At Speed Clean Services, we know that couches attract dirt, grime, food spills, and all kinds of messes over time. While regular vacuuming helps, to really deep clean a couch, steam cleaning is one of the best DIY methods. The pressurized steam helps sanitize fabrics and lift stains in a way that other methods cannot. 

If you’re looking to revive your couch and make it look brand new, follow this step-by-step guide to steam cleaning it like a pro. Our experts at Speed Clean Services recommend steam cleaning couches every 6-12 months to keep them fresh and clean.

What You’ll Need

Before getting started, make sure you have the following equipment:

  1. A handheld steam cleaner or an upholstery attachment for your regular steam cleaner
  2. Mild upholstery detergent or fabric cleaner (optional) 
  3. Microfiber cloths
  4. A vacuum cleaner with upholstery brush attachment
  5. Clean towels

Prep Your Couch

To make sure your couch is ready for a thorough steam cleaning:

  1. Vacuum the entire surface using an upholstery attachment. This lifts dirt, debris and loose particles.
  2. Pretreat any stained or soiled areas with an upholstery cleaner or fabric spot remover. This helps loosen up the dirt so the steam can remove it more effectively.
  3. Remove any cushions or detachable pieces from the couch and set aside.
  4. Test your steam cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area of the couch to make sure it doesn’t damage or discolor the fabric.

Step-by-Step Steam Cleaning 

Once your couch is prepped, follow these steps:

  1. Fill up the steam cleaner’s water reservoir per the manufacturer’s instructions. Add upholstery detergent if desired.
  2. Turn on the steam cleaner and wait for it to heat up and start producing steam.
  3. Holding the steam cleaner nozzle about 1 inch above the surface, pass it over the fabric slowly in smooth, overlapping motions.
  4. Work section by section, including the back, arms, seats, and front. Pay special attention to cushion seams and tufts where dirt collects.
  5. As you work, use a microfiber cloth to wipe up any excess moisture and dirt lifted by the steam.
  6. Continue until the entire couch is cleaned. Refill the steam cleaner with water as needed.
  7. Let the couch dry completely before replacing cushions or using again. This typically takes 4-6 hours.

For Best Results

Follow these pro tips when steam cleaning for a couch that looks professionally cleaned:

  • Always work with the grain of the fabric, not against it.
  • Overlap your cleaning strokes to ensure full coverage.
  • Don’t press down hard or hold the nozzle too close, which can damage fabric. 
  • If the couch is heavily soiled, go over it twice for improved cleaning.
  • For tough stains, use a soft brush attachment and gently scrub.
  • When finished, vacuum again to lift any residual dirt brought up by the steam.

Maintain a Clean Couch

To keep your couch looking its best after steam cleaning:

  • Vacuum weekly using an upholstery brush.
  • Immediately blot any new spills or stains.
  • Every 6-12 months, steam clean again to sanitize and refresh.

For those without the time for DIY steam cleaning, Speed Clean Services offers professional couch and upholstery cleaning services. Our expert technicians have the skills and tools to deep clean and revitalize your upholstered furniture. Contact us today for a free quote!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How often should you steam clean a couch?

For average use, aim to steam clean a couch every 6-12 months. Clean more frequently if you have kids or pets.

2. What is the best steam cleaner to use on upholstery? 

Look for a handheld steam cleaner with variable steam settings and upholstery attachments. Rug doctor and Bissell make good options.

3. Can you put couch cushions in the washing machine?

It’s best to only steam clean cushions to avoid damage. Check the tag to see if washing is allowed. Use a gentle cycle if so.

4. How long does it take for a steam-cleaned couch to dry?

Depending on fabric, it typically takes 4-6 hours for a steam cleaned couch to fully dry before using again.

5. What is the best way to clean couch armrests?

Focus the steam cleaner nozzle on the armrests using an up-and-down motion to lift dirt from crevices. 

6. Should you vacuum before steam cleaning?

Yes, always vacuum first to remove loose dirt and debris that can hinder steam cleaning effectiveness.

7. Can you use carpet cleaner instead of upholstery detergent?

It’s best to use mild upholstery detergent designed for steam cleaning delicate fabrics.

8. How do you sanitize a couch without harsh chemicals?

Steam cleaning is a chemical-free way to sanitize upholstery using the power of heat alone to kill bacteria and germs.

9. How do you get old stains out of a couch?  

Pretreat set-in stains before steam cleaning. Use an upholstery brush attachment to gently loosen and lift stains.

10. Does renting a steam cleaner save money?

Yes, renting avoids the cost of purchasing. But hiring a pro like Speed Clean Services ensures the best results.