How to clean microfiber couch

clean couch

Most homeowners have dirty couches in their living rooms. The most common causes include stains, pet hair, spillage from kids and more. When you see any dirt or stains on your couch, you might consider getting it cleaned properly. However, hiring professionals can be expensive. It’s even more expensive and difficult when you have a microfiber couch. Therefore, you need some simple tips to thoroughly clean a microfiber couch without spending a lot of money or causing unnecessary damage.

So excited to feature the 55 East Design blog and their couch cleaning tutorial! I think the image above says it all. The before and after is completely amazing. If you have small kids with sippy cups and markers running rampant in your house… this is the perfect guide to cleaning up your couch after it’s been through the toddler trenches.

Here’s the link to the tutorial… 55EastDesign – Microfiber Couch Cleaning Tutorial

How to clean a microfiber couch

Microfiber couch

Microfiber material couches are popular because they are stain-resistant. They can also be cheaper alternatives that strongly mimic leather or suede material.

The first step to cleaning a microfiber couch is to check the label or cleaning instructions that should’ve come with the couch. Whatever advice you find online or in this article should first be balanced against the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to protect and properly clean your couch.

So, with that in mind, the first step is to check the label. It should come with one of four codes that describe the appropriate cleaning method:

  • W: Water-based cleaning solvents.
  • S: Water-free solvents.
  • S/W: Both water-based and water-free solvents.
  • X: Should never be cleaned with a solvent and only vacuumed.

The one downside to microfiber is that the fibers can be very sensitive. Cleaning it with the wrong material can severely lower the material’s efficacy. Even water might not be safe if not stipulated.

Couches rated for water-based solvents are the easiest since you can use almost any solvent. We will cover the most common types of couches which are “S.” If you are wondering how to clean “X” rated couches, simply ignore the steps with solvent.

Cleaning with water-free solvents

Microfiber is polyester-based which means that you can use just about any solvent that is polyester-appropriate for your microfiber couch. Understand the difference suedes before you get started. One popular choice among household cleaners is every-day rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol that is usually 70% pure alcohol. As a pro tip, you can also use vodka if you have some lying around instead of rubbing alcohol.

What you will need

  • Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
  • Spray bottle or spray cap (in case the rubbing alcohol bottle doesn’t have)
  • Clean cloth or sponges (you can look for microfiber approved products)
  • Vacuum with adjustable power or not high-powered
  • Hair dryer

How to do it

  1. First of all, vacuum your couch. Use an upholstery friendly tip like a soft brush attachment. You should not use a high-powered vacuum as this will pull and damage the fibers of the couch. Vacuuming will get rid of much of the dust and other debris. It’s a good idea to vacuum your couch once a week out of habit.
  2. Once complete, give the couch another run over with a soft-bristle brush.
  3. If your couch does not have a label and you lost the cleaning instructions you can do a quick test with the solvent. Lift a cushion and identify a spot that isn’t easy to see. Spray some of your solvent on a small area. Gently rub and scrub the solution. Let it dry. If it stained the couch, it’s not the right cleaning agent to use.
  4. If all is well, you can now start to clean the entire couch. Work on a small area at a time. Spray the solution but do not soak the spot, it should just be damp. Gently rub the solution with a cloth.
  5. Take the hairdryer, set it to its lowest heat setting and dry the area holding it about 5 to 6 inches from the material.
  6. Lastly, gently scrub down the cleaned area. This helps soften the fibers up as they sometimes become stiff after cleaning.

Other tricks

  • Use ice to remove chewing gum: Chewing gum is one of those hazards to your couches that come with kids. A neat trick to remove chewing gum without too much damage is to hold some ice against it until it stiffens. You should then be able to pull it off the material relatively easily.
  • Remove spots with Lysol: You can use original Lysol spray to remove small stains from your couch. Spray a tiny bit on the area and rub down with a cloth. Dry with a hairdryer and it should be good as new.

How to clean a suede couch

Suede couch

A suede couch is summed up perfectly by its partners in alliteration: suave and sophisticated. However, this material can also quickly start to look less than stellar if not cleaned and maintained properly on a regular basis. One downside to suede is that they stain very easily.

Luckily, suede couches are much less picky when it comes to cleaning material which makes all of our jobs much easier. You can also take some proactive measures to protect your couch from stains in the first place.

Protecting your suede couch

Before you use a protective spray, you should check the labeling or instructions that came with the couch. On some couches, your warranty will be void if you use these protectors sprays on it. Some suede couches will even warn you against using them while others will specify between water-based or synthetic solvents. As always, your manufacturer’s instructions should come first.

If there are no such warnings, you can buy an everyday suede protector spray from brands like Kiwi or Scotchguard. These are usually versatile and can be used on any suede items from shoes to handbags to upholstery.

Applying it is very easy. All you need to do is spray it all over the couch to form a nice even coating. Don’t soak the couch in it! It should be damp at most. Hold the can some distance away from the couch and gently sweep it from one place to another instead of holding it pointed at the same spot.

Safety first! As the fumes can be quite strong, make sure the area is ventilated by opening windows, turning on fans or running the exhaust system.

Cleaning your suede couch

This type of cleaning should be done on a weekly basis. As we said before, suede couches can easily become stained. The longer it is left, the less effective and harder cleaning becomes.

What you will need

  • Vacuum with adjustable power or not high-powered
  • Clean terry cloth towel
  • Suede fabric brush

How to do it

  1. Remove the cushions from the suede and remove all the litter that is bound to pile up underneath. While you are at it, pat off all the loose dust using your hand, a cloth or another pillow.
  2. Now, take out the vacuum and suck up all the remaining dust. Don’t use the vacuum on high-power or use a smaller handheld vacuum. A soft brush attachment can also be used.
  3. Now whip out the clean cloth and suede brush. Gently brush and rub the suede, making sure to remove all pet hair and debris that remain.
  4. You can also use a damp cloth to freshen up the couch afterward. However, you should be wary because water and shampoos can easily damage luxurious upholstery like this. The cloth should be barely damp and should not even “wet” the couch as such, it should just be damp enough to catch those last stubborn dust particles.

Other tips

  • Clean up spills: We all dread the moment we see a spill end up on our suede couch. The best advice is to attend to it quickly. Immediately blot the spill with an absorbent material to get all the extra moisture. Then use a damp cloth to get rid of the rest. You should use a cleaning solution recommended by the manufacturer. Distilled vinegar diluted in water makes a pretty good suede cleaning agent.

How to clean a leather couch

leather couch

Leather couches have a classic look which means it remains a popular choice throughout the year. Although it’s not as sensitive when it comes to cleaning as microfiber or suede couches, they can be expensive. So you want to protect your investment by making smart cleaning choices.

When it comes to leather couches you should always check whether it is protected or unprotected leather. Unprotected leather usually looks and feels finer and more luxurious but is much more sensitive.

Dry clean

As with any couch, a leather couch will continually attract all kinds of dust and debris. A routine dry clean should be done to keep the problem from getting out of hand in the future.

What you need

  • Vacuum with a soft brush attachment.
  • Feather or microfiber duster

How to do it

  1. First, lift the pillows off the couch and throw away any litter as well as patting off any loose dust and debris.
  2. Get the vacuum and first vacuum the couch without the attachment. If you use a brush attachment with larger debris still on the couch, it could scrape and damage the leather.
  3. Now you can attach the soft brush attachment and collect all those last tiny pieces of dust. Again, you should vacuum thoroughly before the next step to protect the couch.
  4. Finally, use the microfiber or feather duster (we prefer microfiber) and give everything a final good going over.

Clean with solution

Luckily, leather couches are slightly more forgiving when it comes to cleaning solutions than either microfiber or suede material couches. However, you should still check the label or cleaning instructions for any inappropriate cleaning solutions. We recommend a homemade cleaning solution of equal parts bottled or filtered water and white vinegar.

What you need

  • Big bowl of cleaning solution/commercial cleaning solution or moisturizing bar soap like Dove
  • Clean rag or cloth (any soft material will do)
  • Another soft towel or dry clean rag
  • Bucket for dirty solution

How to do it

  1. Mix your cleaning solution and dip the rag in it. Wring the rag thoroughly. You don’t want to soak the couch in solution. It should be just damp enough to have an effect.
  2. Start at the top of the sofa and slowly work your way down by rubbing and gently cleaning small areas at a time. Regularly wring the dirty water out of the rag before continuing.
  3. You can now take the dry rag or towel and go over the couch one last time. Any wetness left to soak can stain the leather over time, so you want to wipe it down thoroughly.

Remove stains

What you need

  • Commercial leather cleaning solution
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Clean rag
  • Baking soda or cornstarch
  • Rubbing alcohol

How to do it

  1. As always, it’s best to treat a stain as soon as possible for best results and an even finish. As soon as the stain occurs, use a clean rag or tissues to absorb the extra moisture.
  2. For a grease stain from hair, beauty products, or sweat, apply some cleaning solution to a clean rag and wipe the area down and scrub it gently with the brush. If it persists, apply some baking soda and wipe down the residue after a few minutes. Hopefully, it would’ve sucked up the oil.
  3. For ink stains, immediately dip some cotton in rubbing alcohol and rub down the area. You can then repeat the first two steps.
  4. Lastly, it’s important to make sure you ALWAYS dry the area before cleaning it to avoid the leather staining with moisture anyway.

Keep the couch looking new

Leather couches tend to show their age much more than suede or microfiber couches. To keep yours looking as fresh and new as possible you can try the following method:

What you need

  • Tea tree oil/linseed oil
  • White vinegar
  • Two soft, clean cloths

How to do it

  1. Mix one part of the vinegar with two parts of the oil. Use only linseed or tea tree oil as others won’t have the desired effect.
  2. Dip only a small bit of the cleaning cloth in the solution. Even less than when we clean the couch.
  3. Gently apply the solution to the couch using gentle yet firm circular motions.
  4. Once you have finished the entire couch, let it sit for around 10 minutes. You can then use the clean, dry rag to buff the couch down.

Save time and money when you know how to clean a couch!

We hope that this guide helped you figure out how to clean a couch and keep it clean, whatever couch that might be. We have said it a few times before but will say it again for good measure: all the advice in this article should only be followed if it’s not warned against by your couch cleaning instructions. It would be a shame to cause more stains while trying to do the opposite. If it’s pet hair that has you pulling out your hair, read our article on tips for getting fur off of upholstery. Good luck and happy cleaning!

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