How to steam clean a couch – The ultimate guide

After a hectic day at work, where would you want to lie down to have some rest? Of course, your beloved couch. It is one piece of furniture in your house, which is always enticing and welcoming for its owners. May it be your kids or your fluffy pet, they all love this place.

But your couch can lose its much-loved warmth or may become a breeding ground for diseases and allergies if you neglect to keep it clean properly.

The dirt and grime may not be visible until there are stains, but the impact of that persistent dirt and shedding of your skin cells go deep into the fibers.

You might be aware that fleas and other micro-particles love to feed on your dead skin cells. It might be interesting to know that we shed 30,000 dead skin cells every minute of our life on average. Now count how many you might have lost in the time it took you to read this small part of our guide.

If you are looking to get a vacuum cleaner for couch, do check this product


No, I am not trying to scare you. Instead, I am here to help. And that’s why I compiled this article about How to steam clean a couch. So, you should not provide a chance to fleas and dirt to have a party on your dead skin cells and that too on your beautiful sofa.

Know that vacuuming your couch and upholstery with the Best Shark Vacuum for Pet Hair and fleas may not be enough to maintain their hygiene. But, preferably, use them in tandem with other supplementary methods.

Learning How to steam clean a couch is also essential because dry-steam vapours can also remove foul odours from the sofa.At the same time, it deodorises your couch or upholstery too.

Before going deep into knowing how to steam clean a couch, there are few questions that you might have in your mind. Let’s eradicate those obscurities first.

Why should you use a steam cleaner when you have a simple vacuum at home?

Many house owners rely on the steam cleaner for this particular job because they know the difference. Steam cleaners not only remove dust and debris from the couches but also sanitise them. The machine produces steam with the help of boiling water which is an eco-friendly way to eliminate stains without using any harmful chemicals.

While a simple vacuum will use its suction to remove the dirt and debris only. On the other hand, a steamed cleaner sterilizes the surface to remove any allergy-causing particles, fleas, bed bugs, and much more.

Will a steam cleaner impact the color and fabric of the couch due to high temperature?

No, it does not. On the contrary, the cleaner works to loosen the persistent dirt and debris from deep into the couch. Later, the pod picks up the loosened particle bestowing brightness to the color and fabric of your couch.

There are some cleaning indicators mentioned by the manufacture, what do they refer to?

Many manufacturers mention cleaning codes for cleaning the fabric part of the couch. They are helpful instructions to maintain the health of the fabric. You may find codes such as S, W and X. Note that:

  • The S code refers to the fact that the best way to clean the couch is with a solvent-based cleaning agent. Thus, using steam may cause damage to the fabric. So, it is better if avoided.
  • The W code corresponds that the steam is the safest method to treat these kinds of couches.
  • If you find X mentioned on the cleaning instructions, note that water can cause severe damage to the couch fabric and in all cases, you should avoid it.

Pro-Tip: When you prepare to clean your couch, make sure you have read the cleaning instructions. Especially for delicate fabric and non-fabric material.


When buying a steamer, what factors should you take care of?

Pick a specialised steamer:

The starting point is to look for a cleaner specializing in cleaning upholsteries and couches. Alternatively, you may choose a fabric steamer or a handheld unit.

Ensure its extended reach:

While choosing a steamer, may sure it can reach tight spots and narrow areas. More often than not, the dust and pet dander cozy up in little corners. The accompanying accessories like extension hoses and wands are essential considerations when looking for the perfect handheld steaming units.

Essential attachments: 

Another consideration is to look for a unit with an angled nozzle and a flat head as an additional accessory. This cleaning head is used to steam fabrics. The use of these specialised tools is essential to achieve efficient cleaning of your upholstery or clothing.

I hope all your essential ambiguities are cleared now we can move to the main task of knowing How to steam clean a couch.

Tips to achieve the immaculate result from your steam cleaning of the couch

Prepare the couch for cleaning

In the preparation phase, you will look for the cleaning instructions mentioned on the couch. We have already mentioned what different codes mentioned in the cleaning unit imply. According to them, ensure you possess the required solvent or the steaming device.

Ensure colour fastness

What is colorfastness? Many delicate fabrics cannot withstand chemicals or high temperatures and lose color. So, fastness is the resistance of the color against any fading and running out with water. 

To do that, you can steam clean a less visible area, usually any one of the hidden corners by running the steaming head attached to the nozzle. Wipe the fabric and leave it for few minutes. If no fading of colour or dislocation happens, you can continue to the rest of the couch without worrying.

Pro-Tip: Before you start steaming, ensure the area has proper ventilation to avoid any unnecessary build-up of steam, heat, and humidity.

Step 1: Vacuum the couch

The step is to remove any loose dirt, pet dander, stray hair, and other organisms. You may use the Best Vacuum for Fleas in this step. This step is necessary because any resident dust and dirt will make the cleaning messier. The resulting stains may take more effort when cleaning with a steamer. For cleaning cushions and detachable upholstery seats, vacuum them on both sides thoroughly. Cleaning your couch and pillows with a vacuum makes a lot of difference. If you don’t have the Best Vacuum for Fleas, you might alternatively use the Best Shark Vacuum for Pet Hair or any other good brand.

Step 2: Pre-treat the stubborn stains

You might be thinking why is there a need to pre-treat a stain when you are already going to steam clean it. Am I right? It is because some stains are too tough that they need cleaning with a special spot treatment cleaner.

Spraying the spot with an upholstery cleaner will dislodge the stains and prepare it for later removal with the steam cleaner. Let the cleaning solution rest on the area for a few minutes. This step is especially essential when the stain is oil based.

You can find home based cleaning solutions like:

  • A mixture of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol
  • Baking soda and cornstarch solution with water added 
  • Dishwashing soap and water

Alternatively, you may use a cleaner from a retail store such as Oxy clean. While using any of these solutions, make sure to not rub with excessive force as it may damage the fibres.

We hope that so far, our guide about How to steam clean a couch is without any ambiguities. Let’s move forward.

Step 3: Prepare the fabric or couch surface for steam cleaning

This step involves the actual preparation of the couch surface for cleaning. Remember, good preparation is the key to getting the best outcomes. You may use soil emulsifies and apply it all over the couch and cushions and leave them for a few minutes. The soil emulsifier will dislodge the dust and grit from the surface.

When you find the solution seeping well into the surface while drying out, spray the surface with a thin layer of fabric shampoo. Rub the surface with a gentle brush to penetrate the chemicals into the fibers of the fabric.

Ensure you are not circumventing the manufacturer’s instruction regarding the use of these chemicals. Because your negligence may lead to ruining your favorite couch or any other piece of furniture in your home.

Step 4: choose the best machine and accessory

We have already mentioned the kind of machine you should be choosing for steam cleaning the surface. Make sure the cleaning attachment properly suit the need of steam cleaning the upholstery or couch. Avoid the cleaning accessories coming with your usual vacuum cleaner.

Add the water in the reservoir of the machine. You may also add a little fabric cleaner in the water. But at the same time, adding too much cleaner may clog the machine or impact the working of the device.

When you start the steamers, let the first burst of steam release and wait for it to reach the right temperature.

Step 5: Steam clean the pillows and cushions first

Start with cleaning the removable cushions and pillows. Steam one side, let it dry completely before moving to the other side. If the surface gets excessively damp, take the nozzle to suck up the moisture and cleaning solution.

Steam clean small portions and gradually move in up and down motion. But at the same time, you may need to avoid excessive dampness of the cleaning surface. Next move towards the mainframe and repeat the same steps as mentioned for the pillows and cushions.

Pro-tip: Make sure you do not waterlog an area by cleaning again and again. It will take longer for the unduly damp area to dry.

Step 6: Completely dry out the fabric

Once cleaned, the fabric needs to be completely dry before it is fit for use again. You may increase the ventilation of the area in case of increased humidity. Once it is completely dry, vacuum the couch again. This will lift its looks and also settle the furs meanwhile removing any stray dust particles. 

Final step: Time to have some rest

Finally, we reach the end of our guide about how to steam clean a couch. If you have followed these steps one by one, the end product will surely make you happy. Once your couch is dry, looking shiny with a beautiful clean scent, it is time to have some rest.

There is no denying that steaming is hard. But if the whole process does not happen cohesively, you may leave different stains and marks of waterlogging rather than cleaning it.

So, make sure you clean it according to the process mentioned in this article. You can thank us later for the best results.

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