How to Steam Clean a Couch-Tips for Mild and Tough Stains

A couch is essential in every home. you need a comfortable spot to chat with friends when they visit, your kids need a place to watch their favorite program, and your pets need a chilled spot to curl up and enjoy the warmth of their surroundings.  

Relaxing on your couch after a busy day is mind-blowing until accidents like wine spilling on it happen and now you have to find ways to restore it before it stains further. Plus, when you have kids and pets around, you even have to be more alert as you are likely to come across pet hairs, food crumbs, and many other forms of dirt on your couch.


Luckily, you can steam clean your couch and get it back to looking fresh and new. Steam cleaning a couch is very easy especially if the stain is mild. And if you have the right steam cleaning upholstery, it’s even much easier to get rid of those persistent stains.

The best thing about steaming your couch is that all the stains and grime that may have accumulated over time will be eliminated. Plus, your couch will get back to looking attractive and free from dirt.

In this article, you will learn how to steam clean your couch whether it has mild or tough stains without ruining its aesthetics. Read on to find out more

How to Steam Clean a Couch In 3 Steps

Steam cleaning a couch involves three steps which are each discussed in detail so you can be able to carry out the process thoroughly and effectively.

Step 1: Preparation

This is the most important stage when it comes to cleaning your couch. It is also important to read the instructions on the manufacturers’ tag on whether your couch’s upholstery is fit for steam cleaning. If it has an “SW” then it’s suitable but an “X” means water will damage it. Follow these processes to prepare your upholstery for steam cleaning

1.1 Vacuum the Couch Thoroughly

You will want to make sure you remove all the pet hairs, food crumbs, dust, and dirt, and the best way to achieve this is by vacuuming your couch. Make sure you reach the back and into the crevices and if your couch cushions are removable make sure you remove them.

Vacuuming the back and sides which usually have dust that may have accumulated over time will also help in making your couch cleaner probably not the way you would have imagined.

Aside from using a vacuum, you can also use the perfect cleaning brush like this one available on amazon. A brush would also do a thorough job just like a vacuum.

1.2 Pre-treat the Stains

Pre-treating stains if there are any on your couch will make the steaming process easier and more effective. If the stain is mild and is that of food or drink, take a damp cloth and blot the area. However, if the stain is oil-based, you will need a more effective cleaner like oxy clean.

You can also make natural cleaners at home using vinegar and baking soda. Baking soda and vinegar solutions are effective at eliminating odor and stains. When using this solution, you will need to sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the stained area and let it sit for about 8minutes. Remember the longer you let the baking soda sit the more effective it will work.

In a spray bottle, add 2 cups of water, ½ cup vinegar, and mild liquid dish soap then shake gently to mix to form a solution. Spray the solution over the stained area then use a sponge to blot the area gently, do not rub so as not to set in the stain or possibly to remove the color from the fabric.

Since vinegar is acidic and very noxious, you don’t have to worry as you will get rid of its strong smell when steaming your couch.

1.3 Pre-condition your Upholstery

whilst steam cleaning helps eliminate all the dirt, dust, and crumbs in your couch, you need to pre-condition it to make the process smooth and effective.

Products like soil emulsifiers are the best products that you can use on your couch to help loosen all the elements in your stained couch to make it easier for steam cleaning.

To use the soil emulsifier, spray a generous amount of it on every part of your couch including the sides, back, and into the crevices then let sit for about 8 minutes.

After 8 or so minutes, spray a small amount of fabric shampoo then rub it gently on the fabric using a sponge or a brush for it to sip through into the fabric.

Step 2. Steam Cleaning your Couch

2.1 Choosing the Right Steam Cleaner

Since there are many varieties of steam cleaners, you will want to make sure that the one you choose is specifically meant for upholstery steaming or fabric steaming. Plus, the steam cleaner should either be handheld or have a detachable hose.

Carpet steam cleaners are usually heavy and they also lack fabric cleaning attachments hence may not be suitable for cleaning upholstery or fabric.

Since durable and efficient steam cleaners are usually quite expensive, you might not be ready to commit to buying one which is why there are stores that offer steam cleaners for rent.

2.2 Preparing the Steam Cleaner

Since most steam cleaners are of different models, you will need to follow the direction for use in yours so that you can use it effectively.

Basically, you will need to add water and soap to the machine. You will remove the container that holds water and cleaner from the machine then put in water and cleaner. Also, make sure you don’t fill it to the brim.

Before you start steaming, make sure you add the right upholstery attachment depending on the model of the steam cleaner you are using.

2.3 Start by Steaming the Cushions

If your couch has removable cushions, remove them from the couch and start by steaming them before going to the other parts of the couch.

Using the steamer spray the surface of the cushion with steam covering all the area of the fabric while dragging the opening of the machine over the damp areas to suck up excess water and soap.

Make sure if you are going to steam both sides of the couch you do it one after the other side has completely dried to prevent molds from building up.

2.4 Steam Clean Other Parts of the Couch

It is very important to clean the cushions first before cleaning the other parts of the couch. While cleaning the sides, arms, and back, repeat the process you followed while cleaning the cushions by spraying steam on one part after the other while dragging the opening of the machine over the damp areas to suck up excess water and soap.

You also need to avoid spraying steam over one area for a long time as too much water may be absorbed in the fabric forcing it to take much longer to dry.

Repeat the process until all the parts of the couch are thoroughly cleaned. Also, if there is an area that is not clean enough, you can repeat the process on the area until it is spotless.

2.5 Air Dry the Couch

The process of drying your couch after steaming depends majorly on the state of the weather on the day you choose to clean it.

If it is sunny outside, make sure you leave the doors and windows open to speed up the drying process and to make sure molds do not build up in your couch.

If the weather is not favorable, there is still no reason to worry as your couch will dry eventually as long as you keep the windows and door open during the day.

Step 3: Removing Persistent Stains

Steam cleaning basically helps in eliminating all kinds of stains but if there are persistent stains then what you need is a heavy-duty cleaner.

Remember before steam cleaning, we pre-treated stains and we used products like vinegar and baking soda but if they didn’t remove all the stains, here is where the heavy-duty cleaners come in.

I would recommend using resolve cleaner as I have personally used it on my upholstery and it worked wonders. Just spray a generous amount of resolve cleaner on the stained area and use a wet sponge or a damp white cloth to rub the area gently in circular motions to loosen the stain.

If the stain is still persistent, repeat the process again for 2-3 rounds and the outcome will be positive by then.

Before using the resolve cleaner, make sure you test it in an inconspicuous area to know if it is suitable for your fabric then proceed to use it if it doesn’t bleach.

How Long Does a Couch Take to Dry After Steam Cleaning?

After spending almost, the whole day making your sofa clean from all the stains, crumbs, dust, and dirt, you will probably be looking forward to relaxing on it. Unfortunately, that will not happen if your couch is still wet.

After steaming your couch, it will take about 3 to 8 hours to dry depending on the nature of your fabric and the state of whether on the day you do it. If it is sunny, then your couch will probably take a shorter time to dry than when it is gloomy outside.

How Much Does It Cost to Steam Clean a Couch?

Steam cleaning a couch is a safe way to get rid of odors and all other types of dirt that may be lingering on it. However, you most likely would want to know how much it would cost you to have your couch steam cleaned if you don’t have a steam cleaner of your own.

Well, to have your couch steam cleaned by a professional, you will need about $150 but most steaming cleaning services cost between $150-$250. Also, you can rent a steam cleaner for about $50 or choose to own one by buying yours for around $450 but prices range from as low as $100-$500 depending on the model of the steam cleaner.

Are Steam Cleaners Worth It?

Buying a couch is more of an investment as you need a lot of money to buy a comfortable and durable one. Therefore, you would definitely want to invest in a safe and better way by which you can care for and maintain your couch and a steam cleaner is definitely the best method by which you can clean your couch.

Investing in a steam cleaner for your upholstery, carpet, and the mattress cover is absolutely worth it. Steam cleaning helps in deodorizing by eliminating odor and bacteria found on your fabric. plus, it is safe to use a steam cleaner to get rid of stains and dirt as compared to machine washing.

Can you Use Steam Cleaner On a Fabric Sofa?

Fabric sofas are best known for how soft and comfortable they tend to make one feel. Plus, they are usually practical and functional even in homes with kids and pets who can get messy and end up staining it. We all know how cleaning a couch can be overwhelming especially if the stain becomes persistent.

Fortunately, today you can use a steam cleaner to make your fabric sofa tidy after it has been messed up. All you have to do is identify the right steam cleaner that will handle your fabric sofa gently without ruining it. The best steam cleaner for cleaning a fabric sofa is a fabric or upholstery steam cleaner.

A fabric steam cleaner will leave your fabric sofa looking spotless and as attractive as a new one. As a matter of fact, steam cleaning is the safest way for even cleaning your couch cushion covers as compared to machine washing them.

Does Steam Cleaning a Couch Make It Smell Better?

Since we literally spend most of our time on the couch after a busy day we would all want it to be cozy and inviting. And one of the best ways for a couch to give out that cozy and inviting feel is when it is smelling fresh.

The best way to give your couch a long-lasting warm and sweet fragrance is by steam cleaning it. Steam cleaning a couch deodorizes it by eliminating all the odors that produce germs and bacteria found on your sofa.