How to steam clean upholstery

Updated February 21, 2017

When it comes to cleaning upholstery, steam cleaning is one of the most effective and eco-friendly methods available. By eliminating the usage of harsh chemical cleaners you have clean upholstery that won't irritate allergies or be potentially harmful to your kids and pets. If you've never steam cleaned upholstery, you'll be pleasantly surprised at its simplicity and effectiveness. By taking only a matter of minutes out of your day, your upholstery can be refreshed and you can breathe a little easier.

Remove anything miscellaneous from the upholstered item such as blankets and decorative pillows, and set them aside.

Vacuum the upholstery with the brush attachment of the vacuum cleaner to help eliminate loose dirt and dust particles.

Spot clean stains on the upholstery with a clean cloth dampened with white vinegar. Scrub gently until the stain is no longer visible.

Fill the reservoir of the steam cleaner with water. The amount of water needed will depend on the type of steam cleaner you have.

Steam clean the upholstery following the manufacturers' instructions carefully for use.

Wipe the upholstery down with a clean dry cloth after steam cleaning to help absorb some of the moisture. Steam cleaners don't have suction, so while they will loosen the dirt from the upholstery, they won't pick it up. A quick wipe down will help to get rid of it.

Place a fan near the upholstery to help it to dry faster.


This method is not safe for leather or silk upholstery. Steam cleaners often can be rented from DIY centres.


Be careful when steam cleaning as the steam will be very hot and can burn your skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner with brush attachment
  • Clean cloth
  • White vinegar
  • Steam cleaner
  • Clean dry towel
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