Cleaning a Water Mark off a Sofa

steam cleaning couch

Dog slobber, kid's juice cups, and spilled water can all result in an unsightly ring, or water mark, on your sofa. If you have water marks on your couch, you're probably hoping to get rid of them without calling a professional cleaning service, which can be very expensive. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to clean the sofa yourself before resorting to calling in the pros. Even better, most of these techniques use products you will already have in your home.

spray cleaning couch

Look for the Tag

The tag on your sofa may actually have some helpful hints on how to best wash your couch. It may have a list of cleaning materials to avoid and ones to use as well.

Machine Wash It

The fabric of some couches is actually machine washable. The tag on your couch should say if yours is. If it is, simply unzip it from around the cushions and stick it in your washing machine. It should have washing instructions. If it doesn't, a good rule of thumb is to use cold water to wash it and tumble dry it on low.

Check the Warranty

The pesky little warranty you may have been talked into purchasing for your sofa can come in handy in a situation like this. If you have one, call the company that issued it and have them deal with the stain.

water stains on couch


One easy way to keep your couch dry during the cleaning process is to use a blowdryer. It dries the couch much faster than a paper towel would. As an added bonus, it can help prevent mold growth.


Before you start any other cleaning, you may want to vacuum the stained area. This can loosen particles on the stain and any dirt or grime that has hatched on to the stain since it was made. If the spill is fresh, make sure your vacuum can inhale liquid as well as dirt.

Dish Soap

hand cleaning couch with microfiber

While there are certainly harsher chemicals you can use to clean your couch, starting with dish soap is always a safe bet. You can mix the soap with water and dab it into your sofa. Once you've done this, you can start to gently scrub it with a microfiber cloth.


Vinegar is used in many cleaning projects and should be a staple in your cleaning supply cabinet. You can water down vinegar to dilute it and then used the mixture on your water stain. You can blot it on with a cloth or put the mixture into a spray bottle and spray it on the stain. Either way, once the vinegar is applied, scrub the stained spot softly. After, use a paper towel to absorb the water and prevent a new stain from forming.

Vinegar and Vodka

A step up from just using vinegar, you can use vinegar and vodka. Pour some of both on the couch and blot the stain. Start on the edge and work your way in. This prevents the stain from spreading.

Before you do this on the top of your couch, check it on a hidden corner or the underside of the couch to make sure it will not strip the couch of its color.

baking soda and vinegar by couch

Baking Soda

To use baking soda to clean the stain, wipe down the couch to get the dirt off of it. Put the baking soda on the couch and let it sit for about half an hour. Once it has had time to sit, vacuum it up. If there is still some stain, try using a clean cloth to remove it.

Steam Cleaning

Instead of using a professional steam cleaner, you can actually steam clean the sofa yourself. You can do this by using a steam cleaner you already have at home or renting one from a home improvement store.

Steam helps to loosen the dirt and deep clean your sofa. The high temperature of the heat also kills mold and mildew and other bacteria.