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How To Steam Clean A Couch In 7 Easy Steps

How To Steam Clean A Couch In 7 Easy Steps

Your couch can get really dirty. Members of your household sit on it and eat snacks on it daily, and if you have pets who love to sleep on it, it can become the victim of dirt, food crumbs, and even stubborn stains. 

What’s the best way to give your couch a deep clean? A steam cleaner can help you to eliminate debris and dirt, but you might be nervous about using it on your couch.

Before you choose a different type of cleaning method, there are some things you should know about steam cleaning your couch. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about doing it properly. 


Can You Steam Clean A Couch?

Can You Steam Clean A Couch? 

You can certainly clean a couch with the use of steam, but before you go ahead you have to ensure that your couch won’t be damaged by the hot temperature.

Check the couch’s label to see if it says that it can be steam cleaned. It should not contain an “X” on it. If the couch says “SW,” this means that the couch can be cleaned with solvent and water. Steam cleaning your couch won’t damage its fibers.

Note that if the couch only has “S,” the fabric can be treated with solvents but not steam! If it’s marked with “W,” then you can use steam. 

Good Reasons Why You Should Steam Clean Your Couch 

Good Reasons Why You Should Steam Clean Your Couch 

There are advantages to steam cleaning your couch. These include the following:

  • Steam cleaning will keep the material of your couch soft and pliable. 
  • Steam cleaning removes dirt as well as germs that are in the couch, helping you to sanitize it. 
  • Since you can remove bacteria from the couch with steam, this helps to make your couch smell pleasant. 
  • Steaming helps to kill bed bugs and dust mites. 
  • It also works well to kill mold spores, therefore keeping your couch hygienic. 

How To Steam Clean A Couch In Seven Easy Steps 

Now that you’re ready to clean your couch with a steam cleaner, there are some important tips to follow so that you do it safely. Since the steam will get very hot, you don’t want to accidentally damage your couch.

Prepare The Couch

Prepare The Couch

You can’t just start cleaning your couch with steam if you don’t prepare it first. You have to prepare it by vacuuming it to remove loose debris and excess dust. 

When vacuuming the couch, make sure you clean in hard-to-reach places such as along the sides and into the crevices. You should also vacuum the cushions that are on the couch.

Remove crumbs, pet hair, and other dirt so that you’ll be able to better steam clean your couch. 

Pre-Treat Any Stains 

If your couch has any stains on it, you have to ensure you check the couch manufacturer’s recommendations so that you don’t cause damage to the couch when trying to remove them.

While steaming your couch can remove a variety of stains, such as food, urine, and dirt stains, any stain that’s oil-based will require a pre-treatment solution. 

A DIY cleaning solution you can apply to the stain is to mix white vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Or, use baking soda with cornstarch, then add some water to it.

Apply A Soil Emulsifier

Again, check the couch manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations to be sure that this product won’t damage the couch. A soil emulsifier is useful because it will lift any debris that has been ground into the couch fibers.

Spray the product all over the couch and give it some time to penetrate the crevices and gaps. Leave it to dry for a few minutes.

Make Sure You Use The Right Steam Cleaner

Make Sure You Use The Right Steam Cleaner

Are you sure you’re using the right steam cleaner to clean your couch effectively? You have to ensure that the steam cleaner can steam fabrics and upholstery. Fabric steamers that can be used for clothing are also great for using on your couch. 

The steam cleaner can be a floor machine or a handheld unit, so choose whichever one you think will be more convenient to use.

Make sure you can hold or use it comfortably to prevent fatigue. In this way, a handheld unit is great. Even if the steam cleaner isn’t a handheld model, it should have extension hoses as well as detachable wands to make it easy to use. 

Do A Test Steam Clean 

Before you steam clean your entire couch, you should first test the steam cleaner on one small area of the couch. Steam and wipe the area, then check it after 15 minutes.

If you don’t see any damage or discoloration, then the couch can be steamed all over without any risk. 

Now You Can Steam Clean Your Couch! 

Now that you’re ready to steam clean your couch, you should start with the largest areas of the couch as well as its frame. Make sure you steam clean in small sections at a time so you don’t soak the fabric with too much water as this can damage it.

Repeat the steam cleaning in any areas of the couch where there is stubborn dirt or stains. You can do this a few times, as long as you don’t cause too much water to penetrate in one area.

If the steam cleaner is battling to remove a stain, consider using it in conjunction with a cleaning ingredient such as borax to make the work more effective. 

Give the couch a chance to dry 

Make sure you let your couch dry thoroughly so it doesn’t remain damp, which can cause it to smell or become moldy. You can increase the speed of the drying process by opening windows or putting on a fan. 

Do You Need To Use A Cleaning Solution? 

Do You Need To Use A Cleaning Solution? 

If you want to use a steam cleaner on your couch, you might wonder if you need a strong cleaning solution to give it a deep clean.

While some steam cleaners don’t make use of any cleaning solutions so they just use steam to clean the couch, which is better for your home and the environment, others do use cleaning products that are mixed with water.

How much cleaning solution you will need to use will vary according to the unit you have, so be sure to check the couch manufacturer’s recommendations. 

How To Steam Clean A Leather Couch 

How To Steam Clean A Leather Couch 

You might wonder if you can safely steam clean a leather couch, but you can. You just have to follow some important steps. 

  • Start by pretreating the leather of the couch with a DIY solution. Mix together half a cup of linseed oil and half a cup of vinegar in hot water. Use a damp cloth that’s been dipped in the solution to clean the leather couch. If your couch is old or in bad condition, you should use alcohol rubbing instead.  
  • Allow the pretreatment solution to dry for about an hour. 
  • Then, fill the steam cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Do a patch test on one small area of the couch with the steam to see how it reacts. 
  • If the patch test doesn’t reveal any damage or fading, start steam cleaning the couch from the back of it and move your way to the front.  
  • Steam clean the inner sections of the couch with brush attachments. You want to use gentle circular strokes. 
  • Once you’re done, wipe away any excess moisture with a clean cloth and leave the windows open or a fan on to provide enough ventilation so that your couch can dry properly. 

Related Questions 

Does a handheld steam cleaner work well?

Does a handheld steam cleaner work well?

A handheld steam cleaner gives your upholstery and couch a deep clean and it can remove stains, grime, and stubborn dirt.

How long does a couch take to dry after being steam cleaned?

You can expect your couch to dry within two to six hours after you’ve steam cleaned it, but the amount of time will depend on the type of fabric you’re cleaning. 


If you want to clean your couch thoroughly, you should consider using a steam cleaner. This works well to sanitize and freshen up your couch, while also making it smell good.

In this article, we’ve provided you with all the important tips you need to know about how to steam clean your couch safely so you can prevent damaging it.