If you’ve searched for tips on cleaning your microfiber sofa or chair, you’ve probably run into conflicting information and confusing instructions. Do you dab with water, or is something more powerful needed when tackling spilled milk on your microfiber couch? This guide provides steps for evaluating your microfiber upholstery type and cleaning it effectively when major spills happen.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MICROFIBER?
Microfiber is a synthetic fabric often used for upholstery. It’s made up of tiny fibers that are woven extremely close together. The result is a soft, comfortable material that is enjoyable to touch, making microfiber furniture and blankets incredibly comfy and cozy. Plus, it can look a lot like leather or suede without the accompanying price point.
Another benefit of the tightly knit fabric is that there’s little room for particles to pass between the fibers. That means dust won’t settle as easily into your couch or chair — and, in fact, many microfiber fabrics feature anti-dust properties, so they don’t attract the small particles to begin with. That makes this type of furniture a good choice for those with hypoallergenic needs.
That same property means liquid seeps into microfiber more slowly than it does with other fabrics. When you act fast, spills are easier to deal with.
But while microfiber is somewhat stain-resistant, it can still court stains and dirt. Since water can damage the surface of microfiber furniture, you can’t always attack these issues with a warm, soapy cloth and elbow grease. Check out these tips for every-day cleaning and tackling bigger cleaning jobs on your microfiber furniture.
ADDRESS SPILLS QUICKLY
Acting quickly is one of the best ways to keep your microfiber looking fresh and clean. Remove debris such as food crumbs or dirt before they can break down into particles small enough to sift between the fibers or cause stains on the fabric. You can vacuum microfiber upholstery regularly with a handheld vacuum or with a furniture attachment for your regular vacuum. Use an upholstery brush when cleaning your couch or chair to put the fluff back in the fibers for an even fresher look.
For liquid-based messes, most microfiber fabric provides a temporary shield. Liquids pool up on the surface before sinking through, so if you can carefully soak up the spill, you may save yourself cleaning work in the future. Grab a clean, dry cloth and place it over the spill. Pat, and never rub — if you scrub at liquids resting on the surface of microfiber upholstery, you may push it through and increase the damage.
REGULAR CLEANING MEASURES FOR MICROFIBER UPHOLSTERY
Vacuuming or brushing away daily dirt with a clean bristle brush is the best way to tidy up your microfiber couch or chair. Avoid spraying microfiber furniture with cleaning chemicals or sprays meant to remove odors, especially without testing first.
CONDUCT TESTS FOR CLEANING CHEMICALS ON UPHOLSTERY
If you have pets or other reasons for regularly using deodorizing spray (such as Febreze) on microfiber, then conduct a test first. This is a good idea for anything you plan to use to treat or clean your microfiber couch or chair, including water and soap.
All microfiber isn’t the same, so you can’t assume that what works for one person’s sofa will work for yours. Before you make an even bigger mess of the public-facing parts of your furniture, do a test on a section no one is likely to notice. Here’s how.
- Choose a section of upholstery that’s a few inches in size and out of the way. The back or underside of cushions (that aren’t reversible) or the back of the sofa if you keep it against a wall will work well for testing.
- Spray the deodorizer or cleaning chemical on that swatch of fabric or scrub at the area with your water, soap or cleaning mixture.
- Allow the area to dry completely.
- Inspect it to see if the treatment left any unwanted effects before you move on to cleaning other areas in the same way.
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO CLEANING DIRT AND STAINS FROM (MOST) MICROFIBER
Luckily, you don’t have to go into the testing process blind. Many manufacturers provide some clues as to what type of cleaning products work on your microfiber furniture. First, locate the manufacturer tags on your furniture — they’re usually under or below cushions or on the bottom of the piece.
Look for a one- or two-letter code that lets you know what type of cleaning chemicals may be right for your microfiber upholstery:
- The letter W indicates that a water-based solution, such as warm soap and water, may be appropriate.
- An S means you need a solvent, such as alcohol.
- An X means you may only be able to use a vacuum, and heavy cleaning may be best left to professionals.
Even with clues from the manufacturer, always do a test spot first before you attempt a cleaning project on your sofa or chair.
The majority of microfiber furniture will require an approach that isn’t water-based. If you can clean your furniture safely with water (and know so after conducting a test), simply scrub at any stains carefully with a clean, white brush or sponge and warm, soapy water.
If solvents are required, follow these steps (after conducting a test!):
- Find a clean cloth that is the exact shade of your upholstery or is white. Solvents may cause color from one piece of fabric to bleed onto another, so you never want to treat a stain on your furniture with a cloth that’s a different hue.
- Choose a clear alcohol, such as vodka or rubbing alcohol.
- Pour the alcohol into a clean, empty spray bottle.
- Spray the alcohol onto the stained or soiled area of your upholstery. Some stains may come up easily while others may require complete saturation with the solvent.
- Use the cloth to gently blot and rub at the stains. It may take a while to get the stain out, and you can decide how hard you can scrub based on the performance of any spot tests you conducted.
- Allow the area to dry completely.
If you find that your microfiber feels odd or stiff after cleaning, use a clean bristled brush or a vacuum with a brush attachment to fluff the fibers back up and return the soft, comfortable feeling to your furniture.
A FEW OTHER TIPS FOR CLEANING MICROFIBER
If you find that Febreze or similar chemicals leave unwanted water spots on your microfiber, you can use baking soda to get out some odors. Simply sprinkle baking soda over the upholstery at a time when you don’t plan on using the furniture for a while. Leave it for several hours or overnight, and then vacuum it up. You can also use baking soda and some other carpet-cleaning tricks to help keep microfiber looking great if you forgo any steps that include liquid and remember to test an out-of-the-way spot when implementing any new cleaning tip.
While cleaning microfiber furniture may seem complex, hopefully it’s not a task you’ll have to engage in often. Typically, this type of upholstery is designed to hold up well under pressure, and regular vacuuming should keep it looking great for years.