Deep steam cleaning is a highly effective cleaning method to sanitize sofa upholstery, remove embedded dirt and odors, and revitalize fabrics to extend the usable lifespan of your sofa. The pressurized hot steam helps release ground-in debris, eliminates allergens, and refreshes faded or matted fabric fibers.
Follow these comprehensive steps to properly and safely steam clean your sofa at home to keep it looking great and maximize its durability.
Thoroughly Vacuum the Entire Sofa
As a first step before steam cleaning, use the brush or upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner to thoroughly vacuum all upholstered surfaces of the sofa. Vacuum the tops, sides, and undersides of seat cushions, arms, back, and base. Make multiple passes over each area to lift and remove as much dry soil, debris, pet hair, and surface dust as possible before introducing steam. This prevents the steam cleaner from just working this loose dirt deeper into the fabric weave.
Check Upholstery Tags Before Steaming
Before proceeding with wet steaming any upholstery, carefully inspect the fabric tags, typically located underneath seat cushions. Verify that the particular fabrics are rated as colorfast and safe for high heat steaming. Steaming delicate natural fiber fabrics containing silk, wool, or viscose could cause shrinkage or water marking damages. If uncertain, reference the sofa’s original spec sheet for fabric content and cleaning guidance.
Pre-treat Stubborn Stains Beforehand
Examine cushions and upholstery for any stubborn stains or heavily soiled areas. Use a bit of carpet spot cleaner or fabric spot remover applied directly to stained areas. Let it soak in for 5-10 minutes before steaming so stains are adequately loosened and do not get “set” deeper into fabrics during the steaming process. This pre-treating ensures the steam cleaner can adequately flush out and sanitize stained areas.
Full Steam Cleaner Reservoir with Hot Water and Mild Soap
Pour hot water into the reservoir of your steam cleaning unit, using distilled or filtered water if available to prevent mineral deposits. For enhanced cleaning, add a small amount of mild, non-detergent soap to the tank water if desired. Avoid using detergent-based soaps, which could leave sticky residue on upholstery. Screw reservoir closed securely.
Secure Upholstery Steam Nozzle Attachment
Select and securely attach the steam cleaner’s specialized upholstery nozzle attachment, typically a triangular head with brushes designed to direct steam onto fabrics while simultaneously sucking up excess moisture. Securely connect to steam cleaner wand.
Test Steam on Inconspicuous Hidden Area First
Before fully steam cleaning visible areas of the sofa, first check that fabrics can withstand the heat and pressure. Choose an inconspicuous area, like along the backside bottom edge or underneath, to test steam a small swatch of upholstery on the appropriate heat setting. Check for colorfastness or damage before proceeding.
Steam Clean All Sofa Cushions Thoroughly
Working cushion by cushion, methodically steam clean the top surface, sides, and underside of each removable sofa seat, back, and arm cushions. Fully cover each surface, slowly moving the steam cleaner head overlapping the previous pass to coverall areas. Flip and repeat for all cushion sides.
Steam Clean All Sofa Sections in Manageable Areas
Working in manageable upholstered sections at a time, thoroughly steam clean along the arms, back, sides, and base area of the sofa frame by slowly passing the steam cleaner head over fabrics. Cover each section fully, moving furniture as needed to systematically access all sides and areas.
Extract Excess Moisture After Each Section
After steaming each cushion or upholstered section, make an additional slow pass over just steamed areas with the steam cleaner to extract excess moisture before moving on. Avoid over-saturating delicate upholstery by failing to adequately suck out extra moisture.
Allow Sofa to Fully Air Dry Afterwards
When finished steam cleaning all upholstery, allow the sofa to completely air dry before using or replacing cushions. Place cushions on end to air out. Pointing a fan at damp areas speeds drying. This prevents upholstery damage or mold issues from trapped moisture.
Mist Disinfectant and Deodorizer onto Dry Upholstery
Once sofa is completely dry, which may take several hours, lightly mist a disinfectant and deodorizing treatment over upholstery surfaces for added freshness and sanitizing effects. Avoid over-wetting fabrics.
Repeat Steam Cleaning Every 6-12 Months
For optimal results, perform steam cleaning on upholstered sofas once or twice annually to fully revitalize fibers, remove deeply embedded debris and odors, and sanitize upholstery for extended sofa lifespan.
With proper techniques and care, you can safely and effectively deep clean your sofa at home using a steam cleaner to keep it looking fresh, sanitize it, remove odors, and extend its usable life in your home.