How to steam clean a couch?

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You have noticed recently that your couch was starting to lose its sheen? I do believe that our couch is the most important piece of furniture that we have at home. Indeed we use it to watch TV, chat with friends, playing board games, or even an occasional nap! This results often in drink and food spills, feet stains, and bad odors. That’s why it is important to know how to steam clean a couch.

Your vacuum cleaner will be the best tool to remove everyday dirt and pet hair, although it is quite ineffective against stains. Here steam cleaning is the best option as you can use it to get rid of stains, oils, dirt, and sweat marks as well as odors. Also, steam cleaning is the best way to sanitize our house without using chemicals as it uses water vapor at 212°F, which is enough to kill germs and bacteria. We will see on this page how to steam clean a couch?

oil stains on couch
Oils stains can ruin your sofa

Why should you clean your couch?

Steam cleaners are wonderful! They can clean, sanitize and disinfect only by using water vapor. It heats hot water at 212°F that contains approximately 5% moisture. It does not leave any airborne allergenic residues on the cleaned surface which is especially important when you have small kids and/or pets at home.  This heat and moisture are capturing bad odors, killing germs and dust mites. House Dust mites or HDM are a particular pain when it comes to couch and mattresses, these insects eat dead skin cells that stay in the cushions and fabric.

In order to keep your couch hygienic, you should steam clean it every 6 months. It will ensure that the stains will not impregnate the fabric for too long, it will also help in breaking the HDM reproduction cycle. You might also be interested to see this article about steam cleaning your mattress as it is often forgotten and doesn’t take too much time.

Steps to steam clean a couch?

What are the steps to clean a couch? We will see here what is the main process to follow when steaming your couch. Following these instructions will help you save time and get a more efficient result! Please note that these steps are for indication only and depend on the type of couch you have.

Step 1 – Put the cushions aside

The first thing you want to do is remove the cushions and put them aside. It will then be easier for you to steam each and every part of the couch.

Step 2 – Vacuum all the couch

The next crucial thing is to vacuum it. With the upholstery cleaner attachment, you can try to catch most of the crumbs, pet hair, and messes. Try to cover the whole fabric and make sure you don’t forget any area. Even though the sides and back seem clean you would be surprised to see the change after vacuuming.

Step 3 – Have a look at the sofa laundry tag

At the back of your couch you should see a care tag:

  • W: water-based cleaner only
  • W/S: You can use any solvent-based or water-based chemicals
  • solvent-based chemicals only
  • X: Use only vacuum and brush or call a professional cleaning service

If you don’t understand the car tag you can call the sofa brand customers service and they should be able to indicate what is the right way to proceed.

You can also have on some couch this system of laundry tags

laundry tags label
List of Laundry Tags for common fabric

Be sure to read it carefully before steaming, if you are not sure about the meaning of this tag you should go for a small trial.

Choose a portion of your couch that’s not too visible and steam it. Wait for 24hours and check it again. If you see any difference in the fabric color or appearance then stop using the steam of this couch and call a professional cleaning service.

Step 4 – Treat Oils Stains

Most of the stains will disappear with any heavy-duty steam cleaner, this is the case for feces, food, dirt sweat, and urine. But to clean a couch thoroughly you should make sure to get rid of oil stains. This type of stains usually come from cream, fast-food, or even salad dressing. To remove these stains you can use a mixture of vinegar and rubbing alcohol or baking soda with cornstarch and water on the spot and around it. Apply the homemade mixture and wait for it to have an effect on the oil stain before steaming it. After 45min you can vacuum the leftover cleaning mixture and go-ahead with the steaming.

Step 5 – Clean the cushions with the steam cleaner

The cushions will take more time to dry, furthermore, they tend to be dirtier than other elements of your couch. Start to steam it After refilling it with water plug the steam cleaner and turn it on. You should have a special upholstery attachment designed to steam a couch. The best of to apply steam until it can have some moisture, avoid having your cushions with excess water as it might attract bedbugs.

A good tip if to clean only the exposed side of the pillow and do the other one later. Leaving the moisturized pillow on a wet side will damage the fabric and take longer to dry.

Step 6 – Steam the entire sofa

Repeat the previous task with the entire couch, including sides and back. You might want to spend more time on the front where it gets most of the dirt and stains.

Step 7 – Leave it to dry for 3-4 hours

Once it is steam cleaned it needs to dry. This will depend on your climatic conditions but on average 3 – 4 hours should be a good drying time. You can place a fan near the furniture to fasten the drying process.

steam cleaning a couch
Hot steam cleaning

Can you steam clean a microfiber couch?

These microfiber couches are based on synthetic cloth, which is hard to clean with regular methods. A steamer is a perfect way to clean it as it doesn’t damage the fabric. Warm water and vinegar with a sponge is another traditional way to clean but a bad use of it will damage the fabric. You will then be able to see some discoloration spots.

microfiber couch
What is microfiber?

Can you steam clean a suede couch?

A suede couch is surely very classy, nonetheless, you will need to be extra careful to keep it clean as it tends to be a weak fabric. Because of its porousness, a large amount of water can ruin your suede couch. Hopefully, there are some suede protectors spray easily available.

Yes, you can steam clean suede as the steam released has generally about 5% humidity. You will need to be careful and avoid putting the steamer directly in contact with the fabric. You may use the same process as for a regular couch. Steam cleaning a couch will remove every stain with hot steam at 212°F.

If you notice that there is too much water on a spot don’t panic, just use a piece of cloth and use it to blot the extra water.

clean suede couch
A nice suede couch

How much does a professional steam cleaning service cost?

You can expect something between $120 and $220 depending on your location, chairs can be steamed for $10 to $50. For a leather couch, you can expect a price range of $200 to $400.

With this budget, you can also buy a steam mop that will be useful to clean other parts of your house like cleaning your grouts, etc.

Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner

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What are the benefits of steam cleaning?

  1. First, a steam machine is useful for sanitization, indeed it can kill germs, bacteria, and coronavirus.
  2. A steam cleaner can clean upholstery and remove bad odors from it. You just need it when you have a pet at home
  3. Steamer machine cleans sofa and general stain without damaging the fabrics underneath
  4. It is eco-friendly as it doesn’t require any chemicals to clean
  5. The steam cleaner’s instructions are quite easy when you understand the basics.

A simple recipe for homemade stain cleaner

-1/2 cup vinegar

-1/4 cup baking soda

-1/2 gallon (2 liters) of water.

Mix the vinegar and baking soda into the water and apply on the dirty spot.

If the recipe is not enough you may want to use a steam cleaner.

I hope you enjoyed this article, we would be happy to see pictures of your used couch before and after the operation and feedbacks on the time it may take.

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