Steam cleaning is, by far, one of the best methods of cleaning without chemicals.
Steam cleaners work by boiling water and using steam to kill bacteria, mold, dust mites, and more. Steam cleaners also help lift stuck-on debris and even remove grease from fabric – making them ideal for cleaning upholstery.
How Do You Clean Upholstery with a Steamer?
- 1 How Do You Clean Upholstery with a Steamer?
- 2 Before You Get Started: Make Sure Your Furniture is Steam Cleaner Safe
- 3 6 Steps for Steam Cleaning Your Upholstery
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions About Steam Cleaning Upholstery
- 5 Conclusion
Before you get started, make sure your upholstery label is marked with a “W” and is steam cleaner safe. If it is, pretreat stains, apply an upholstery shampoo, and then steam clean the upholstery in small sections. Make sure to thoroughly suction after blasting with steam so that the upholstery doesn’t become oversaturated with water.
Before You Get Started: Make Sure Your Furniture is Steam Cleaner Safe
You’re likely to see one of these symbols:
- W – Use a water-based cleaner or steam cleaner.
- S – Dry clean only.
- W/S – Spot clean only with mild solvents.
- X – Vacuum only – don’t use any cleaners or water.
If your upholstery falls in the “W” category, you’re safe to use your steam cleaner. (However, it’s still a good idea to test out any cleaners or stain removers you plan on using in an inconspicuous spot.)
6 Steps for Steam Cleaning Your Upholstery
# 1- Vacuum
The first thing you need to do is thoroughly vacuum the furniture you’d like to clean. If you don’t do this, you’ll only make your furniture dirtier – the steam will mix with the dirt and settle into your upholstery.
Pull off all cushions or pillows and give the piece of furniture a thorough vacuuming.
# 2 – Treat the Stains
If you have any stains on your furniture, now is the time to treat them. Spray a stain treatment on the spots, allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then blot it out.
# 3 – Treat with a Soil Emulsifier and Upholstery Shampoo
Now you’re going to want to spray a soil emulsifier all over the upholstery. The soil emulsifier helps loosen any ground in dirt or debris.
After the emulsifier has set for a few minutes, spray the entire upholstered piece of furniture with upholstery shampoo. Use a soft-bristled brush to work the shampoo into the fabric.
# 4 – Get Your Steam Cleaner Ready to Clean
Once all of the pretreatments have been made, it’s time to get your steam cleaner ready to do the heavy lifting.
Follow the instructions to prepare your steam cleaner. This generally means you’ll need to add water and fabric cleaner to the reservoir tank. Avoid adding too much water to the tank, or you’ll end up with oversaturated upholstery.
Use the attachment best suited for your upholstery. Depending on the unit you own, this can be a brush or a cloth.
# 5 – Steam Clean Your Upholstered Pieces
Now it’s time to clean. Work in small sections, starting with any removable pillows or cushions.
To clean, you’ll blast the upholstery with steam and then suction the area you treated. Be thorough in your suctioning, as you don’t want your furniture to be soaking wet. Work in small sections until you’ve fully cleaned the upholstery.
# 6 – Allow the Upholstery to Dry
Once you’ve cleaned the furniture, it’s time to let it dry. Drying times vary based on the humidity in your house. If it’s warm outside, you can open up windows to speed up the drying process.
Frequently Asked Questions About Steam Cleaning Upholstery
Can you use a carpet steam cleaner on your couch?
The only time you should ever use a carpet steam cleaner on your couch is if it comes with an attachment for upholstery. Upholstery steam cleaners and carpet steam cleaners work differently, and without the proper attachment, you run the risk of oversaturating your couch.
Can you steam clean cloth furniture?
Most of the time, yes, you can steam clean cloth furniture. It’s essential, though, that you check the fabric label on your furniture and make sure that it’s water safe.
Can I steam clean my mattress?
You need to check the fabric label on your mattress and make sure it’s marked “W” or water safe before using a steam cleaner on it. Most mattresses are safe to steam clean, and steam cleaning can sanitize them and kill dust mites and bed bugs.
Steam cleaning can make your upholstery look and smell like new again. Plus, you’ll get the added benefits of having sanitized furniture. Just make sure your fabric is steam cleaner safe before starting.