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How to Steam Clean a Furniture - 12 Tips to Know

Updated On:
April 12, 2021

Table of Content

Introduction

Preparing for Cleaning

  1. Inspection
  2. Brushing
  3. Stains pretreatment
  4. Preconditioning
  5. Equipment prepping

Cleaning

  1. Attachments
  2. Cushions
  3. Furniture
  4. Stains

Mattresses

  1. Prepping
  2. Cleaning

Furniture protection

  1. Application of protection coating


Introduction

As more and more people want to avoid using harsh chemicals when cleaning various surfaces, steam cleaners have emerged as the ideal machine to promote a clean and sanitized environment. Steam cleaning removes stubborn stains, dirt, grease and more while also sanitizing surfaces by removing allergens and pathogens. One of the most useful applications of steam cleaning units is to clean upholstery, fabric furniture and mattresses. A smaller unit like the Fortador Volt Electra, which is easy to use and transport, is the ideal commercial steam cleaner for home use.


Although a steam cleaner for furniture may seem like a miracle machine in many ways, you’ll get better and more complete results if you take time and pay attention to details before and during cleaning. Take a look at these 12 tips to make your furniture look brand new once again.

12 tips to steam clean a furniture


Preparing for Cleaning of you furniture or couch

When using a steamer furniture unit, you may be tempted to fill it with water, turn it on and start cleaning immediately. Don’t do it! Spending a few minutes, while steamer is heating,  preparing the surface of your sofa, chair, ottoman, or other piece of upholstered furniture is well worth the effort.


1. Inspect and Examine Labels

cleaning tags and labels on furniture
Material description and cleaning tag

Always begin your task by inspecting the piece you will clean for any problem spots that will need extra attention. Microfiber and leather surfaces may need different cleaning methods depending on their level of soiling. However, the most important thing to pay attention to is the letter on the furniture label, which will indicate what substance may be used to clean the piece. You’ll see one of the following symbols:

  • W – Clean with water only
  • S – Solvent-based cleaner only
  • WS – Water or solvent-based cleaner
  • X – Vacuum only

2. Brush and Vacuum the Surface

vacuuming of furniture is prelimenary step
Vacuuming of couch

You won’t be able to thoroughly clean any upholstered surface if food crumbs or other debris remain as these particles can make your sofa even dirtier when steam cleaning it. Brush off what you can see on the surface, and then select the proper attachment to vacuum it. Remove the cushions first and vacuum all sides before moving into every crack and crevice of your chair or couch. Take your time doing the job so you will remove as much pet hair, dust, allergens, food, dirt and whatever else may have accumulated. Don’t forget to vacuum the back and sides of your furniture.


3. Pre-Treat Stains with scrubbing

scrubbing of stains
Scrubbing of stains


Take care when performing this task as you don’t want one part of your upholstery to be lighter than the rest. Read the manufacturer’s recommendations, if possible, before you start, and always try cleaning a stain first in an inconspicuous place. Common stains from urine, feces, dirt and food can be removed by steam cleaning alone. However, if you have an oil-based stain, you need to pre-treat it and let it sit for a while, generally three to five minutes, so it can begin to work. Home treatments are the first line of defense and include white vinegar and rubbing alcohol to release the stain. If those don’t work, try a mixture of baking soda, cornstarch and water. Refrain from scrubbing too hard, so you don’t damage the material.


When you have let the cleaner sit for a few minutes, you can blot the area with a soft cloth, which helps pull out the stain, as well as allow the area to dry more quickly. If these solutions don’t work, you can try blotting the area with a mixture of OxyClean and water or see how much steam cleaning will remove the stains.


4. Precondition the Fabric with cleaner

pretreatment for furniture cleaning
Pre Treatment is important

Prior to steam cleaning, you should precondition the fabric, so it doesn’t harden following cleaning. Spraying a soil emulsifier over the upholstery will help lift ground-in dirt. Make sure that you have let it sit long enough so that it seeps into the fabric. If you wish, you can also spray on a thin layer of shampoo. Both the emulsifier and the shampoo will come off the fabric when you use your steam cleaner with suction for the couch cleaning


5. Choose the Right Steamer and Prepare It for Steaming

commercial steam cleaner for furniture
Fortador Volt Electra Commercial Steam Cleaner


Choosing the right commercial steam cleaner for home use will make your job more successful. If it’s too big, you’ll have trouble maneuvering it into tight spaces. If it’s too small, you may not get the power you need to clean your upholstery thoroughly. That’s why the Fortador Volt Electra is ideal for cleaning upholstered furniture. It’s small enough to maneuver into small areas while also powerful enough to give you the cleaning power you need to get the job done right.


One of the big benefits of sofa steam cleaning is that you don’t have to use any chemicals to get a good cleaning. Many units will work well just with water, but if you prefer or have a heavily soiled surface, you can use a cleaning solution diluted with water to clean your upholstery. Consult Fortador’s manual on how much cleaning solution you should use as you don’t want to use too much as it will be expelled onto the fabric, and you may have difficulty removing it. It’s better to take several passes to clean the surface than to have residue remain on your upholstery. Also, check your manual to see what type of attachment to use on your upholstery. Finally, fill your tank with water, turn on your unit and let it heat sufficiently before you begin cleaning as you don’t want excessive water to remain on surfaces that would increase drying time.


Properly Using Steamer Furniture Units

Using a steam cleaner for couches in the proper manner will give you sparkling clean furniture pieces instead of one that has streaks and stubborn stains that just won’t leave. Make sure you take the proper steps to produce the best results.


6. Use the Right Attachments for different applications

steam cleaner attachments

The Volt Electra comes with various attachments for steam cleaning. Refer to your manual to ensure that you are using the correct one for the type of fabric or other surfaces you are cleaning. Using an incorrect steam cleaner for sofa attachment can damage your furniture.


7. Start With the Cushions

steam cleaning of couch

As you have already removed the cushions, clean these first. Using the steamer, spray one side of the cushion with steam and then drag the opening of the machine over the upholstery. If you are cleaning all sides of the cushion, make sure that the bottom dries before you clean the opposite side. Don’t be tempted to hold the steamer over particularly dirty areas for any length of time. It’s better to make several passes so as not to saturate the fabric with water.


8. Steam Clean the Rest of the Couch or Chair


Move onto the larger parts after you have finished the cushions. Work on small sections of fabric and move on quickly. Remember that you can always go over areas with stubborn dirt, as there is no need to wait for those sections to dry. Clean the frame of your sofa or chair last. The final step in cleaning your piece of furniture is to let it dry. The length of time needed depends on the weather, humidity, the time of days and whether you can get air circulating on your newly cleaned furniture. Open a window or turn on a fan to blow directly on your couch or chair.


9. Treating Stubborn Stains

stains removal from couch
Stains removal from couch

Sometimes, stubborn stains will not come off with steam alone, but you can remove them with a little extra effort. Begin with the easiest option, namely dish soap and water. Dip a sponge into the solution and rub to make it soapy, but make sure you don’t rub too hard as you don’t want to damage the fabric. Rinse the sponge and blot the area with clean water. Repeat as necessary.


If soap and water don’t work, move on using white or apple cider vinegar. Soak a clean white cloth and then blot the stain. You can use vodka and baking soda if you don’t have vinegar. Rub gently in a circular motion, again taking care not to do so too vigorously. Leave the solution on the area for several hours and then vacuum it. The smell will subside once it’s vacuumed.


Stains that remain may need commercial cleaners, but you should only use these as a last resort. Make sure the cleaner is suitable for the type of fabric and test it on an inconspicuous part of your furniture. Spray the cleaner directly on the stain and use a wet cloth to blot the stain. Again, you may have to perform this action several times for particularly stubborn stains until you can remove them completely.


Steam Cleaning Mattresses

Most people try to do their best to keep mattresses clean and fresh smelling after purchase, but sometimes life happens, and something gets spilled on the surface. Accidents aren’t the only thing that can stain your mattress, so can sweat, while dirt can also provide a home to dust mites. Mattresses can withstand a lot of water, as moisture will cause mold to grow. That’s why steam cleaning is ideal. Here are tips for cleaning mattresses with a steam cleaner.


10. Preparing the Mattress for steam cleaning

pretreatment of mattress stains
Brush cleaning of mattress

Again, proper preparation will make for a more thorough cleaning job. If your mattress smells bad, sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface and let it sit for a couple of hours to draw out odors. The baking soda will not only refresh the mattress but your bedroom too. You’ll remove the baking soda when you perform a thorough vacuuming of the surface.


As with upholstered furniture, you need to vacuum the surface thoroughly. Pay attention to all cracks, crevices and seams, making sure that you remove any crumbs, dirt and other debris that may have accumulated.


11. Steaming the Mattress



Hold the steamer an inch to two inches above the mattress and apply the steam starting at the top. Work your way across, similarly cleaning in small sections to as with upholstery. Move slowly, but keep the steam light and use an upholstery attachment, if possible, as this device will help absorb extra moisture. Once the top is clean, move to the sides. It’s important not to forget about the sides as this is the area where bedbugs and dust mites tend to live. If you have trouble with bed bugs, steam cleaning is an effective way to eliminate these pests. Flip double-sided mattresses over to clean the second surface, but make sure that the first surface is dry before proceeding so you don’t get it dirty.


Once you have finished steaming the mattress, give it several hours to dry before placing it back on the frame and making the bed with sheets and blankets. Although steam cleaning doesn’t take as long to dry as other cleaning methods, we recommend that you do the task in the morning, so it thoroughly dries by the time you want to use your bed.


Protecting Your Steam Cleaned Surfaces

Steaming is the premier method for cleaning soft furnishings and other surfaces. However, some are more prone to staining than others. Microfiber fabric, in particular, loves to hold stains for all sorts of spills. You can make your work easier the next time your steam clean by applying a protective coating.


12. Apply Fortador Interior Guard to protect

fortador cermic coating for interior

Once your furniture or mattress has dried, apply a thin coating of Fortador Interior Guard on the surface. This Kevlar coating product will protect your surfaces from the sun’s UV rays and stains for up to 24 months. Fortador is your one-stop-shop for steam cleaner for furniture units, accessories and protective products. There’s no need to go anywhere else!


Sabrina Tretyakova
Olga Drążewska
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