A while back, I started receiving so many requests to do a post about how to clean microfiber couches (and other furniture) that I began to feel a little guilty that I hadn’t addressed it! The problem is… I don’t personally own 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 for two reasons. First, I am pretty certain that I have read every post and comment on the whole internet about this problem, so I think I have a pretty good handle on it. And second, we have a few chairs at our studio that have microfiber covers, and my daughter-in-law Kaitlyn was gracious enough to try the following method on out on the chairs for me (and for you!)
Before we begin, here’s a little background information to help you understand WHY cleaning microfiber couches is such a dilemma in the first place!
Microfiber is a synthetic fiber with very thin strands that can be made to look like suede or leather, which makes it an attractive and affordable 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! Anyone who owns both a dog and a microfiber couch will tell you that. Or they will just point to all the drool stains on their couch, and let those speak for themselves. (Naughty doggies!) ;-)
The tricky thing about cleaning microfiber sofas and couches is that on most of them (but not all), you can’t use soap and water to clean it, or you will end up with water rings that can end up making the whole thing look worse than BEFORE you cleaned it! And we definitely want to avoid that.
Step 1 – Assessing Your Microfiber
So, before you get to cleaning, you will need to determine which type of microfiber furniture you have. There should be a tag somewhere on the furniture that has one of the following codes on it:
- “W” means you must use a water-based cleaning solution.
- “S” means you must use a solvent-based cleaner.
- “S-W” means you can use either a solvent- or water-based cleaner.
- “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, because you’re in the clear to use most cleaning solutions (or even some soapy water). But unfortunately, MOST couches and sofas will have an “S” code or no tag at all, which I would personally treat as an “S”… just to be safe. :-)
Step 2 – Cleaning
So now you’re probably wondering what sort of “solvent” you are supposed to use. Well, microfiber is polyester-based, so most things that can be used to clean polyester can also be used to clean microfiber, like rubbing alcohol. (You could also use a clear alcohol like vodka instead.)
Just load up a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol, or pop a spray top right onto the bottle, if you can, and spray the soiled areas of your sofa.
Use a clean microfiber cloth to blot and gently rub at the stains to lift them out of the fabric.
Step 3 – Fluffing
After cleaning microfiber, many people run into another problem: the fabric feels stiff to the touch after being cleaned. Luckily there’s a simple solution to this dilemma, which is to gently rub the stiff fibers with a clean, soft scrub brush, or the scrubby side of a clean sponge. This step fluffs up the fibers of the fabric, making it soft and plush again.
Kaitlyn was kind enough to share her thoughts on using this method to clean her own microfiber furniture. She writes…
“I’ve used this method on my own dark red microfiber couches and a microfiber ottoman for a few years now and it is a miracle worker! My couches show every bit of dust and dog slobber and this is the most efficient way to remove all of that.
I always keep a spray bottle full of rubbing alcohol on hand and a sponge or two that are designated just for microfiber cleaning. It usually takes me less than 10 minutes to clean off all the slobber and other dirty spots.
One warning – the alcohol smell can get a bit strong in an enclosed room, but dissipates quickly by opening a window or turning on a fan.
I bought my couches used 5 years ago and they still look fantastic thanks to regular cleaning!”