How to Steam Clean an Upholstered Sofa

Updated February 21, 2017

Steam clean your upholstered sofa and get rid of dirt, stains and odours that have been disturbing the ambience of your room. There's no need to pay the outrageous prices that professionals charge. Simply rent a steam cleaner at your grocery or hardware store and do the job yourself. It's quick and easy, and you're sure to love the results.

Rent or purchase a steam cleaner that is good for both carpet and furniture cleaning. The type for use on upholstered sofas will have a canister base and be easy to access furniture with its attachments. Grocery and hardware stores and home improvement stores are likely places to find steam cleaner rentals. They may be purchased in retail stores like Walmart or Target as well as home improvement stores like Lowe's or Home Depot. Purchase the cleaning solution that works best with the steam cleaner your rent or purchase.

Vacuum the sofa thoroughly before cleaning. Test the cleaning solution on a small portion of the underneath of the sofa cushion to be sure it won't damage the fabric or remove the colour. Do this by applying a small amount on a clean sponge, and spot cleaning an area about 2 or 3 inches square. Watch the area for about twenty minutes to make sure the fabric isn't fading.

Fill the steam cleaner with the appropriate solution according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add the recommended amount of hot tap water. Begin by cleaning the back side of the sofa, following the manufacturer's instructions.

Clean the arms and sides of the sofa with the steam cleaner. If the sofa cushions are removable, set them on clean towels on the floor and clean each side.

Open the windows in the room if the weather will permit it, to allow for the best and fastest drying of your sofa. Otherwise wait 24 hours before sitting on the sofa or replacing the cushions, to be sure the entire piece is completely dry.

Remove any remaining water and solution from the steam cleaner. Dry the unit with paper towels or cleaning rags.

Things You'll Need

  • Rented steam cleaning machine
  • Cleaning solution
  • Water
  • Two large, clean towels
  • Paper towels or cleaning rags
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About the Author

Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, N.H. She has authored five books and hundreds of articles and short stories. Her work has appeared various publications, including "Parenting," "Writer’s Digest," "Vacations" and "Discovery Travel." She studied at the University of Maine and later pursued her writing studies through numerous classes and workshops.