A Complete Guide to Choosing Between DIY and Professional Couch Cleaning

Jenna Jonaitis
Written by Jenna Jonaitis
Updated April 18, 2022
A happy family on a couch
Photo: NDABCREATIVITY / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Cleaning your couch yourself can save you money and give you a quicker turnaround.

  • You may need special tools and supplies to clean your couch yourself.

  • A professional cleaner can do a more thorough job and ensure your couch doesn’t get damaged.

  • A pro can help you maintain the beauty and longevity of your couch.

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Fresh, clean furniture not only looks great, it feels great, and cleaning helps your furniture last longer. Your nightly reality TV watching gets a lot better when you’re lounging on a spotless couch, we promise. 

You may know that you can choose to clean your couch yourself or hire a professional to handle leather and upholstery cleaning—but which should you choose? Learn about the pros and cons of each option to help you decide. 

DIY Couch Cleaning Pros & Cons ​

Cleaning a couch yourself takes time, attention, and the right tools and supplies. This DIY project can give you a sense of accomplishment, but is it the right path for you? 

Pros

  • Can save you money: Cleaning your couch yourself can save you anywhere from $80 to $180, depending on the size of your couch and the cost of labor in your area.

  • Teaches you how to maintain your furniture: By learning about your couch and how to clean it, you’re more likely to give your sofa regular maintenance. 

  • Offers a quicker turnaround: If you want to spruce up your furniture before having guests this weekend, a DIY couch clean can help you get ready faster. You won’t need to wait to get on a cleaner’s schedule.    

  • Can have a big impact quickly: Depending on your couch’s age and its condition, cleaning it yourself can offer big improvements with the right products and an hour of your time. At the end of it all, you’ll definitely have a feeling of accomplishment.

Cons

  • May not give your couch as deep of a clean: A professional knows how to get all the dust, pet hair, and spills out of your furniture. On your own, the couch might not look or be as clean. It can be especially hard to remove stains

  • Takes time and precision: Cleaning a couch yourself can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the size, type of fabric, and how long it’s been since its last clean. 

  • Can incur damage: If you soak your upholstered couch with a steamer and the water sits too long, you can get a mildew smell on your furniture. Or, if you use the wrong chemical on your leather couch, it could permanently damage the fabric. Depending on your couch’s quality, cleaning it yourself may not be worth the risk. 

  • May require special equipment: You might need to rent or buy a steam cleaner or spot cleaner to clean your upholstery. 

Professional Couch Cleaning Pros & Cons​

A closeup of a vacuum cleaning a couch
Photo: Jaroslav Moravcik / Adobe Stock

A local furniture cleaner rids your couch of all dust, dirt, pet hair, stains, and more with ease. They are specially trained to handle all types of materials and have the right machinery to do the job. If you have beautiful furniture you want to be sure you won’t damage, or if you don’t have the time and energy to clean your couch, a pro might be the route for you. 

Pros

  • Gives your couch a deeper clean: Professionals know how to get out every last bit of dust, germs, and build-up with the right tools and cleaning products. They can remove stains and leave your furniture looking new. 

  • Ensures your couch doesn’t get damaged: Because of their special training and equipment, a pro ensures your upholstered or leather furniture won’t get ruined in the process. 

  • Saves you time: Rather than dedicating a Saturday morning to cleaning your couch, you can have a professional handle it for you. 

  • Helps longevity of your couch: With the right care and cleaning, your furniture will last longer, saving you both time and money. 

Cons

  • More expensive: Hiring a professional cleaner to clean your couch costs $200 on average—approximately $20 to $120 more than doing it yourself.

  • May not be available right away: If you need your couch cleaned on short notice, you might not be able to find a pro who’s available. 

  • You’ll have to be home: You’ll need to be available to let the cleaner into your home and show them the furniture. Of course, you’ll also need to be present when cleaning the couch yourself.

  • Won’t give you practice cleaning your furniture: By hiring a professional upholstery cleaner, you won’t necessarily gain the knowledge of understanding your furniture and how to care for it. However, you can still ask your pro for tips on how to maintain your couch in between cleanings. 

DIY vs. Professional Sofa Cleaning

Whether to clean your couch yourself or hire someone isn’t always a clear-cut decision. Check out these key factors to determine if you should clean your couch yourself or hire a professional furniture cleaning pro based on your type of couch, the cost, and more. 

Appearance​

A professional has the tools, supplies, and know-how to have your couch looking good as new. No matter the material, they understand how to lift dust, debris, stains, and more. A deep, intense clean by a professional will reap better results than a DIY job. 

Best appearance: Your couch will look markedly better after professional upholstery cleaning, especially if there are stains or significant dirt.

Cost

On average, you’ll save $80 to $180 cleaning your couch yourself, but the project will take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. You may have to rent a steam cleaner ($35 to $50), or a spot cleaner ($120 on average). 

Professional cleaning and maintenance can increase your couch’s lifespan, allowing you to save money in the long run.

Least expensive: DIY cleaning is the most cost-effective, but it must be done right to protect your investment and ensure your couch lasts as long as possible. 

Ease and Time

Having a professional clean your sofa involves minimal effort. After vetting a few pros and scheduling the best one for you, the work is nearly done.

Easiest: Professional cleaning. Now you can spend your Saturday with your family (just be sure to stick around the house). 

Length of Life​

Cleaning your couch properly can help maintain its longevity and ensure it remains in great condition for many years to come. Getting a professional to clean your couch can help extend your couch’s life, but with the right DIY care, you can get this same benefit. 

Offers most longevity: Professional cleaning has the edge here, but even DIY cleaning can increase your couch’s life.  

ROI

Cleaning your couch can help you enjoy lounging at home and hosting guests. It also ensures your couch stays in great condition. 

A professional cleaning can keep your furniture in even better shape, allowing you to save on buying furniture in the future. But cleaning your couch yourself is still a good investment of time and money.

Best return on investment: Cleaning your couch, in general, is a good investment, but professional cleaning takes the edge on ensuring your furniture stays looking top-notch. 

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