My three-year-old left ketchup handprints all over the cushion and arm. I was wondering can you steam clean a microfiber couch to remove stains? I wiped it up right away, but it left watermarks.
Jennie Beecher, Tucson
Yes, you can steam clean a microfiber couch to remove stains and watermarks. Just to be sure to double-check the care instructions that came with the couch. You may see codes like “W,” S-W,” or “X.” If you see a “W,” you can use water to clean a fabric couch. Or an “S” means you can use a solvent.
Before doing any cleaning, it’s a smart idea to test the material for color-fastness to ensure that you don’t do more harm than good. Run the steam cleaner over an area of the sofa that’s out of sight, like below the edge of the frame.
Wipe the part you steamed with a white cloth to see if the dye comes off the material. If you don’t see the color on the cloth, it should be safe to steam clean your sofa.
Now you can use the steam cleaner on a delicate setting with pH neutral detergent. The way to disinfect a couch at the same time you remove stains is to add some baking soda or vinegar to the steamer. Note that you’ll need to clean the whole couch rather than just a section or two to make it look uniform without watermarks.
In the future, when cleaning fabric sofa stains, you may be able to treat ketchup or tomato stains with rubbing alcohol. If the couch’s care instructions permit the use of a solvent, this is a cheap, quick way to remove small stains or watermarks from upholstery. Be sure to dab the alcohol with a clean cloth from the outside in to keep from spreading the stain outward.
Or, you can simply spray the stains with rubbing alcohol and let the fabric dry completely. Then use a soft brush with nylon bristles to gently scrub the spots and lift the marks. You can also make a DIY sofa stain remover with vinegar and water, as well. Be sure not to saturate the fabric. A light misting should work just fine.
In summary, there is a lot more information about caring for microfiber and suede in this article here: https://www.tipsbulletin.com/how-to-clean-a-microfiber-couch/
May your couch end up looking like new again.