How to Steam Clean a Couch

Our couches see lots of action every day, and dirt and grime buildup can ruin the upholstery and send you to the store to buy a new sofa. But before you throw your current dirty couch away, use a steam cleaner to bring it back to life. Understanding how to steam clean a couch saves you tons of money and effort in the long run, and it keeps your sofa in top shape for years to come.

When you know how to clean a couch with a steam cleaner, your home stays beautiful for your loved ones. This article provides the information necessary to maintain your fabric and microfiber couches.

We give you a step-by-step process and walk you through preparing and cleaning your furniture. There’s no need for steam cleaning to be a difficult chore. Your couch is an investment, and our assistance ensures that it stays in your home long enough for you to get a solid return on that investment.

tb1234tb1234Table of Contents

The Best Way to Steam Clean a Sofa

Many people may be intimidated by steam cleaners, but once you know what to do, using this machine is easy. There are steamers for your furniture, clothing, carpets, and even a grout steam cleaner.

When you set out to learn how to clean a couch with a steam cleaner, you might instinctively reach for the steamer right off the bat. This is a mistake a beginner might make.

But before you steam clean a microfiber sofa or fabric couch, some prep work is in order to ensure you complete a thorough cleaning. Getting your sofa ready for cleaning is just as important as steam cleaning it.

Your furniture is likely full of crumbs and stains, and it might even have a cover over the upholstery. A good steam cleaning begins with pre-cleaning and preparation.

Preparing the Couch

In this section, you learn how to pre-clean your couch correctly. Learning how to steam clean a couch involves more than turning on the steamer; our tips on pre-cleaning and cleaning products are essential elements of a successful cleaning session.

We show you how to get your couch ready in all respects for the steam cleaner so the upholstery cleaning is more effective and gets your sofa back to showroom condition.

Send Blankets and Covers through a Wash Cycle

Many households cover their couches with blankets or other covers to protect the underlying fabric. Before you start on the best way to steam clean a sofa, remove those coverings and sanitize them in your washing machine.

Removing and washing the blankets exposes the couch for cleaning, and it removes allergens, bed bugs, and dust mites that might otherwise survive your cleaning. Remove all covers from your couch.

If the cover has a tag, consult it, and follow the instructions for how best to wash the fabric. If you have concerns about washing a delicate blanket, hand clean it in cold water with a gentle detergent such as Woolite. Let the covers dry before you put them back on the sofa to avoid creating mold or musty odors.

Use a Vacuum on the Couch

Couches often become makeshift dinner tables at which we snack while watching television. As a result, our sofas fill with crumbs and debris, which interfere with your steam cleaner and reduce its effectiveness.

A thorough vacuuming before you break out the steamer removes pet hair and animal dander. It increases the odds that the rest of the cleaning goes smoothly. While using the vacuum cleaner to get into all the cracks and crevices, take care of checking for bed bugs in a couch while you are at it. A thorough inspection can provide peace of mind.

Follow this procedure before you tackle car interior steam cleaning, too. Removing debris makes steaming easier and more efficient.


Vacuuming the Couch


Use a foxtail and dustpan to clean off large debris, and then follow up with the vacuum cleaner. Get into all crevices and cracks and the undersides of the cushions and sofa as clean as the top. If you encounter stuck-on crumbs, gently rub the spot with a damp cloth to dislodge and pick up the remaining matter.

Hit Easy-Clean Stains with Dish Soap

After you finish your vacuuming, your couch is nearly ready to meet the steam. But before you get to the steamer, treat any stains you find on the fabric.

Urine and pet stains are generally fine to leave for the steam cleaning machine, but oil-based stains and other non-organic spills require special attention and treatment. When you run across a new stain, treat it with our liquid dish soap cleaner.


How to Steam Clean a Couch

Liquid Dish Soap Stain Treatment


Pour warm water into your spray bottle, and add one teaspoon of dish soap. Spray the solution on the stain and let it sit for at least an hour before you move on to the steam cleaner. If some staining persists after the steam cleaning, use the post-steam stain treatments that we include later in this article.

Pre-Treat Tough Stains with Baking Soda

Some stains seem almost permanent, and the dish soap cleaner won’t touch them. When you run across a set-in stain that requires extra attention and heavy-duty pre-treatment, reach for the baking soda and cornstarch.

This home remedy pulls the stain out of the fabric and will get slime out of a couch first so that you can quickly steam clean it away.


Baking Soda Stain Pre-Treatment


Combine the water, cornstarch, and baking soda in a spray bottle. Spray the stain, making sure to wet the fabric thoroughly. Blot away the excess liquid with a clean cloth.

Let the baking soda solution sit for an hour or more to give it time to work on the stain before you break out the steamer. Use our post-steam stain removal cleaner to get rid of lingering stains after the steam cleaning

Apply a Soil Emulsifier

When we sit on the sofa, the weight of our bodies and our small movements grind in the dirt, making it difficult to clean. To allow the steam cleaner to work at peak efficiency, use a soil emulsifier to bring all that grime back to the surface. Treating your couch with an emulsifier makes the steam cleaner much more effective.


Soil Emulsifier Application


Test the emulsifier on an inconspicuous area before you start cleaning. Spray the entire couch surface with the emulsifier, and take special care to ensure you get into the crevices and seams.

After you cover every bit of the couch with the spray, apply a thin coating of fabric shampoo. Use a soft-bristled brush to work the emulsifier and shampoo into the fabric.

How to Steam Clean a Couch

Now that your couch is vacuumed and pre-treated, it’s time to break out the steamer. Steam cleaning your sofa is a snap, thanks to the time you spent prepping the furniture for the event.

All that’s left is to select the proper kind of steam cleaner and be ready to give the sofa as much attention after you steam it as you did during the pre-cleaning.

How to Clean a Couch with a Steam Cleaner

In this portion, we introduce you to the steam cleaner and give you crucial tips to help your steam cleaning experience be as thorough and productive as possible.

You get information on choosing the appropriate steamer, setting it up properly, and cleaning a fabric couch from stem to stern. We even share suggestions on dealing with stains that survive your pre-treatment and steam cleaning.

Pick the Right Type of Steam Cleaner

Your couch is pre-treated, so finding a steamer and proceeding with the cleaning should be a snap, right? It is if you know what to look for in a steam cleaner. There are different kinds of steam cleaners available for purchase or rent, and it’s crucial to choose the correct type.

Don’t go for one of the big steamers that you use for carpet cleaning; your upholstered furniture needs a smaller steam cleaner for upholstery with an upholstery attachment and a hose rather than a carpet cleaner. The ideal upholstery cleaner for your sofa is portable and easy to move.

Select a handheld steam cleaner or one with a detachable hose or wand designed to clean furniture. Using an upholstery steam cleaner allows you to get into crevices and seams and makes cleaning under the couch a breeze. Most home improvement centers have upholstery steam cleaners available to rent.

Set Up the Steam Cleaner

You rented or purchased a steam cleaner to clean upholstery, and now you’re ready to get going. Before you turn on the cleaner, it needs some TLC to ensure that it performs well throughout the cleaning experience. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions if they differ from our suggestions.


Setting Up Your Steamer


Put on the gloves, and pour water and cleaner into the reservoir. You can use professional cleaning solutions or a homemade steam cleaner for fabric sofa, depending on your preference.

Using a funnel allows you to add the liquids to the cleaner without fear of spilling them. Don’t overfill the reservoir to avoid producing excess water or steam.

Clean the Cushions First

When you clean your sofa with a handheld steam cleaner or a similar device, move methodically from outside to inside. Begin by focusing on getting the couch cushions clean.

The cushions act as an outer layer, and when you clean them first, you prevent any grime or dirt on them from transferring to your newly cleaned sofa. Turn on the cleaner, and spray the cushions with steam.

Then, move the suction nozzle across the cushion surface to pull out water and dirt. Never clean both sides of the cushion at once; allow one side to dry before you proceed. If the undersides of the pillows are clean, you can move on to the rest of the upholstery.

Clean the Remainder of the Couch

After the cushions are clean and dry, it’s time to tackle the big job and steam clean the sofa. It’s essential not to rush the next part of your cleaning regimen, as a proper steam cleaning is a slow affair. Move slowly as you clean, and let the steam work into the fabric and pull out stains and dirt.

Don’t try to clean too large of an area at one time. If you apply steam to the entire couch in one go, the water sits on the sofa frame and soaks into it before you get a chance to pull it out with the suction from the cleaner.

Move from one small area to the next, and work your way from the couch’s top to its bottom. Repeat your cleaning until the fabric is clean.

Wait for the Couch to Dry

Using the steam cleaner is the most significant step in our cleaning process, but there are still a few things to do before you call it a day. There might be some stains that require additional attention and treatment. Before you start in on post-steam treatment, though, allow the sofa to dry out.

Working on a damp couch is counterproductive and won’t dislodge the stains. Check all areas of the sofa for dampness before you continue with your deep cleaning. That includes making sure that the underside, back, and other seldom-seen areas of the couch are bone dry.

Use a blow dryer to hurry the drying if you wish. Once the fabric and wood are moisture-free, you’re free to treat the sofa for stubborn stains.

Use Rubbing Alcohol on Lingering Stains

Isopropyl alcohol has a million uses in your home and is one of the champs of the DIY cleaning closet. Rubbing alcohol is perfect for killing aphids and aging brass, and it’s just the thing to clean away stains that stick around after the steam cleaning. Our alcohol-based stain remover is ideal for taking care of post-steamer stains.


Rubbing Alcohol Couch Stain Treatment


To clean couch stains that don’t respond as well as you would like to steaming, combine the liquids in the spray bottle, and spray the stain to wet the fabric. Use a toothbrush or soft-bristled brush to work the cleaner into the fabric.

Let the alcohol solution sit on the stain for 15 minutes or so, and then blot the area with a cloth to absorb all liquids. Repeat if the stain persists.

Tackle the Worst Stains with Vinegar

The acetic acid that vinegar contains makes it a powerhouse cleaner and perfect for dealing with lingering stains that rubbing alcohol can’t touch. The essential oil in this recipe masks the vinegar smell and deodorizes your upholstery. Before you throw your hands up and select a commercial cleaner, give vinegar a shot.


Vinegar-Based Stain Treatment


Add the vinegar, water, and essential oil to a bowl and dampen a cloth with the solution. Blot gently at the fabric to pull the stain out. Avoid using too much pressure as you work to avoid working the stain more deeply into the fabric. Repeat until the stain lifts.

We hope you had a fascinating journey reviewing these steam cleaning tips. Our couches get lots of abuse and become dirty before you know it. This article looks at the steam cleaning process and walks you through it so that you know what to do the next time you encounter a dirty sofa.

Thanks for reviewing our couch-cleaning methods. Help others learn about how to steam clean a couch by sharing this useful guide on steam cleaning couches on social media venues like Pinterest and Facebook.

Copyright © 2023 All rights reserved.