How To Get Mildew Smell Out Of Couch With Ease: 2 Basic Ways

As the home’s favorite lounge area, a couch faces a lot of traffic including fungi. Learn how to get mildew smell out of couch so you can continue enjoying your stink-free couch.

A household couch is a magnet to various odors, regardless of the type of upholstery. Everything from the smell of your dog to the smell of the snacks that you munch.

how to get mildew smell out of couch


2 Ways To Get Rid of Mildew Smell On Your Couch

A couch that has been stored for a while or has gotten wet, is prone to mildew growth. Mildew smells musty and is definitely not the type of odor to let you sit cozy on your couch.


Method #1. Using water-based deodorizers


Step #1. See the care tag

The first thing you have to do is to check what your couch is made of. It will determine what type of cleaning is applicable to do.

Typically, the tag will show W (wet/water cleaning), S (dry solvent cleaning), SW (solvent and/or wet cleaning), or X (vacuuming or professional cleaning). Take note of the label to avoid damaging your couch with your cleaning.


Step #2. Clean the removable covers

If the care tag shows W or SW, throw in the removable covers to a washer. If it is not the case, you can just use a vacuum to clean them.


Step #3. Steam the stains clean

If the tag says you can clean the couch with water, you can use steam on cleaning it. Set your iron to the steam-setting and run it over the stained spots of your couch.


Step #4. Mix white vinegar with your deodorizer

Buying deodorizers from stores sure is not a bad idea. However, it will also be good and convenient to make your own.

The solution will depend on the type of upholstery your couch is made of. Regardless of the material, prepare a spraying bottle and white vinegar.

  • For fabric, mix 1 cup of water, ½ cup of rubbing alcohol, and 1/2 cup of white vinegar.
  • For leather, mix ¼ cup of white vinegar and ½ cup of olive oil.
  • For synthetic material, mix 1 cup of water, ½ cup of white vinegar, and a splash of dish soap.

If desired, you can add some drops of lavender oil or lemon juice to all the solutions to create a fresh scent. Shake the bottle well and your DIY deodorizer is ready to use!


Step #5. Allow a good airflow

Although you are not using toxic chemicals, the smell of the solution may still be overwhelming if used in a closed room. To avoid this, open your windows and doors to allow fresh air to flow throughout the house.


Step #6. Spray the couch with the deodorizer

To avoid soaking the upholstery, hold the bottle at about 1 foot away as you spray. Focus on the areas of bad odor or if you can’t specify, spray the entire couch.


Step #7. Wipe the couch

With a soft and dry absorbent cloth, wipe the couch. Use gentle motions to soak up any liquid that has not yet dried or been absorbed.


Step #8. Dry the couch

To make sure that no mold or mildew will grow back on your couch, make sure to dry it thoroughly. You can either let it dry under the sun or point a fan on it.


Method #2. Waterless deodorizing


Step #1. Blot up the liquid quickly

If a stinky liquid has wet your couch, you’d want to blot it up quickly with a paper towel. It will give the liquid less time to absorb into the couch.


Step #2. Vacuum the pillows and cushions

Use a hand-held vacuum to clean your couch cushions and pillows. Make sure to vacuum both sides of the removable cushions.


Step #3. Clean the whole couch with a vacuum

You can use either a hand-held vacuum or the brush attachment of your regular vacuum. Make sure to clean every nook and cranny to get rid of any dust or dirt that may accumulate.


Step #4. Use baking soda on stains

Sprinkle some baking soda on the stained spots of the couch and let it sit for no less than an hour. The baking soda has the power to dissolve stains and get rid of the stinky smell.


Step #5. Use a dry cleaning agent

If the above techniques did not work at all, try using a dry cleaning agent.

For more guides about couch cleaning, try reading this article on how to remove mildew stains from outdoor cushions. If you want cleaning instructions for furniture in general, you can check out this article on how to remove mildew smell from furniture.



We hate to say this, but if you have tried the tips we provided, and yet your couch still smells musty, you’ll have to get rid of it. Any furniture that’s stinky can be germy.

Since you have learned how to get mildew smell out of couch and even got some bonus tips, you’ll certainly enjoy a fresh-smelling lounge zone.

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