also escape. Otherwise the sofa will soon not only smell musty, but will actually mold from the inside out.

how to remove musty odor from couch

If there is an external musty odor, treatment with baking soda, provided the upper material allows it, can be very promising. To do this, simply sprinkle the sofa with at least 200g of soda powder at regular intervals in the evening. Let the powder stay on the upholstery overnight and vacuum off the next day.

Baking soda removes moisture from the upholstery and “kills” the microorganisms that are responsible for the musty smell.

However, you should never carry out this procedure without consulting the manufacturer or an expert with regard to applicability.

If mold has actually formed in the core of the sofa due to, for example, long storage of the sofa in a damp basement or garage, which has penetrated the whole sofa from time to time, it is very likely that even a professional will no longer be able to help.

How to Remove the Smell of Milk in Upholstery

Not only families with children know this: Leftovers end up next to the plate or are smeared over the hands on tables and chairs, the chocolate not only melts in the mouth but especially in the hands of the little ones.

It is no different with liquids: Soda, tea, and milk are distributed around the house. Often some of it spills onto the couch. Such mishaps often go unnoticed for a long time. The milk begins to ferment, and bacterial decomposition processes produce malodorous lactic acid. How can the sour milk smell be removed from upholstery?

spilled milk 1

It is best to act before the typical smell of sour milk spreads. To do this, dab the spilled milk off the couch or armchair as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is to use a kitchen towel. Do not rub, as this will usually bring the milk deeper into the fabric.

4 Easy Homemade Carpet Cleaner for Pet Stains

However, if the stain is already dry, it should be carefully moistened again. Water alone is not enough because milk contains fatty components. Add some commercially available dishwashing liquid (no caustic special agents!) to the water or use a mixture of water, a little vinegar, and a few drops of dishwashing liquid.

If a pungent odor of sour milk has settled, professional cleaning is necessary. Then, do contact a specialist.

How to Remove the Smell of Coffee from the Couch

how to remove smell of coffee from couch 1

Is the refrigerator grumpy, the bathroom smelly, or a bad smell pouring out of the inside of the car? Then, coffee powder is a suitable home remedy. Just put some ground coffee in a bowl and place it near the hearth of bad odors and wait. Because ground coffee has moisture-binding properties and thus absorbs bad smells.

A high-quality product does not have to be used for this, the cheapest brand from the discounter will always do it. To some extent, smells from upholstery can also be absorbed in this way.

For this, similar to the use of baking soda, sprinkle some coffee powder on the couch or sofa and let it work for a few hours. Then vacuum again. The coffee-typical and not unpleasant smell disappears by itself at some point.

This is not the case with coffee stains caused by brewed coffee. If you immediately notice that the coffee has been spilled, wipe it out quickly with water and a little dishwashing liquid. This prevents the brown edges that appear when the liquid has dried up.

Mixed coffee drinks, on the other hand, are more persistent. They often contain milk or fatty flavorings. To remove them, it helps to use an aqueous solution to which a little mild dishwashing liquid or a little vinegar has been added. This neutralizes the smell of coffee and the smell of old milk.

How to Get Rid of Vomit Smell from Couch

Someone is sick or ate something bad and then it happens: vomit has gotten onto the couch or sofa and threatens to penetrate the upholstery. We can only imagine a few smells worse than the sour smell of vomit.

how to get rid of vomit smell from couch 1

How do you remove this odor from the couch? Once the vomit has set, it is very difficult to get it out of the fabric.

If a pet or family member has vomited on the sofa, the gruel of semi-digested food should be removed immediately. Stomach acid is responsible for the characteristic sour smell. You can smell it even if the vomit is rather thin.

Be that as it may, acting quickly is now absolutely the order of the day. Similar to all liquids (see urine and milk) there is a risk that the vomit and thus its smell will penetrate deep into the upholstery.

With a rag, kitchen towel, or similar absorbent material, you should prevent the lumpy components and the liquid from penetrating as quickly as possible. Then pat the area dry while pressing firmly on the cushion. In the first step, you will pull out a lot of moisture.

If you have acted at lightning speed and no larger amounts of the acidic liquid have penetrated into the deeper layers of cushioning, it may be sufficient to treat the area with a solution of water, vinegar, and dishwashing liquid and then wipe it again thoroughly with water. But there will probably still be some smell left behind.

You can read about this further in our article “How to Get Rid of Vomit Smell

When it Makes Sense to Use a Steam Cleaner

steam cleaner

Not all odors and stains can be removed from upholstery using the home remedies mentioned above. This is because often enough the dirt is simply too deep in the upholstery, and so superficial cleaning is simply not enough.

A steam cleaner creates a jet of hot water vapor. There are therefore 2 problems here – the relatively high temperature and the large amount of water. The temperature can damage the fabrics and the water creates the risk of extremely soaking the upholstered furniture.

Therefore, you should use a steam cleaner very carefully to remove small but stubborn stains. To do this, it is best to set the lowest steam level and use a brush nozzle with a microfiber cloth stretched over it.

How to Get Rid of Vomit Smell Completely in 15 Minutes

Many advertisements promise again and again that mites, pathogens, and bacteria will be completely killed. This is not the case, because the steam cleaner cannot be pressed into one place long enough for that.

A wet vacuum cleaner is much more suitable for some upper materials. A wet vacuum cleaner sprays a mixture of cleaning solution and water into the upholstery via its nozzle and sucks it out again almost simultaneously with great force. Contaminants, mites, bacteria, etc. move quickly and without leaving any residue directly into a dirty water tank.

wet vacuum cleaner 1

This not only results in an intensive superficial cleaning of the upholstery material, but also in-depth cleaning down to the deep inside of the upholstery. This is especially necessary for types of stains such as urine, vomit, or other liquid stains. In addition, due to the strong suction effect, little moisture remains in the piece of furniture, which can dry off relatively quickly.

When using a wet vacuum cleaner, it is advisable to clean the entire sofa right away. This means that there are no unsightly color differences between treated and untreated surfaces. It is also important to know that cheap rental equipment is nowhere near as powerful as professional equipment.

This often means that a satisfactory cleaning result can only be achieved in the rarest of cases.

Our Tip!

We generally advise against using a steam cleaner. The use of a spray extraction device leads to the best results with professional application and with the use of a professional device in combination with powerful cleaning agents.

In the event of odor problems, an expert will always carry out an odor neutralization beforehand in order to successfully bind the odorous substances before the actual deep cleaning. Only if odors can be bound in advance can they be successfully removed from the upholstery.

Independent cleaning attempts with products from, for example, drugstores lead to a short-term covering of the smells – but only in the rarest cases to complete removal of the unpleasant smells.


The smells are omnipresent again after a very short time. If you have serious odor problems that arise from the depths of the sofa, you should definitely leave the treatment to an expert with professional cleaning agents and machines.

Summary: 8 Best Tips How to Get Smell Out of Couch

  1. Prevent odors. Only smoke outdoors, keep the kitchen door closed while cooking, and only allow pets on the sofa with a blanket underneath.
  1. Vacuum the sofa regularly and, in particular, remove crumbs from the spaces in between.
  1. For a fresh smell, wipe the surfaces of upholstered furniture regularly with a cloth dampened in vinegar.
  1. Dab stains immediately, especially with liquid stains react quickly before they can be absorbed.
  1. If you have special smells such as nicotine, urine or vomit, it is best to contact an expert.
  1. We advise against using a steam cleaner, as the risk of permanent damage to the cleaning object is too high.
  1. If the sofa has a musty smell, it may be that the cause is mold growth on the inside of the set! Mold cannot be removed from the upholstery and endanger your health!

Final Words

A bad smell on the sofa or a musty-smelling couch is extremely unpleasant and often cannot be removed with normal cleaning methods. A very thorough cleaning of the upholstery with odor-neutralizing detergents can help.

spraying sofa 1

You can try inexpensive home remedies to remove simpler odors from your sofa or other upholstered furniture.

A solution of vinegar and water and, in some cases, baking soda has proven to be particularly effective: The fine white powder should be sprinkled over the cushions over a large area. It can pull the moisture out of the upholstery overnight, binds the odors with the moisture, and lets the upholstery smell pleasantly fresh again.

But when it comes to deep-seated and very penetrating smells such as urine, vomit, nicotine, milk or oil, washing the upholstery with a vinegar-water mixture may help. With these very intense, deep-seated fragrances, only a very thorough cleaning is promising.

We advise against unauthorized attempts with the steam cleaner, because many upholstery do not tolerate treatment with the hot steam and the upper material is almost always permanently damaged. Instead, we recommend professional cleaning by experts. With special cleaning agents and machines, (almost) any contamination and odor nuisance can be successfully removed.

In addition, you can of course always use special cleaning agents such as enzyme cleaners, nicotine cleaners or cleaning agents for leather upholstery – these sometimes help even if the home remedies fail.

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