How to Clean Upholstery with a Steam Cleaner – 7 Essential Tips to Know

How to Clean Upholstery with a Steam Cleaner - 7 Essential Tips to Know 2For many of us, figuring out how to clean upholstery can be quite a daunting process. The good news is that you can successfully clean upholstery with a steam cleaner. Whether you have that fancy tub chair or a 5-person sofa, a steam cleaner is an extremely efficient way to effectively remove dust and grime from your upholstery or fabric furniture. Want to know why and how? Check out our most trusted tips on how to clean upholstery with a steam cleaner below.

How Does a Steam Cleaner Work?

Before you begin to use your steam cleaner on upholstery, it is a good idea to know how it works. This allows you to appreciate the process more and to leverage it. When using a steam cleaner, a high temperature vapor is produced. The vapor is what pulls out the embedded stains, dust, and grease from the upholstery.

Due to the high temperature steam vapor, dirt and grime built up in the upholstery can easily break down and dissolve, without having to use harsh chemicals. Additionally, the vapor also sanitizes the top surface of the upholstery; helping it to eliminate odor and disease-causing bacteria as well as allergens.

So, whether you are moving out of your old rented home or simply want to maintain a clean and immaculate one, it is a good idea to clean upholstery with a steam cleaner. The best part about these appliances is if you find them expensive, you can always rent one from professional cleaners.

Start by Vacuuming the Upholstery

Before you get into deep steam cleaning, you want to get rid of loose and surface dirt and debris. To do so, use the brush attachment or the suction part of your regular vacuum cleaner to remove the loose dirt, debris, and grime.

As you clean, you want to vacuum every part of your upholstery. For example, if you are vacuuming a sofa chair, you want to vacuum through crevices and cracks to ensure you get out all the dust and loose dirt. If you have a pet, you also want to effectively remove pet hair and allergens.

You can even use a pet hair cleaner, if you have one, before using your vacuum cleaner. Don’t forget other elements of the upholstered furniture such as its accent pillows, if it comes with them, and the backside of the furniture.

Treat the Upholstery

After vacuuming, you will be able to identify areas that are stained on your upholstery. Before you begin to steam clean it, you want to address the stains.  Whilst you can use a steam cleaner to remove stains, including this treatment step, helps to provide better results.

You can treat your upholstery stains using commercial all-purpose cleaners or homemade ones.  There is a myriad of ways to prepare homemade upholster stain cleaners. Below are the two common ones.

  • For light stains, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the upholstery. Let it sit for 20 minutes. During the time, the baking soda will begin to gently break down light stains whilst also releasing odor from the fabric. This process will leave the upholstery both stain-free and odorless.
  • For tough stains, mix ¼ cup of white vinegar, ¾ cups of warm water, and a tablespoon of dishwashing soap or castile soap. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray over the stained area. Then, gently scrub the stained area with a soft cloth until the stain lifts.

How to Clean Upholstery with a Steam Cleaner - 7 Essential Tips to Know 3

Set Up the Steam Cleaner

Prepare your steam cleaner by filling it with water. The water is what creates the vacuum steam that does the cleaning. To add water to the steamer, remove the boiler cap from the steamer, fill the steamer with water, and then, screw back the boiler cap. Attach the steam gun hose, activate the safety lock, and plug the steamer on to the power outlet.

Let the steam heat up for a few minutes before you begin to use it. Every steamer model comes with its operational instructions. Therefore, to ensure optimal results, you want to follow the instructions.  However, for any steam cleaner, always ensure you don’t overfill the boiler because this may oversaturate the upholstery stains during cleaning.

Additionally, you want to ensure that you use the proper brush attachment for each cleaning process to prevent damage to your upholstery and for the best results. Furthermore, using too much soap doesn’t necessarily mean that the steamer will be more effective at cleaning.

Start by Cleaning the Smaller Elements

When you begin cleaning your upholstery, start with the smaller elements. For example, if you are cleaning an upholstered sofa with cushions, begin by cleaning the cushions. Hold the steamer handle or attachment and spray the surface of the cushion with steam.

Clean the entire cushions one by one; covering the sides as well. After this process, the cushions will be damp.  Wipe the cushion surfaces with the brush attachment and then, drag the steamer opening across the cushion’s dampened area to suck the excess water. The suction process helps to remove the dust, dirt and stains pulled from the cushion as well.

Clean the Remainder of the Upholstery

Repeat the pillow cleaning steps on the rest of the upholstery. Don’t forget to clean the cracks, crevices, and back end of the furniture as well. However, the process should be compounded to achieve the best results.

First, observe your upholstery to figure out the magnitude of the remaining stains. Then, pick the ideal steam pressure for the stained surfaces, release the steam, and clean a smaller section area of the upholstery. After that, brush the small area with the brush attachment and then, suck the excess water with the stains, dirt, and grime.

After this process, let the upholstery rest for 15 to 12 minutes, then, examine the section to figure out if it is sufficiently cleaned. If you are satisfied, you can then move to the next section and if not, repeat the process. Following this process until you’ve cleaned the entire furniture ensures that it will be spot clean.

How to Clean Upholstery with a Steam Cleaner - 7 Essential Tips to Know 4Let the Upholstery Dry

After you have cleaned the entire upholstered furniture, the next step is to let it dry completely. The time it takes for the upholstery to dry varies. It all depends on the temperature and humidity levels. To speed up the drying process you can crank up the air conditioner, use a fan, or open a window.

However, avoid any activities that may stain the upholstery again such as dusting the nearby area or sweeping. Doing so can easily discolor the upholstery thus, forcing you to repeat the cleaning process all over again.

Vacuum the Upholstery again

After the upholstery as completely dried, you want to vacuum it again. This provides an extra layer of cleaning for allergen or dust that may have settled during the drying up process. Additionally, vacuuming also removes dirt and grime that was pulled to the surface during the steam cleaning and brushing process but missed during the suction process.

Is It Worth to Clean Upholstery with a Steam Cleaner

To clean upholstery with a steam cleaner is highly satisfying because it leaves the upholstery sparkling clean and odorless. However, the process can be somewhat time-consuming, especially during the drying process. Thus, you want to set aside a couple of hours of your day to do the cleaning.

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