How to Steam Clean a Couch?

Steam Clean a Couch

A couch or a sofa is one of the most common home comfort items. You can sit or sleep on your couch and it establishes a mood in your house as well. It is one of the anchor pieces around which other furniture pieces are arranged. A couch can correct your sitting posture and help you remain calm and relaxed. Furthermore, it might also be the most valuable item in your house as it is expensive and sets the tone of your living space as well. Thus, you should take care of your couch as it is very important for every household.

One of the best ways to clean your couch is by steam cleaning it. However, you must be careful how you steam clean your couch as you can damage your couch. You wanna make sure you do it properly so that your beautiful, squishy, and luxurious couch. Nobody wants to ruin their beautiful and comfortable couch. So, we have prepared how you should steam clean your couch. Make sure you read this article until the end so that you can clean your couch properly.

The methods to properly clean your couch


In this section, we will be telling you the proper steps to steam cleaning your couch. But you must prepare some items beforehand such as vacuum, stain remover,  fabric shampoo, soil emulsifier, cloths or scrubbing brush, and steam cleaner. The first step is to know whether your couch can be steam cleaned or not. Continue reading this article to find out how you can distinguish whether your couch can be steam cleaned and other steps that you must follow in order to properly steam clean your couch. Make sure you read the article to the end so that you will be able to properly clean your couch.

Know whether your couch can be steam cleaned

Before you even start steam cleaning your couch, you must know whether your couch can withstand steam cleaning or not. Basically, there are three labels i.e., “W”, “S”, “SW”, and “X”.

If your couch is labeled “W”, it means that you can only use water-based cleaners on it. Thus, you can use a steam cleaner to clean this type of couch but you should avoid using chemicals and other cleaning solutions as they can break down the fabric of your sofa.

If your couch is labeled “S”, it means that you can only use solvent-based cleaner only. Thus, you shouldn’t steam clean or use other water-based cleaning methods to clean this type of couch.

If your couch is labeled “SW”, it means that you can use water-based detergent or solvent cleaners on it. Thus, you can use a steam cleaner to clean this type of couch.

If your couch is labeled “X”, it means that you can only use a vacuum cleaner or a brush on it. You must never use steam cleaners, water-based or solvent-based cleaners on this type of couch.

To conclude, you can only use a steam cleaner on the couch which is labeled “W” and “SW”. So, make sure the check the label on your couch before you even start to steam clean your couch.

Sweep or vacuum the couch

The next step is to sweep or vacuum the couch. You should remove all the dirt, pet hair, crumbs, or other kinds of objects that can create an issue while using a steam cleaner. Make sure you vacuum down the sides by removing cushions and also at the sides and back of the couch. Don’t leave any knicks and crannies where the dust or other kinds of trash can accumulate cause it can seriously hamper the cleaning performance of your steam cleaner. Moreover, don’t rush the process as it is very important and you might be even surprised to see your sofa shine just after vacuuming. So, take your time and make sure you vacuum or sweep every part of the couch.

Treat the stains and smell

While you are enjoying your time watching television and eating, suddenly your food can get dropped on your sofa and leave a stain on it. These types of stains might be difficult for the steam cleaner to clean alone. Thus, it’s a good idea to pre-treat the stain before applying steam cleaner.

To remove the tough stains, you can read the manufacturer’s user manual or guidelines on the label of the cleaning agent before buying your couch. However, you must always check or test the product before use in an inconspicuous place on the couch. You can have various types of stains such as food-based, oil-based, etc.

Fortunately, most stains can be treated with a pre-treatment cleaner. Before you start steam cleaning, you can simply apply the pre-treatment cleaner to the stains and that would be enough to remove the stains. Additionally, you can also use other home-based treatment cleaners such as white vinegar and rubbing alcohol, or a mixture of baking soda, cornstarch, and water. But make sure to gently apply the homemade cleaner so that you won’t damage the couch.

Unfortunately, if the stain still remains on your couch then you can try a more deep cleaning agent. Never rub the stain with the deep cleaning agent as it could worsen it so you must slowly clean around the edges first making your way into the middle. Make sure the deep cleaner doesn’t harm your couch and is recommended by the manufacturers.

Conditioning your couch

You must condition the material of your couch before steam cleaning the couch because ou couch can end up hard and gritty. The prevent your couch from getting hard and gritty you can use material conditioning products such as an oil emulsifier on the fabric. As the name suggests, it helps to form and stabilize the emulsion. Make sure you condition your coach with the soil emulsion properly without leaving a spot. After you have sprayed the couch with the soil emulsion, you have to wait for about some minutes until it dries off and adds a very thin layer of fabric shampoo on top of your couch. The process is almost complete as all that is left to condition your couch is to rub the couch with a clean cloth so that the chemicals get absorbed into the fabric.

Use the correct steamer for your couch

There are probably hundreds of steam cleaners but only some of them are specifically designed to clean your couches. Many steam cleaners come with a lot of attachments and accessories that help in steam cleaning your couch. You can buy upholstery steam cleaner which is specially designed for furniture fabric. Avoid using carpet or floor cleaning steamers as they don’t work properly on your couch and they can leave your couch soaking wet as well.

The steamer should be able to penetrate deep into the material of the couch and make sure the steam cleaner has a nozzle attachment as it helps you steam clean your couch. You might also get some special attachments which are designed especially for certain kinds of material. The steam cleaner with an adjustable steam control feature is the one you should look for as you’ll be able to adjust the steam according to the need. Make sure to read the user manual and confirm whether the stream mop can be used on your couch.

Inspect and prepare the machine for cleaning

After you have got the proper steam cleaner for your couch, you should inspect the steam cleaner and make sure that it works. Most steam mops require only water to function so no more buying expensive chemicals and cleaning solutions. You could use distilled or demineralized water to increase the longevity of your steam mop. Some of the steamers also use a cleaning solution along with water for cleaning. But make sure you use the proper ratio while mixing water and cleaning solutions so that you won’t damage your couch and equipment.

Read the user manual properly and make sure you have attached all the parts of the steam cleaner properly and find out which attachment is best for cleaning your couch. Make sure you fill the water tank of the steam mop before using it. You might also have to wait for some time for the steam cleaner to heat up because if you don’t only hot water will come out through the nozzle instead of steam and this could soak your fabric.

The correct way to use a steam cleaner

steam cleaner by shark

Now that you have inspected and prepared the machine before cleaning, it’s time for you to actually use the steam clean your couch. So, where should you start cleaning your couch? The first thing that comes to your mind might be the large frame of the couch. However, that’s not what you should do as it should be your last part to be cleaned. You must first take out your loose cushions and removable pillows.

Start steam cleaning from the one side that is on a show and if you need to clean another side as well, you should only steam clean after the side you steam mopped has dried off. That’s because if you steam both sides at the same time it gets super wet and takes a long time to dry off so your couch might have a bad odor.

After that, you should steam clean the surface of the cushions with steam. Don’t steam mop the same area for a longer period of time and make sure to constantly move with a swift stroked across the whole couch. In this way, you won’t have to worry about damaging your couch.

For larger areas, make sure you divide them into small sections and steam clean one after another after. Don’t rush and clean all the areas at once because the fabric can soak a lot of water at a time and this can damage the upholstery fabric of your couch. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to steam clean the area once more if the dirt in that particular area is not removed. However, you should be careful not to overdo it as it can cause waterlogging of the fabric.

Things to do after you completed steam cleaning your couch

After you have completer steam cleaning your couch, you should let it dry for some time in the sun. If there is no sun, you can use a fan or open a window in order to create a breeze in your room where the couch is located. You should avoid steam cleaning your couch on a humid and cold day because your couch won’t dry and it could get damaged as well.

So, check the weather forecast before steam cleaning your couch. It’s always better to steam clean your couch on a hot sunny day as your couch will dry much faster. You should also take care of your equipment as well. Clean the steam cleaner after every use and store it in clean and dry places. Well, that’s how you steam clean a couch. But how often should you steam clean your couch? Let’s find out under the next subheading.

How often should you steam clean your couch?

Steam cleaning your couch depends on the situation of your house. You should vacuum or light clean the couch depending upon how often it gets used and the material of the couch. If it gets used quite often and is built with a material that accumulates a lot of dirt and dust then you must vacuum your couch regularly. Moreover, you must also quickly treat the stains as soon as possible.

You shouldn’t;t steam clean your couch that often as it can damage your couch if it isn’t dried properly. We recommend you steam clean or deep clean your couch twice a year just like your rugs. There’s no way you can prevent dirt and dust from accumulating on your couch especially if you’ve got children or pets. Thus, you should clean your couch with a vacuum quite often if possible. You can also use fabric protection to protect your couch from stains, liquids, dust, and dirt.

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