The best method for making an upholstered couch look brand new.

Yuri Arcurs/Getty Images

We have a theory that the comfier the couch, the more use it gets—and the more dirt it inevitably collects. But because there might be nothing better than relaxing on the couch after a hard day and streaming your Netflix favorites, you're stuck having to clean this major piece of furniture. The good news is that cleaning an upholstered couch isn't as complicated as you might think. Debra Johnson, the home cleaning expert at Merry Maids, shares her best tips.

Consider Scotchgard.

"It helps to prevent stains in the first place and will keep liquids beaded on top of the fabric. Follow the directions on the product, and don't forget to test in an out of the way spot first," says Johnson.

Get to spills and stains fast!

The sooner you start to treat stains, the better, so they won't have time to set. While it may be tempting to ignore a spill that happens while guests are over or while you're in the middle of a show, it's best to start treating the stain right away.

Know what type of fabric you're dealing with.

Read the tag on your couch to determine whether or not you can use water, if it's vacuum-only, or if only a dry cleaning solvent can be used. "Sometimes, even using water on the wrong fabric can leave a stain," warns Johnson.

Don't rub, dab instead.

If you rub a stain, it will work itself further into the fabric. "Start out by dabbing the stain or spill to remove any moisture. Then dab with water, working from the outside in so you're not spreading the stain. You can use a combo of one cup water to 1/4 cup vinegar and a few drops of dish soap to help remove a stain, too," says Johnson.

WATCH: There Is a Right Way to Clean Your Smelly Garbage Disposal

Treat Oil Stains With Baking Soda

"If it's an oil-based stain, cover it with baking soda and let it sit. Vacuum any excess baking soda. If the stain is still there, dab it with a damp microfiber cloth."

When in doubt, be cautious and refer back to the manufacturer's instructions or website. Most have best practices listed for your benefit.

This Story Originally Appeared On Real Simple