How To Clean A Microfiber Couch (or Sofa)

micro fiber couch

Welcome to another edition of “Save My Sanity Saturday”! :-) I hope you will enjoy this oldie, but goodie!

I have received SO many requests/questions about how to clean microfiber couches that I’ve begun to feel a little guilty that I haven’t posted anything about this. Problem is….I don’t HAVE a microfiber couch…and I REALLY prefer to try stuff out before I pass it on to you.

But today I’m going to make an exception because I found this post by Robin at Chris and Robin’s Nest and after reading ALL 421 COMMENTS I think I have a PRETTY good handle on this problem. At least good enough to get you started and then link you up to Robin’s original post for the “How-To”.

First off…here is a little background to help you understand WHY cleaning microfiber couches is such a dilemma/pain/mystery in the first place!

Microfiber is fiber with very thin strands, that can be made to look like suede or leather, which makes it an attractive fabric for sofas and couches. Also, because microfiber is durable and repels water, it is well suited for furniture. However, furniture manufacturers and salespeople would like you to believe that they are impervious to stains and pretty much indestructible. This is NOT true! 

Just ask Robin of Chris and Robin’s Nest!  While she is very happy overall with the microfiber couch she bought  6 years ago…her pooch Calvin likes to use it as his “personal napkin”, wiping drool all over the front of the seat cushions.  (Naughty doggie!)

Photo from Chris and Robin’s Nest

The tricky thing about cleaning microfiber sofas and couches is that on MOST of them (not all), you CAN’T use soap and water to clean it or you will end up with water rings that in most cases look worse than BEFORE you cleaned it! (Or so I’ve read.)


Ever wondered what the difference between a “sofa” and a “couch” is? Well, I really hadn’t until tonight! But as I pondered what term to use in the title of this post…I figured I better at least know what I’m referring to! So, for those of you who wonder about such things (as I do) here is today’s installment of “learn something new everyday”…completely free of charge! ;-) 

        • Couches generally feature one arm or no arm at all and a tapered back.
        • Sofas are known to feature two arms and a uniform back.

However, in North America when you hear either word…most people will envision the same thing. And there you have it……mystery solved. Back to the original post……

So, before you clean, you will need to determine which type of microfiber furniture you have. You should have a tag on the furniture that has one of the following codes on it:

  • W means you must use water based cleaning solution.
  • S means you must use a “solvent” based cleaner
  • S-W means you can use S or W type cleaners
  • X means you can vacuum only (so, no water or solvent based cleaning solutions).

If you are lucky enough to have furniture with a W tag, then you can probably stop reading. :-)  But unfortunately, MOST couches and sofas will have an “S” or NO TAG AT ALL, which I would personally treat as an “S”...just to be “S”afe. :-)

OK…so now you are thinking (Yes, I can read your minds!) what sort of “solvent” are you supposed to use?  Well, since microfiber is polyester-based, most things that can be used to clean polyester can be used to clean microfiber, including Rubbing Alcohol (or clear alcohol such as vodka can be used.)

Which is what Robin decided to try with amazing results! (See picture above….and more pictures here.)

After CLEANING microfiber…another problem people run into is that the fabric can become hard. The solution to that is the gently rub the hardened fabric with a soft scrub brush. According to Robin, “This step fluffs up the surface of the fabric to make it soft again.”

Kelly at The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking saw Robin’s post and decided to try it on HER microfiber couch as well. Wow…makes me wish I had a dirty microfiber couch to TRY it on! :-)  I LOVE a great Before and After picture!!  Good job Kelly!

Photo from The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking

Brieanne at Darling Doodles was also inspired by Robin’s post and tried the same method on her couch.  Well done to YOU TOO Brieanne!

Photo from Darling Doodles


And Good Job Robin at Chris and Robin’s Nest!  Thank you for helping all the desperate and confused microfiber furniture owners out there!

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  1. Laurat99 says

    I use my Bissell carpet cleaner’s hand tools to clean my microfiber couch and chairs. They are a little “hard” after being cleaned, but soften up after a few days.

  2. Annette says

    I tried this on my micro-fiber sofa, I can’t believe how clean it came, just tried a couple of spots at first, but it works wonders, so now I am doing the whole sofa. My sofa is red so where your leg bends and your jeans rub on the fabric, it tooked black, I tried this trick and VIOLA it worked. came really clean.

    Wonderful, thank you.

  3. Marianne says

    How do you use the rubbing alcohol? Do you just soak a rag in it and rub the stains out of the couch?

  4. Susan says

    Makes me rethink the desire for a microfibre sofa ;D

    What’s a davenport then? ;)

  5. Lisa says

    I saw this on another post and used this tip to FANTASTIC results. Just use a spry bottle and make sure you’ve got it set to the “fine” and not “stream”. Let it sit, then use a WHITE sponge so the color doesn’t leach from sponge to sof and rub away at the dirt. Let dry and brush away. The clean feels much softer than the dirty once you’re all done.

  6. MarY duke says

    We have two very Dirty ones we got
    Given Before our move to Heber that we are going to attempt to clean, you can try it out on ours ;)

  7. Timi says

    After reading this, the first question I have is….why did all these people buy WHITE sofas? Hahaha! But I’m fixin’ to use this to clean my sage green ones. Thanks for the info.

  8. says

    A davenport is a style of sofa that converts into a bed that can be folded up with the mattress and bedding still in place.

    And now you know…… ;-)


  1. [...] P.S. to clean microfiber couches (don’t use water!) you need some vodka or rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle, the scrubby side of a neutral colored sponge, and a white stiff bristled scrub brush (like the ones used for doing dishes). You spray the alcohol directly onto the couch and scrub with the scrubby side of the sponge until clean. After you are done scrubbing, you use the scrub brush in a circular motion to pop all the fibers back up, get rid of dark spots, and make the fabric soft again. Works like a charm! Got the idea from this tutorial: [...]

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