How to Clean a Fabric Sofa with a Steam Cleaner | Expert’s Tips and Guide

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Ahh! Those cozy nights curling up on the comfortable couch chilling, Netflixing and eating food!

But that calming sensation of the couch diminishes soon when our out of control kids and rambunctious animals’ spring around everywhere, leaving dirt prints on the sofa.

The food spills, dirt, dander, pet hairs, and mysterious spots of our upholstery eventually make us conscious in front of guests.

Some people then choose to blanket the whole sofa with covers to hide the stains. People also try different types of couch cleaning hacks that don’t work and results in leaving it all smudgy and stained.

One of the smartest ways to get rid of dirt, stains, and odor is to clean a couch with a steam cleaner. It works best when it comes to removing tough stains and eliminating pet urine smell.

Cleaning a Couch With a Steam Cleaner?

Here’s a step by step guide to clean the couch and give it a fresh look.

Choosing the Right Steam Cleaner

How to Clean a Couch with Steam Cleaner The right tool can work wonders, whereas the wrong gadget can adversely affect your upholstery. Steam cleaners are of various types like: handheld cloth steam cleaners, upholstery, or vapor steam cleaner.

A good handheld steam cleaner is light-weight and effective because it can reach the crevices and corners of the couch.

Upholstery cleaners have special attachments specifically designed for cleaning sofa and couch.

Vapor steam cleaner dries out the surface instantly. Choose the best handheld steam cleaners for couch according to your needs. Just avoid the bulky carpet cleaners that do not have attachments to clean the sofa without damaging the fabric.

Check Cleaning Instructions

  • Check the sofa tag for cleaning instructions. It may have any of the tags below.
  • X: It means you can’t use water or steam. Just vacuum the sofa.
  • W: It means you use steam or water to clean.
  • S: Only solvent-based special cleaners are allowed.
  • W/S: Both steam/water and solvent-based chemicals are safe to use.

Vacuum First

Before starting steam cleaning, remove all the loose dirt by vacuuming the couch and cushions properly. It will remove all pet’s hairs, dander, and dust particles.

The skinny shape of the crevice tool gets into the small corners of soft furnishings. And it cleans the debris and dust that was piled up from months or years of negligence.

Stain Removing

Pre Treat Spotted Area on CouchSome stubborn stains are better to be treated before steam cleaning so the dirt can loosen up.

You can use one of the following methods for removing stains from the couch. 

  1. Spray rubbing alcohol over the stain and use a soft-bristled brush to rub the stain. Make sure to use the brush only if the fabric allows it.
  2. Mix dishwashing liquid and water. Use a sponge or microfiber to apply the mixture to the stain. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes, so the stain loosens from the fiber of the fabric.
    Then use a dampened microfiber cloth to rub the stain gently to remove it. After that, use a clean and dry microfiber cloth, and blot the stain again without rubbing.
  3. You can also use commercial upholstery cleaner to treat the stain.
  4. Do not use harsh chemicals on microfiber couch, as harsh chemicals don’t go well with microfiber.
  5. Treat the stains according to its nature. For example, to remove nail polish from the couch use a non-acetone polish remover on it. And gently blot it with a cotton ball till the nail polish mark disappears.
  6. Similarly, sprinkle talcum powder to absorb oil stain before cleaning it with soapy water.

Treat the Fabric

  • To get the best results from steam cleaning, treat the whole fabric with an upholstery shampoo. But before doing that, check the tag for W or W/S; only then you can shampoo it.
  • Put a small amount of shampoo on a white cloth and apply it to the inconspicuous area first. If the color bleeds, don’t use the shampoo. If the color doesn’t bleed, then it’s safe to use the shampoo over the couch.
  • Spray the shampoo on the sofa and let it absorb in the fabric. Use a gentle brush to scrub the grime. Use an absorbent cloth to dry out the excess moisture.

Prepare the Steam Cleaner

  • Prepare the Steam CleanerFill the reservoir with distilled water. Don’t overfill. Else it will release more moisture on the couch and drench it in water.
  • Also, don’t add too much cleaning solution. Use the correct ratio of cleaning agent and water to avoid soaking your sofa with soapy water.
  • Read the instructions to check the pre-heat time for your steam.
  • Attach the hose and the right accessories according to the make and model of your steam cleaner.
  • Plug it in the socket and get ready to start steam cleaning.
  • Use a low to medium heat setting to steam clean a microfiber couch because high heat and harsh chemicals break down the fabric over time.

Clean Cushions First

  • Start steam cleaning the cushions one by one.
  • Squeeze the trigger of the cleaner to spray the cleaning solution first. It will dampen the cushion.
  • Now move over the opening part of the machine to suction up the area.
  • Steam clean only one side of the cushion at a time. Let that side dry first before moving on to the other side.

Steam from the Dirtiest to the Cleanest

Steam Clean Couch in SectionsAfter cushions, steam the dirtiest area of the couch first. It may be the corners of the armrest or the seat of the sofa. Then, move on to steam the relatively clean parts.

Start steam cleaning in small sections. Steam cleaners are designed to remove water stains, ingrained dirt, and it also removes pet urine smell from the couch.

Dry Your Couch

  • Leave your couch to dry in the air. Open the windows, fan, or use the blow dryer to speed up the process.
  • Do not put cushions on the damp couch. Moreover, do not use the couch for usual activities until it’s absolutely dry.
  • Also, dry the cushions from both sides by turning it over.

Remove Remaining Stains

Some of the toughest stains need to be cleaned again. If, after drying, you still see some spots, use the above-mentioned method to treat those. You can use the steamer on that particularly troubled area once more to make it sparkly clean.

Benefits of Steam Cleaning a Couch

Let’s look at why steam cleaning is the best method to remove stains, dirt, cat urine smell, and other odors from the couch.

Restore Original Freshness

Over time, the dirt piles up on the couch, and the fabric of the upholstery fades, making its look a bit dull. Steam cleaning pulls out all the dirt and helps in restoring its original day one look.

Chemical Free Solution

Steam cleaning only uses water that turns into steam which easily melt dirt and grime. It saves you and your couch’s fabric from harsh chemicals.

Prolong Your Couch’s Life

Properly cleaned and maintained soft furnishing don’t need replacement soon enough. Steam cleaning ensures the long life of the couch by powerful yet gentle cleansing.

Kills Germs and Bacteria

Our couches harbor and breed the noxious bacteria and germs. Steam cleaning has proven to kill 99.9% of germs along with exterminating mold and mildew. It protects your beloved family from harmful pathogens and from getting ill.

Moreover, steam cleaning kills bed bugs, their eggs and prevent their further infestation. Besides that, it relieves you from seeing the undesirable blood streaks of the bed bugs and inhaling their stinking odor.

Time-Saving and Cost-Effective Method

Other cleaning methods take almost double the time, whereas steam cleaning at home is the quickest way, and it also reduces the cleaning cost.

Bottom Line!

The dirty filthy stains rips out the beauty of your soft furnishings. Proper maintenance at frequent intervals can save you from further expense of buying a new couch. Steam cleaning has made the procedure easy and quick without any need to call professional couch cleaners. It helps restore the originality of your couch so you can enjoy family time or entertain guests without having to hide the ugliness of the couch.


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