Steam cleaners can be used on a wide variety of surfaces. If you need to clean upholstery, fabric furniture, or disinfect your mattress, it is best to use a steam cleaner. Steam can not only remove stubborn dirt, grease and dust, but also disinfect a thing, remove allergens, bacteria, fungi, viruses, dust mites, insects and most of all pathogens. You can steam clean the upholstery at home.
Method 1 of 3: Preparing the fabric
Step 1. Vacuum the upholstery
First you need to vacuum up dust, dirt, debris, allergens, animal hair and skin particles. All these little things can contaminate the fabric even more if they get wet. Take your time - go through all the bends and crevices with a vacuum cleaner. If the piece of furniture has pillows, remove them and vacuum each one separately. Don't forget to clean the back of the furniture. There should be no debris or crumbs on the fabric.
Use a nozzle suitable for cleaning furniture to avoid damaging the fabric
Step 2. Pre-treat the stains
If there are visible stains on the fabric, apply upholstery stain remover and wait for the stain to dissolve. As a rule, this happens after 3-5 minutes, but it all depends on the type of product. When the right amount of time has passed, absorb the liquid with a soft cloth and dry the cloth.
Many stains from food, soil, urine, and feces can be removed with steam. If the stain is greasy, you will need a special product (for example, Oxy Clean). You can also mix vinegar with rubbing alcohol or starch with baking soda and water and treat the stain with the solution
Step 3. Apply pre-treatment agent
Steam can remove stains from the surface of the fabric, and special pretreatments (emulsifiers) help dissolve the stains and speed up the process. Apply to upholstery and cushions, let sit for a couple of minutes, then apply a thin coat of upholstery shampoo. Spread the product with the brush to penetrate the shampoo deeper into the fabric.
- You don't need to rinse off the shampoo - you can do it with steam.
- Make sure the fabric is washable before steaming. This information can be found on the label of the piece of furniture. It should indicate how to clean the fabric. If there is an X in front of the water, this means that the water will damage the fabric, so you cannot clean it this way.
Method 2 of 3: Cleaning the upholstery
Step 1. Choose a suitable steam cleaner
There are several types of such devices, each of which is designed for a specific type of surface. The upholstery and fabric steam cleaners and portable steam cleaners are suitable for cleaning upholstery. Upholstery cleaners are specially designed for this job, fabric cleaners can clean any fabric, and portable steam cleaners are convenient for cleaning any small surface. Steam cleaners are portable (you can hold them in your hand) and stationary with long hoses. Choose the right steam cleaner for the surface you need.
- Do not use large carpet steam cleaners. They are too bulky and lack furniture cleaning attachments. They are not suitable for this task.
- If you don't want to buy a steam cleaner, rent it.
Step 2. Prepare the steam cleaner
You will need water and detergent. The amount of water and detergent, as well as the sequence of actions will be indicated in the user manual, so try to adhere to the manufacturer's recommendations. Usually, the reservoir is first removed from the steam cleaner, which is then filled with water and detergent. Do not add too much water as this may cause the fabric to become too damp. You will also need a dedicated furniture attachment. This can be a regular brush, a rotating brush, or a napkin design. Everything will depend on the specific model.
Do not add too much detergent to the water. It is much easier to rinse the area several times than to flush out excess detergent
Step 3. Start with pillows
If the piece of furniture has pillows (like a sofa or armchair), start with them. Turn on the steam cleaner, grasp the handle and steam the surface. The steam cleaner should have a button that lets out steam. The steam will wet the fabric. Sweep the nozzle over the entire area and then collect excess water and detergent. Repeat on another site.
It may be sufficient to process only those parts of the pillow that are visible. If you choose to clean the entire pillow, do not wet all sides at once. If the pillow is on the wet side, it will dry more slowly, which can damage the fabric
Step 4. Clean the rest of the fabric
The upholstery on the main body of the piece of furniture should be cleaned last. Treat a small area at a time, collecting excess water. Do not try to cover a large area at once. This will collect the water in one place, saturate the fabric, and make it harder for you to dry it. Repeat until you have cleared the entire area.
If you come across a particularly dirty area, return to it when you've finished your main work. No need to wait for it to dry
Step 5. Let the furniture dry
When you steam clean the fabric, the furniture will need to be dried. The amount of time it takes to dry completely will depend on how dense the steam was and the weather outside. The process can be accelerated with a fan, hair dryer or an open window. Sooner or later, the fabric will dry out.
If you notice dirty spots on the fabric, re-treat the sofa. This often happens if the fabric was initially very dirty
Method 3 of 3: How to remove stubborn stains
Step 1. Try washing the stain with detergent and water
Steam can remove many different stains, but if the stain remains after steaming, there are several ways to deal with it. First, try removing the stain with soap and water. Take a sponge, dip it in water, put some detergent on it and rub the sponge against the soap dish. Squeeze out excess water. Blot the stain with a sponge, trying to transfer as much foam as possible to it. Then rinse the sponge and fill it with clean water. Blot the stain with a clean sponge to catch the foam from the surface of the fabric.
Do not rub the fabric too hard, as this can damage the fabric
Step 2. Try to remove the stain with vinegar
Instead of using soap and water, you can wash the stain with vinegar. Soak a clean rag in white or apple cider vinegar. Blot the stain with a rag to saturate the fabric. Do not rub the fabric, as this will fix the stain or damage the fabric. Run the rag over the fabric in a gentle circular motion.
If you don't have vinegar, you can use vodka. The smell of both vinegar and vodka will disappear as soon as the fabric is dry
Step 3. Use a commercial stain remover
If the stain stubbornly persists, try removing it with a strong commercial stain remover. Dampen a rag or sponge, apply the product to the stain, and blot the stain with a rag. You can wiggle the cloth in a circular motion to separate the stain from the surface of the fabric more quickly.
- Test the product on an inconspicuous area of the upholstery before use. This will prevent damage to the fabric.
- If you have a wine or coffee stain, try removing it with a stain remover.
- If the stain persists, try repeating the entire process from the beginning.
- The steam is very hot. Do not use the steam cleaner in the presence of children or animals and do not allow contact with skin.
- To keep your furniture looking clean and fresh, try to clean it once a year. If furniture is rarely used, you can do it less often, if often - more often.
- If you're not sure if a product will work, or if you don't know if your upholstery can be steam treated, test the product on a small area of fabric that is usually not visible. Treat the area and let it sit for 24 hours. If the fabric does not change its appearance, then it can be cleaned. If you notice changes in texture or color, you should not clean the fabric in this way.