how to remove odor from furniture fabric
Kristina Davis

This blog will help you with how to remove odor from furniture fabric, but we’ll also talk about how to remove odor from wood furniture. That way, you can ‘defunkify’ your couch or other wooden furniture legs too.

Over time and use, fabric or upholstered furniture in your house like couches, chairs, and mattresses can accumulate dirt, food crumbs, grease, and sweat. This combination produces a putrid stench if left unchecked. House smells can grow stronger and more undesirable if an infant or pet has accidents on furniture.

In case you’re wondering why my couch smells like body odor, know that no matter what the upholstery is made of, your furniture fabric is like a magnet for all kinds of household smells. That includes your body odor, urine, sweat, cigarettes (if you’re a smoker or live with one,) and rotting bits of food or beverage you might’ve split on it.

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Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get rid of these unpleasant smells. Keep in mind that your cleaning methods will depend on the fabric you’re treating.

Creating a Deodorizer at Home

Deodorizers are used to get rid of or conceal foul smells from objects. You don’t necessarily have to go for an industrial solution; you can easily make one of these at home. Before you rush off to douse your sofa in solutions, check the care tag to see what it’s made of.

Some materials commonly used in furniture include fabric, microfiber cloth, polyester, or leather, and they each have distinct cleaning requirements.


tags furniture fabric

Let’s decode some tags and the type of cleaning they will require:


This means clean with water only. Your cleaning solution could include water or vinegar.

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This means absolutely no water. You’ll need cleaning compounds solvents like baking soda, or you’ll need to call a professional.


This means you can clean it, either way—wet or dry.


This means it should be professionally cleaned or vacuumed only. Don’t try to clean this with home solutions.

A water and vinegar solution makes for the best homemade deodorizer so far. But depending on the material type, the proportions and ingredients vary:


If your furniture has a typical fabric material, you’ll need 1 cup water, ½ cup white vinegar, and ½ cup rubbing alcohol. Mix the contents and add them to a spray bottle.                                                                                                 


If water permeates leather, it can make your leather sofa stiff. Your deodorizer should be made with 1 cup olive oil, ½ cup white vinegar, and orange essential oil (optional) for a leather couch. Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle.                                                                                       


Microfiber can be a tricky material to clean. If you’re stuck on how to get smells out of microfiber couch, here’s an effective deodorizer recipe for you. Mix 1 cup of warm water, ½ cup white vinegar, and a few essential oil drops of your choice. Add some dish soap, and this potent combination will help neutralize all smells.

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How to Remove Odor from Furniture Fabric – Wet Cleaning

wet clean furniture fabric

Step #1 – Check Your Care Tag

Always remember to check the care tag to ensure your furniture material can be cleaned with liquids.

Step #2 – Remove and Wash the Cover

If your couch or mattress has a removable cover, that will make cleaning easier as the cover can be washed separately. Take it off and spin for at least two cycles in your washing machine or wash it manually.                                                                                                   

Step #3 – Vacuum the Surface  

If your couch or mattress does not have a removable cover or after you’ve taken off the cover, give the surface a good vacuum. This will remove loose dirt and any large odor-causing particles, giving the furniture material a good pre-emptive purifying.                                                                                          

Step #4 – Clean with Steam  

Go back to your care tag and check for a W or SW as this means you can give your couch material a steam-cleaning. Use a vaporizer or iron on the steam function to cover the entire surface with steam. This will dissolve most stubborn odor particles clinging to the surface, making them easier to remove later on.                                                  

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Step #5 – Mix and Create Your Deodorizer   

You can mix and create your deodorizer at home using the ingredients and compounds we listed before. The proportions of each vary depending on your furniture material. Use the deodorizer recipes above corresponding to your material type and add them to a spray bottle for easy use.

Step #6 – Open the Windows

Switch on your fan or open the nearest window to get some ventilation going. It’s not that the deodorizer you’ve made is toxic, but since it contains vinegar, the smell can be a little overwhelming till it dries. Having some airflow makes it easier to stand being in the room and helps the upholstery material dry faster.

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Step #7 – Lightly Spray Your Deodorizer

Hold the spray bottle away from the couch, so you don’t soak the upholstery. If there’s a spot with a foul odor you want to focus on, spray more generously on that area. Make sure you spray across the entire couch and spray evenly if you can’t locate the source of the smell. The sofa may smell of vinegar for a while, but after the vinegar dries, it will leave a subtle fruity fragrance.

Step #8 – Wipe the Couch Clean

Use a clean and absorbent rag or cloth to gently wipe away any excess deodorizer on the surface of your upholstery. While these liquids are great for deodorizing, anything wet will leave stains on your fabric. So, remember to dry after you spray. If you have a microfiber or fabric couch, use paper towels. If you’ve got a leather couch, use a microfiber cloth since your deodorizer would be oil-based.

Step #9 – Set it to Dry

Once you’re done, set the couch cushions or mattress to dry under the sun or a fan. Make sure it dries completely to avert any mildew formation.

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How to Remove Odor from Furniture Fabric – Dry Cleaning

dry clean furniture fabric

If your material care tag prohibits water or any liquid usage in cleaning, here’s how to get body odor out of couch with a non-water-based deodorizer.

#1 – Blot Stains with a Paper Towel

If your pet had an accident on a couch cushion or carpet, the first thing you’ll want to do is use newspaper or dry paper towels to clean. Blot, don’t rub.

#2 – Vacuum the Surface and Body

Give the upholstery a thorough vacuum clean to get rid of settled dust and dirt particles deep within the material’s fibers. If you’re treating couch cushions, ensure you clean both sides of the cushion.

Use a brush attachment on your hand vacuum or larger vacuum. That way, you’ll reach all the nooks and crannies above and below the couch. Remember to remove and clean under the cushions. The odor could be coming from anywhere and everywhere. So again, it’s best to be thorough.

#3 – Sprinkle Baking Soda

Baking soda is the best water-free deodorizer. Remove the couch cushions and lay them down somewhere clean and dry. Sprinkle handfuls of baking soda on the entire pillow—top and bottom. Let the powder sit overnight. It will slowly absorb all the odor particles and dissolve any ugly stains, giving your couch a cleaner appearance the next day.

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#4 – Vacuum Residual Powder

The vacuum will suck up the leftover residue from the baking soda and odor particles in the material. If your couch cushions have covers, remove the covers and vacuum the pillow on the inside as well. You’re now good to go!

How to Remove Odor from Wood Furniture

Since wood is absorbent, it soaks stray liquids. Eventually, your furniture wood produces a nasty, lingering smell. There are a few fantastic ways to remove odors from wood. We’ll share a few ideas here.

Commercial Cleaners

If you’re in a rush, opt for commercial cleaners. Commercial cleaners are best for stubborn odors. Alternatively, you could dip a rag in ammonia and use that to clean your wooden furniture. Make sure you use a dampened cloth to wipe away the ammonia after you’re done.

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Before you dig up any old cleaner, check if it is suitable for the type of wood you’re treating. For instance, if your furniture is made from laminate wood, you’ll need a laminate cleaner, like this one.

Olive Oil and Vinegar

This is a simple yet effective combination that’s yielded positive results for many homeowners. Mix two teaspoons of olive oil with a pint of white vinegar (or use the ratio 1:24 and mix accordingly depending on how much you need to make) and add it to a spray bottle.

Shake the bottle before you spray the wooden surfaces. Let the droplets set for a while and absorb the odor before you wipe it off with a microfiber cloth.

Seal the Wood

Here’s a creative alternative—maybe you don’t need to clean the wood. Since you’re trying to get rid of the odor, you can do that and restore your furniture’s shine with a nice thick coat of dewaxed shellac.

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