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Can you steam clean your couch?

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

Couches are a common gathering spot in most households, and as a result, they are often subjected to spills, stains, and dirt. This leaves the recurring problem of cleaning your couch over and over again.

One effective way to clean a couch (not including the foam cushions) is by using a steam cleaner. But before you do, it's important to understand if steam cleaning is safe for your particular type of couch.

Can You Steam Clean a Couch?

steam cleaning a couch cushion

The answer is, it depends on the type of couch you have. Steam cleaning can be an effective way to clean upholstery, but it is not suitable for all types of fabric.

If your couch is made of a delicate fabric like silk or velvet, steam cleaning may cause damage to the material. You could easily end up shrinking the material or breaking the micro fibres within it.

However, if your couch is made of sturdy materials like microfiber, cotton, or synthetic blends, then steam cleaning is a safe and effective option.

Benefits of Steam Cleaning a Couch

Steam cleaning your couch has several benefits. Here are some of them:

  1. Removes dirt and stains: Steam cleaning uses high-temperature steam to break down dirt and stains on your couch's upholstery. This helps to remove grime and dirt that regular cleaning methods cannot.

  2. Kills bacteria and allergens: Steam cleaning can kill bacteria and allergens that can accumulate on your couch over time. This is especially helpful for those with allergies or respiratory issues.

  3. Saves money: Professional upholstery cleaning services can be expensive. By steam cleaning your couch yourself, you can save money and still get professional-quality results.

  4. Chemical free: By using steam, you can clean your couch virtually chemical free. This may not always be the case for all stains (such as blood stains) but most of the time it's absolutely true.

How to Steam Clean Your Couch

Before you begin steam cleaning your couch, it's important to read the manufacturer's cleaning instructions. If the instructions advise against steam cleaning, do not proceed. If it is safe to steam clean your couch, follow these steps:

  1. Vacuum your couch thoroughly to remove any loose dirt and debris.

  2. Fill your steam cleaner with water and turn it on.

  3. Allow the steam cleaner to heat up for a few minutes.

  4. Starting at the top of the couch, work in sections and use the steam cleaner to clean the upholstery. Be sure to use the appropriate attachment for your couch fabric.

  5. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe away any excess moisture and to help remove any remaining dirt.

  6. Allow your couch to air dry completely before using it again.

What NOT To Do When Steam Cleaning A Couch

There are a few factors you will need to take into consideration when steam cleaning your couch. While it's one of the best ways of deep cleaning, it has some drawbacks.

You need to be very careful not to over wet the area of a sofa while steam cleaning it. Doing so may cause structural damage, shrinkage, and even has potential for allowing mould to grow if you leave it to dry naturally.

Don't try cleaning your couch without the correct attachment or an attached microfiber cloth. These are there for a reason, you might end up fraying the couch if you try using it without the protections in place.

When steam cleaning, you must find a way to soak up the moisture. Just think about it, steam does a great job of breaking down dirt and bringing it up from the surface but the dirt still needs manually removing once it reaches the surface.

We tend to use a wet and dry vacuum to suck up all of the dirt once it has been broken down. If you don't have one, grabbing a few clean dry towels and wiping your couch down will do the trick too.


In conclusion, steam cleaning can be an effective way to clean your couch. However, it's important to make sure that your couch is suitable for steam cleaning before proceeding.

If you are unsure, check with the manufacturer or consult a professional upholstery cleaner. By following the steps outlined above, you can effectively steam clean your couch and restore it to its original, clean state.

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