Steam cleaning is one of the most effective ways to get rid of stains and odors on your furniture, but it can also be damaging and slightly soul-destroying if you don’t do it right. If you want to know more about this process, to make sure that you get it right, then read on.
Prep before cleaning your couch
Before you contemplate this treatment, check the washing instruction label on the couch. Make sure it says it can handle being steamed. It should not have any “x”s on it because water-safe furniture does not have an “x” on it. Furniture labeled SW is solvent and water-safe.
Essentially, if your couch has an “x’ on it, then it cannot handle being steamed. The best way to tell whether or not your couch is safe for steaming is by reading the label.
You may need to remove some cushions before you start steaming. This will help prevent damage to the fabric and padding.
If you are hiring a cleaner, make sure they know that you want them to steam clean your couch. But, it is important to note that many cleaners use solvents in their cleaning process.
These solvents are very strong and could cause permanent damage to your upholstery. When you call the company, make sure to ask about what chemicals they use. They may use chemicals such as bleach, which can end up damaging your couch.
The following are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Steam cleaning your couch
The first step is to vacuum all the dust off the surface of the couch. Vacuum the entire area where you plan to steam clean.
Dust tends to accumulate on the backrests and armrests. Vacuuming these areas will help keep the dust away during the cleaning process.
Next, you should move on to treating any stains on your couch. So, you should spray the stain with a solution that contains white vinegar. Vinegar works well on most stains.
Next, you can use an upholstery conditioner, which will really help you to eradicate any lasting dirt and grime. You can do this by spraying the liquid conditioner over the couch and the cushions and also the pillows.
You need to be sure to let the conditioner sit for a few minutes, just so that it can really get in there and emulsify that embedded dirt. Then you can apply upholstery shampoo on the same spots and rub in with a furniture brush.
Then you can steam clean your couch. To do this, you really need to make sure that you have an upholstery steam cleaner.
The importance of pre-treating stains
If you find that you have a lot of stains on your couch, try pre-treating them before you steam clean, as this will ultimately save you time and money.
You can do this by using a sponge soaked in rubbing alcohol. Or, you can use a damp cloth to apply baby powder to spots - this is because baby powder absorbs moisture and helps prevent future staining.
Alternatively, you can apply lemon juice to pet hair stains. Lemon juice softens the fur and makes it easier to remove. Are you partial to a coffee spillage? Well, you can actually apply hydrogen peroxide to coffee stains.
Hydrogen Peroxide dissolves the caffeine in coffee. Use a cotton swab dipped in hydrogen peroxide to get rid of coffee stains. In addition to this, you might find that using a toothbrush can really help you to eradicate those stubborn stains too.
In summation, hitting all those nasty, dark stains with touch substances before you do a steam clean will greatly improve the outcome.
Condition the fabric before steaming
Before steaming the fabric, make sure it's as clean as can be. Some fabrics may shrink or stretch if they aren't cleaned properly. You should vacuum the entire couch.
That's right - you need to vacuum the cushions, upholstery, and carpeting. Don't forget to vacuum the seams between the cushions too!
Spray the stain with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water, then, break out the fabric conditioner and give the problem areas a seeing to.
To avoid damage to the couch, use only non-bleach products when removing stains. Bleach can cause permanent discoloration and damage the fibers.
Choose the right steam cleaner
The right steam cleaner should be powerful enough to penetrate deep into the material. The best cleaners are those that come equipped with a nozzle attachment, and this is because these attachments will allow you to spray the cleaner directly onto the stain.
Some manufacturers offer special attachments for specific types of materials. For example, there are attachments designed specifically for leather.
If possible, you should choose a machine that has multiple settings. You'll be able to adjust the heat setting to match the type of material being cleaned.
Some steam cleaning machines include a brush attachment. If your machine doesn't have a brush, you can purchase a separate one.
You should also consider buying a machine that comes with a warranty. Warranties provide peace of mind and protect against costly repairs.
In addition to this, you should make sure to check the manufacturer's instructions carefully before operating the unit. Make sure you know what buttons to push to activate each feature.
Also - be careful not to burn yourself while operating the machine.
Cleaning different types of sofas
Here’s the thing - couches will have to endure a whole lot of abuse in their time. You might accidentally spill something on your couch, or you might just get too comfortable that one evening and allow your dog to jump up on the couch (see also 'How To Get Dog Smell Out Of Your Couch').
But, you will find that steam cleaning can really help you to remove all kinds of disgusting odors and also stains from your cloth furniture (see also 'How To Remove Coffee Stains From Clothes').
If you decide to steam clean your couch yourself, read the instructions on the couch carefully. There are many different types of sofas, and each type needs a slightly different procedure.
For example, leather couches need special care because they are made from animal skin.
When steam cleaning a couch, you need to take precautions to prevent damage to the fabric. Always follow the manufacturer's directions carefully.
- Rubbing alcohol
- Steam cleaner
- Fabric conditioner
- Fabric shampoo
- Furniture brush
Step by step instructions
- Vacuum the sofa to remove crumbs, dust and large dirt particles
- Pre-treat stains
- Condition fabric
- Steam the sofa in sections
- Let dry completely before using the couch
FAQ about steam cleaning your couch
2-6 hours depending on the fabric.
Use a fan or open a window to help get air flowing and dry the sofa more quickly.
A steamer cleans and sanitizes the sofa. The heat kills germs and bacteria and the steam helps lift away stains.
Yes! The steam is able to penetrate deep into the fibers of the cushions and lift out odors from smoke or pets.
Know which fabrics you can steam. Most cottons, silks, wools and polyesters can be steamed. Suede and materials that could possibly melt, like plastic, should not be steamed. If you are unsure about a material, check fabric care labels for advice.