Sectional sofas are great pieces of furniture that allow your whole family or a group of friends to pile up together or relax. They are available in a wide variety of shapes and can include an array of features, from reclining components to built-in storage. However, one thing that virtually all sectional sofas have in common is that they are very difficult to clean under.
How should you clean under a sectional sofa? To thoroughly clean under your sectional sofa, you will need to move or tip each section, allowing you to vacuum, dust, and/or mop the surface that lies underneath.
Most of us can agree that cleaning under a sectional sofa can be one of the most annoying and challenging household chores. Getting under there as much as you can during routine vacuuming or sweeping can take care of the accumulated debris up to an inch or two under the edge of your sofa. Still, you really just end up banging into your furniture and pushing dirt and dust further under to deal with later. But, in the remainder of this article, we will discuss how you can easily get into those hard-to-reach crevices underneath.
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How to Clean Under a Sectional Sofa
When taking on a job like this, it can be helpful to break it up into smaller portions that help you make the most of your time, so you have extra time to relax and enjoy your sectional sofa. The following steps will walk you through the best way to clean under this popular piece of furniture.
Step 1: Clean the Sectional Sofa
Sectional sofas have many nooks, crannies, and cushions where crumbs and stray objects can be hidden. Before cleaning under your sectional sofa, you should thoroughly clean the couch itself, including between and under the cushions.
Vacuum all surfaces of the sofa to remove dust or pet hair. Disconnect the sections (if they come apart) and thoroughly clean the areas where they connect.
If you skip this initial step of cleaning your sofa, debris could fall out onto your clean floor when you are moving your sectional sofa back in place, negating your hard work on this project. Besides, you could even find a bonus; many people report recovering long lost keys and remote controls when cleaning out sofas, not to mention spare change.
Step 2: Make Your Sofa Easy to Move
Whether you are doing it solo or have someone helping you, moving a sectional sofa takes some preparation. Here are some ideas that can make your sectional sofa easier to move.
- Consider purchasing a set of furniture glider castors. These nifty devices make it easy for your sectional to glide across carpeted areas. They can also protect a hard floor surface from getting scratched during the move. Place a glider under each leg of the sectional sofa that comes in direct contact with the floor.
- Remove cushions, decorative pillows, throw blankets, and anything else that could fall and cause a trip hazard for you while moving.
- Check for stray phones or other devices that could fall off the sofa and become damaged during the move.
- If your sectional sofa has cupholders, be sure to clear them of any water bottles or beverages to avoid creating a secondary mess that will lead to additional cleaning.
Step 3: Prepare Yourself
This may seem silly, but you need to prepare yourself for what you might find beneath your sectional sofa, especially if you have not cleaned under it in a while. Along with sizeable dust bunnies, you could discover old food that was dropped down there in the past, phones, remotes, other devices, or the nests of spiders, bugs, or rodents.
If you are allergic to dust, other airborne particles, or have respiratory sensitivity, it is a good idea to wear a mask to protect you from possible inhalation of dirt, pet dander, or critter droppings.
It only takes a couple of weeks for unwanted pests to make their home in spots that are less frequented by humans or pets in your home. You may find yourself face to face with a spider or two. If this happens, do not panic! You might be tempted to squish it with a shoe on sight, but if you would rather find it a new home, simply slide a piece of cardboard under it to transfer it outside.
Step 4: Move the Sectional Sofa
Now you are ready to move the sectional sofa so you can clean under it. The best way to accomplish this step depends on the type of couch you have.
Sectional Sofas Placed Against a Wall
For sectional sofas with angles that are against a wall, disconnect the sofa’s sections (hopefully, you already did this when cleaning it).
Because the standard triangle-shaped portion of a sectional sofa is especially difficult to clean under, it is essential to disassemble it if you really want to do the job right. Once you have taken the sectional apart and placed a gliding caster under each leg, simply slide each section out away from the wall so you can get in there to clean.
The Lift Option
Some people prefer to lift each leg of the sectional and place something under to prop them up. With this option, you are basically moving the sofa vertically, leaving enough space underneath for a vacuum and/or dust mop to clean the floor.
Note: There’s a risk involved in lifting, propping up your sofa, and cleaning under it, as it could fall off the props and injure you or anyone else nearby.
Sectional Sofas Placed in the Middle of a Room
The easiest way to move a sofa that is already located a reasonable distance away from a wall is to disconnect each section and then tip each one forward, allowing you to clean the floor underneath.
To accomplish this, stand behind each sofa section and slowly lean it forward so that the headrest is in direct contact with the floor. This tipping method also allows you to clean the bottom part of the sofa itself. (You might as well do that while you have the chance! Think about how long it has been since you have cleaned the underside of your furniture. There’s probably a good amount of dust and debris.)
Regardless of your method of moving, sectional sofas and even their components can be very heavy. You do not want to injure yourself in the name of cleanliness! Consider recruiting someone to help you move the sectional sofa for this project. Alternatively, you could use a dolly to make this part of the task more manageable.
Step 5: Clean the Floor
Now it is time to take care of that primary goal: actually cleaning the floor under your sectional sofa. Again, different methods work best for different types of floors.
Cleaning a Carpeted Floor
If your floor is carpeted, thoroughly vacuum the area that usually lies under your sectional sofa. Since it is typical for stuff to accumulate under furniture, you will need to take your time. You might have to empty the collection chamber or bag to make sure your vacuum maintains good suction to remove all the material.
Cleaning Hard Surfaces
For hard surface floors, you can use a vacuum if your particular vacuum cleaner is equipped with a specific hard floor function. Otherwise, use a broom and dustpan to remove everything you can. Then follow up with a dust mop or dusting tool.
In addition, it is recommended that you also mop your hard surface floor while you are back there to make sure you have taken care of dirt and debris that you possibly could not have seen when dusting or sweeping.
Step 6: Return Your Room to Normal
Once the floor that is usually under your sectional sofa is sparkling fresh and clean, it is time to return your furniture back to its normal placement.
For carpeted surfaces, the carpet that is usually directly under the legs or furniture castors will likely be compressed and show indentions. Before repositioning the furniture, fluff up those areas to restore them if you can to restore the carpet’s pile.
Also, you might consider making a slight adjustment to the sofa’s position so that it rests in a different spot each time you clean. This will give the carpet a chance to fluff itself back up over time, extending the overall life of your carpet.
For hard surface floors that you mopped, make sure they are completely dry before replacing your sectional sofa into its original location to avoid creating a mark. Make sure you have some kind of soft protection, such as felt furniture sliders, under each of the legs to prevent your sofa from scratching and damaging your floor. This would be a great time to install these if you have not done so already.
How Often Should You Clean Under Your Sectional Sofa?
We all know that regular cleaning under your sofa is necessary, but how often should you vacuum or dust/mop underneath it?
According to the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, you should clean under your sofa every three to six months. (See their helpful Definitive Cleaning Schedule for practical advice regarding how often you should clean everything in your home.)
However, there are some exceptions to the three to six months rule for under the sofa cleaning.
- Obviously, if you can see dirt and debris under your sectional sofa, that’s a clear sign that it is time to clean under it.
- If someone in your family has allergies, you should clean under your sofa more often, even as frequently as once a week.
- If you have a pet that sheds a lot, you will want to clean under your sectional sofa at least once per month to avoid an accumulation of hair and dander.
- If your sectional sofa is located near your front door or patio door, outside dirt and dust will likely make its way in and wind up collecting under it. In this case, cleaning underneath it every two to three weeks works best.
Quick Cleaning Between Deep Clean Sessions
There’s no getting around it, deep cleaning underneath your sectional sofa can be quite a production—a project that you will not be motivated to take on very often. But you might find yourself in a position when guests are coming, allergies are flaring, or you notice dirt under your sectional sofa at a time when you are not able to do the deep clean.
Here are some clever hacks for a quick swiping of the dust and dirt in between deep cleaning sessions under your sectional sofa:
- Use an extension arm on your vacuum to reach as far under your sectional sofa as you possibly can. You probably will not be able to sweep up all the dirt, but it will remove a lot of it (at least what is visible), and this works in a pinch.
- For hard floor surfaces, use a dusting gadget such as a Swiffer, with an extension that allows you to sweep under the sectional sofa. It will work better than a broom or a dust mop and can help remove most of the collected dust. You probably will not be able to reach 100 percent of the surface under your sofa, but it is an excellent temporary fix.
- If you do not own a Swiffer, here is a great DIY hack for dusting the hard floor surface under your sectional sofa if you do not have a device designed for that purpose: Place a sock over the end of a yardstick, spray the sock with a hard surface cleaner or dusting spray. Then, use the yardstick to wipe the floor under the sofa. Again, it will not be a thorough clean of this area, but this will help reduce debris until you can deep clean.
- Extreme option! Believe it or not, some people may opt for the radical choice of a leaf blower* to quickly remove dust, dirt, and anything else that might be hiding under the sectional sofa. This method consists of using the implement to just blow everything out from under the sectional sofa.
*Note: There’s a caveat to this method. If you decide to try the leaf blower option, you can skip cleaning your couch beforehand, as we suggested in the steps above. Blowing dirt will travel around the room and land on your sectional sofa as well as other surfaces in the room when you use the leaf blower. It will definitely clear the area under your couch but will transfer the dirt to other places that you will have to clean later.
How to Avoid Respiratory Issues While Cleaning Under Your Sofa
It might sound like the best excuse of all time for avoiding the drudgery of housework, but if you inhale or come in contact with accumulated dust and mold underneath your sectional sofa while cleaning, it could actually make you ill.
If you have asthma or are sensitive to dust or mold, you should wear a mask while cleaning, as mentioned above, but should also consider taking these additional measures to avoid respiratory flare-ups during cleaning:
- Replace the carpet under your sectional sofa with a hard floor surface that is easily cleaned and will not harbor allergens, mold, or other irritants.
- Engage in smart vacuuming. Vacuum cleaners equipped with a HEPA filter (high-efficiency particulate air filter) use minute fiberglass particles to trap allergens that can enter your home. Investing in a vacuum with a HEPA filter is worthwhile for anyone with respiratory issues.
- When cleaning hard floor surfaces underneath your sectional sofa, be sure to use a dust mop or cloth made of microfiber that captures and traps the dust, rather than scooting it around. If you do not have a microfiber cloth, you can slightly dampen the end of your dust mop to make sure your trapping and removing the dust as your cleaning and not sending it into the air.
- Consider moving potted plants located around your sectional sofa to another place in the room. They not only can contribute to clutter by dropping dead leaves that can make their way under your couch, but the soil can also contain mold that triggers allergies while you clean. If re-configuring is not optimal, you can put a layer of aquarium gravel on top of the potted plant’s soil to help hold in the mold spores.
Sectional sofas offer seating for several family members while they enjoy a movie or visiting, which makes them a great addition to a home. Although cleaning underneath them can be a real pain, it is essential to do so regularly using the steps mentioned above to avoid the accumulation of dust and debris that could be hazardous as well as creepy, crawly creatures. Plus, there is always a chance you will find a treasure in the form of a long-lost object!