How To Steam Clean A Sofa In 5 Easy Steps

You have five steps to learn how to steam clean a sofa. We will go through the proper preparation procedures and the after-care treatment of the couch after steam cleaning. But why should you learn steam cleaning? 

First of all, it’s one of the best ways to disinfect a sofa. Therefore, this procedure can kill health hazards, more than ensuring a well-maintained piece of furniture. That being said, let’s get right to it. 

how to steam clean a sofa


How Can I Steam Clean My Sofa At Home?


Step 1. Check the upholstery tag

  • Check the upholstery cleaning code of your sofa to know if it’s compatible with steam cleaning 
  • The ideal code would be SW, S, or W because they indicate that cleaning with solvent and/or water is allowed for the sofa
  • Avoid using the steam cleaner if the sofa is code X because it means you can only vacuum the material or bring it to a professional cleaner

Step 2. Pre-clean the sofa

  • It would be best to eliminate dirt and spills to prevent them from spreading and staining the furniture once the steam introduces moisture
  • Vacuum the sofa, including the tight areas where dust build-up 
  • Clean the couch with oil stains using baking soda to absorb the grease and then treat the residues with warm water and dish soap

Step 3. Prepare the sofa

  • After giving the sofa a quick clean, apply a soil emulsifier on the upholstery to prepare it for steam cleaning
  • A soil emulsifier conditions the sofa fabric by loosening the particles and elements that settled deeper
  • Conditioning the sofa before steam cleaning will prevent the upholstery from becoming gritty after steam cleaning
  • Allow the soil emulsifier to dry for several minutes and rub the sofa with a bit of fabric soap and a soft cloth
  • Use the proper products for the type of sofa you have and follow their instructions

Step 4. Set up the steam cleaner for work

  • There are different types of steam cleaners, which is why you must familiarize yourself with the model you have
  • Find the attachment that is suitable for upholstery and furniture fabrics
  • Prepare the steam cleaner according to the manual
  • Check if the model recommends water or using a specific cleaning solution
  • Follow the recommended ratio for the water and cleaner 
  • After filling the steam cleaner and turning it on, wait for a few seconds for it to reach the proper temperature
  • Remove all the accessories of the sofa like the cushions and clean them 
  • Spray the surface of the cushion in swift motions to cover the whole area
  • Do not linger in one spot for too long to avoid soaking the cushion
  • If there are specific dirty areas, make repeated strokes 
  • Wait for one side to dry before cleaning the other side
  • For the main sofa itself, work one section at a time to avoid saturating the material
  • Work consistently and evenly when doing the strokes in a singular direction
  • Repeat steam cleaning if the sofa is heavily soiled before proceeding to drying

Step 5. Allow the sofa to air dry

  • Allow the sofa to air dry 
  • The drying period varies on the size of the couch, the steam’s humidity, weather, and air circulation
  • Place a fan in the room to help speed up the process and open the windows and doors for maximum circulation

Will Steam Cleaning A Couch Kill Bed Bugs?

One of the best methods to get rid of bed bugs on your sofa is steam cleaning. However, steam cleaning can only effectively kill bed bugs in all stages of development if it reaches a high temperature. Carpet cleaners often can’t reach such conditions, which is why you will need a commercial steam cleaner with steam volume control. 

According to the University of Minnesota, the couch surfaces must reach anywhere from 160 to 180°F when steam cleaning to eliminate bed bugs. The couch should also not get too wet, and you need to repeat the procedure when addressing heavier infestations. This will ensure that you can kill the bed bugs that aren’t exposed to the heat during the first time. 


How Do You Steam Clean A Couch With An Iron?

If the stain is recent, you can clean it off by using the steam from an iron. However, darker stains are not recommended with this procedure. For example, if you want to know how to remove blood stains from the sofa, you need another method that won’t set it. 

  1. Check the sofa if it’s compatible with cleaning with water
  2. Mix your trusted cleaner and water and pour the solution into a spray bottle
  3. Put the iron at a high temperature to create steam
  4. Spray a cloth with the cleaning solution and place it over the affected area of the sofa
  5. Put the iron over the damp cloth and push the steam button
  6. Hold for five minutes to allow the stain to evaporate onto the cloth


A fantastic way to clean and disinfect the couch is by using the steam’s heat. In this article, you have learned how to steam clean a sofa, and it involves cleaning beforehand to remove stains and dirt. Then, condition the furniture with a soil emulsifier before using the steam cleaner. 

Do not oversaturate the sofa, and work in even and consistent strokes. And that’s it; you are now ready to steam clean your couch at home!


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