Your favorite couch at home is probably the one piece of furniture that takes the most beating. It’s where people spend a significant amount of time during the day. That can leave some severe damage to the couch’s upholstery. A steam cleaner can help you restore your fabric couch to its old glory by eliminating stains, grime, and bacteria. As a result, knowing how to clean couch with a steam cleaner is critical. 

First, you’ll need to vacuum the entire couch thoroughly to clean out any crumbs and fine dust. When you’re done, pre-treat the stubborn stains with the proper cleaning solution, and finally, use the steam cleaner to restore your couch’s appearance to its original look.

The upholstery steam cleaner uses hot vapors to liquefy and loosen any debris and restore the color of the couch in the process. However, you’ll have to make sure that the delicate upholstery can withstand this water-based cleaning technique.

Know Your Couch Type

Know Your Couch Type

Before we move onto the cleaning process, you’ll need to check if the fabric of your couch is suitable for steam cleaning. Check the cleaning code of the type of fabric in your couch materials. These regulations are usually on the sofa’s tag.

  • The cleaning code S indicates that solvent-based cleaners are the most suitable for the fabric, not steam.
  • If W is the next cleaning code, the fabric is best treated with steam
  • If you find X as the cleaning code, it’s an indication that water will permanently damage the material, so it’s not safe to use steam to clean it.

So, make sure that your couch is not tagged X before using a steam cleaner to clean it.

How To Clean Couch With A Steam Cleaner

Clean Couch With A Steam Cleaner

Now that you’ve made sure your entire couch is safe to steam clean, you’re ready to move on to the cleaning process.

Know How to Prepare

There’s an old saying that fortune favors the prepared. With a steamer, the preparatory step is just as crucial as the execution phase. So, if you ignore the preparation phase, it won’t matter how well you executed the process. You’ll not get a satisfactory result.

So, follow through with the preparation phase with diligence. It’ll get you the best results for suede couches or any upholstered furniture.

  • Vacuum the Upholstery

Make sure there’s no loose dirt on the couch’s surface. And the easiest way of doing that is to properly vacuum the furniture. Don’t leave any inch of this furniture unvacuumed. Get into every corner, any crevices where the dirt or pet hair can collect.

If your couch has any removable cushions, take them and vacuum each side of the sofa. Remove anything that can get into the way of steam cleaning like loose change or hair or loose dirt.

Don’t miss the back and the sides of the couch. They may seem clean, but you’ll be surprised by the difference one vacuuming session can make. Take your time, and don’t try to rush it. It’ll yield better results. Once you’ve vacuumed the entire sofa, move on to the next stage. 

Pre-treat the Stains

Oil-based stains from body oils need to be pre-treated, unlike stains from food, urine, or dirt. So you’ll have to apply the cleaning solution and give it enough time to work its way through the stained couch. You can use a scrubbing brush to do it. But if you don’t have it at hand, a wet cloth will do the job as well.

However, remember to be careful. If the cleaning agent is too strong, it can discolor the fabric and leave your couch looking ridiculous. So, read the manufacturer’s instructions provided and follow accordingly. If possible, try to test the solution in an inconspicuous place using a spray bottle on the fabric.

Another alternative is to use home-based cleaning agents such as white vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Don’t scrub too hard, or you’ll risk discoloring the fabric.

  • Conditioning the Fabric

You’re now at the final step of the preparation phase. All you’ll need to do is to condition the fabric so it doesn’t feel stiff and gritty once the job’s done. There are many pre-conditioners available for upholsteries. You can use one such pre-conditioner to dislodge any fine dust. Keep an eye out to reach every nook and cranny of your sofa set, use a stationary brush if you have one. Allow the conditioner to work its magic for a few minutes. 

Afterward, lay down a thin layer of shampoo over the couch. Next, use a plain soft cloth to reach the mixture deep into the couch’s fabric. 

Time to Deep Clean

Now that you’ve prepared thoroughly, the wait is over. You can now move onto the deep cleaning session with your steamer.

Time to Deep Clean
  • Choose Your Equipment

Knowing your opponent well is half the battle. First, you need to carefully choose what you’re going to use to clean your sofa.

There are many various types of steam cleaners on the market, each with its own set of accessories. Make sure to choose the cleaner designed explicitly for steaming fabrics and upholstery.

Select the right upholstery attachment as well. It may be a stationary or a revolving brush or a hose in your handheld steam cleaner. Before you attach the accessory, make sure to test it out on a washbasin to let the excess water flow out. To finish the job, once the excess water has flown out, rigorously follow the directions. 

  • Start the Machine

One advantage of using steam cleaners is that most models don’t need to use any chemical cleaners to get a good clean. They can work just fine with tap water or distilled water. And some other models use a cleaning solution of warm water and a cleaning agent to get an even better result.

However, be careful not to use too much cleaning solution as it can end up waterlogging the fabric. It can go so far as to cause damage to the machine itself. So, make sure to check the packaging of the formulation to find what amount you should use. Usually, one tablespoon of bleach works well with a gallon of water.

How To Clean Couch With A Steam Cleaner

Fill the tank with water, with or without the solution, depending on your cleaner’s model. Leave the upholstery cleaner plugged in for the water to come to steam. Patience is your friend. If you try steaming too early, you may end up drenching the sofa with water rather than steaming it.

  • Where to Start

This is the point at which most people make a mistake. Beginners try to start the cleaning process with the large sofa frame. But that’s not the part where you should start the cleaning process, but rather, it’s where you end it.

Instead, try starting with the removable pillows and the loose cushions. Steam the cloth surfaces. Remember, the cloth surfaces will become damp as soon as the steam reaches them. So, make sure to drag the nozzle tool over the wet areas to eliminate any excess cleaning solution and moisture.

Work in small sections. If you’re looking to steam both sides of the cushions, let one side dry off first before starting with the other. Otherwise, it’ll take longer for the sides to dry off, and they’ll end up smelling damp with a bad odor.

  • Final Touch Up

Once you’ve finished cleaning the cushions and loose pillows, it’s time to move on to the larger sections of microfiber couches.

As with the cushions, make sure to work in smaller areas here as well. That’s because if you try to tackle this massive section at once, the water will have a longer time to set into the upholstery fabric. And the longer the water sits, the higher the possibility of the water damaging the couch.

If there are any particularly stained or dirty areas, don’t try to hold off in one spot for a prolonged time to clean out the dirt at once. Instead, go over the same spot a few more times to get the persistent stain off. It’s not necessary to wait for the area to dry first. Instead, clean it out a few times and let it dry after.

However, note that going over the same spot too often may cause the area to become soggy. So, you may want to try something else alongside the cleaner if the stains don’t come out easily.

Air It Out

Once you’re done steaming, you need to give the fabric a little bit of time to dry itself. Otherwise, it may smell damp or turn into a cozy hangout for the dust mites. This length of time required will depend on a few factors.

These factors include the humidity of the steam output, what time of the day you chose to steam the couch, whether there is any airflow through the room, and many more.

There are, however, a few things you may do to speed things up. For example, you can use a stand fan to create the impression of a draft. You can also try opening a window if the weather outside is lovely and the humidity is low. Alternatively, you can dry the couch with a blow dryer. 

Of course, the sofa will dry even if you don’t take any of these steps. It’ll just take a bit longer.

Taking Care of Persistent Stains

One of the most effective ways to remove a wide range of stains is to use steam cleaning. But even then, there are some stains that the steam cleaner can’t take care of. You have a few options in that instance. 

Firstly, you can go over the persistent stain a few times until it’s gone. But that leaves you exposed to the possibility of waterlogging that spot.

Alternatively, you can try out a few other tricks from the sleeve to renew your stained couch.

Dish Soap and Water

Dish soap and water is the most straightforward and practical option.

First, prepare the solution by mixing dish soap with water. Then, dip a sponge in the solution. Be careful not to make the sponge lose color and rub the sponge in the stained spot to make it soapy.

Squeeze the sponge to get the excess water out and thoroughly blot the sponge over the stain to get the soapy mixture all the way through the dirt.

Now, rinse out the soapy composition from the sponge and soak it with clean water. Then proceed to use the sponge to blot the stain of the water.

Don’t scrub or rub the fabric too hard. Otherwise, it may discolor the fabric. Allow the soap to stay for a few minutes before rinsing it away. 

White Vinegar and Water

If the soapy solution doesn’t work, you can try a rougher approach. Use distilled water to produce a solution using white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. 

Get a clean white cloth and then soak the fabric in the solution. Make sure not to use any colored material as it’ll leak the color.

Now, as before, blot the spot on your stained couch with the clean cloth. To get the best result, rub the area gently in a circular motion. Avoid putting too much pressure on the cloth, as this may cause it to discolor. 

Rubbing Alcohol

The final approach before turning to commercial cleaning products is rubbing alcohol.

First, get some baking powder from the kitchen and sprinkle it over the stained spot. Now soak the rubbing alcohol in a clean, white cloth and blot the stained area in a circular motion.

Allow it to sit for a few hours before vacuuming it up. If the stain isn’t gone by then, you’ll need to turn to stronger chemical cleaning solutions.

Some Helpful Tips for Couch Steam Cleaning 

You can do a few things to make the process of steam cleaning your couch go smoothly and obtain better results.

  • Vacuum Once Dried

Once you’ve gone through the drying process, you’ll find that the couch looks cleaner than before, almost as good as new. Want to make it retain its original appearance? Try vacuuming the sofa once again when it’s dried off. You’ll be astonished at how effective it is. 

  • Last Resort

If you’re not satisfied with the outcome, you can try a commercial cleaner as a last resort even after going through all these steps. The heavy-duty cleaners will remove any stains, no matter how stubborn the stain is. Removing tough stains is what these cleaners are all about. 

However, make sure not to remove the color from random parts and leave the couch discolored at places. So, first, try out the solution on some inconspicuous areas of the fabric to gauge its strength.

  • Taking Care of Discolorations

If you notice any discoloration in the fabric after the cleaning, you may need to repeat the cleaning process to take care of the discoloration. Of course, it’s a bit bothersome to go through the whole process again, but it’s better than being left with a discolored couch, right?

  • Renting Is Always An Option

If you don’t own a steam cleaning machine, you don’t always have to buy it. If you’re going to steam clean the upholsteries only on some occasions, there’s always the option of renting it.

Read our product review

Summing Up

It doesn’t have to be difficult to clean your favorite couch. It certainly doesn’t warrant spending a questionable amount of money just to take your couch for cleaning. With a bit of extra attention, time, and effort, you can easily accomplish this task yourself. And hopefully, this step-by-step guide to how to clean couch with a steam cleaner will help you through the process.

Before steaming the couch, make sure it’s free of any loose dust. . You won’t get a satisfactory result if there’s dust left on the sofa that can get in the way of the steam cleaning machine. Be thorough in your cleaning process and work in quick but precise strokes.

Happy spring-cleaning!

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