How Can I Clean Faux Suede Microfiber?

Updated April 17, 2017

Faux suede microfiber is good at repelling small liquid spills, but soaked-in liquid spills and dirt or other organic stains can cause problems -- soap and water mixtures can leave permanent stains on microfiber surfaces. Microfiber is stain-resistant, but not completely immune from soiling.

Washing Water-Safe Microfiber

Before beginning, check the label or tag on the faux suede microfiber. Washable microfiber fabrics should bear tags marked with a "W", a furniture industry standard label indicating water-safe microfiber.

Once you are certain your microfiber is water-safe, vacuum the fabric using the soft brush attachment. Mix a few drops of soap into a container of cold water. Dampen a natural sponge or white terrycloth towel and wring it out; excess moisture can stain or damage microfiber. Gently wipe the fabric surface with the damp sponge or towel, working in small, manageable sections and taking care to ensure that the sponge or towel is only slightly damp.

Immediately upon cleaning a section, dry it with a blow dryer set on its lowest and coolest setting to prevent water stains.

Washing Non-Water-Safe Microfiber

Check the label before proceeding -- an "X" warning on the tag indicates that neither water nor solvents should be used on the fabric. "V" indicates that only vacuum cleaning is appropriate; "S" means a solvent cleaner can be used; and "S-W" marks fabrics which can be cleaned using water-based cleansers or solvents.

Before beginning, vacuum the fabric with a soft brush attachment. When the fabric is clear of any dust and debris, sprinkle a sparing amount of a dry detergent (such as Ivory Snow or Dreft) on the area that requires cleaning. Use a soft cleaning brush to gently work the detergent into the fabric, moving across the fabric in small sections. Remove any remnants of the detergent by vacuuming the area completely before moving on to the next section.

If you are unsatisfied with the results of the dry-detergent technique, you may opt to try a commercial dry cleaning product. Follow the solvent manufacturer's instructions for use; contact an upholstery expert if you're unsure how to proceed.

General Tips

Cleaning up spills before they stain is the most effective way to avoid large cleaning projects; liquids bead up on contact with microfiber, but must be soaked up quickly. Before cleaning microfiber with a cleanser or solvent, always test the cleanser on a small, inconspicuous patch of fabric beforehand. Some microfiber fabrics will be stained by water marks from any liquids, so use caution. Whichever cleaning solution you use, do not saturate the fabric; use the detergent sparingly.

After cleaning, microfiber can sometimes toughen. To restore its soft texture, gently rub the affected section(s) with an old toothbrush or soft scrub brush.

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About the Author

Annie Lee Tatum has been a freelance writer since 2008. Her poetry and articles have appeared in "Ace Weekly," "Kudzu" and various other publications. Tatum received her Bachelor of Arts from Eastern Kentucky University in 2002 and her Master of Arts from the University of Louisville in 2008. Interests include anthropology and cooking.