How to Clean a Microfiber Couch

Blue microfiber couch cleaned with bristle brush next to basket of cleaning materials

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 2 - 5 hrs

Microfiber fabrics are durable and affordable, yet like most materials, they can get stained and dirty. Our comprehensive guide shows you just how to clean your microfiber couch.

Cleaning a microfiber couch can be a bit of a challenge. Microfiber is generally made with polyester or a blend of polyester fibers and is prone to watermarks. Polyester is oleophilic (has an affinity for oil), which is why high-touch areas of the couch or chair quickly appear dirty or soiled—this is where the oil from your hands or hair makes the most contact with the fabric.

Always check the manufacturer's care label so that you know which one of the two methods below to use. But with these steps and tips, you'll learn how best to clean a couch upholstered in microfiber and be able to tackle removing gum, grease stains, and odors too.

How Often to Clean a Microfiber Couch

Regular maintenance will help keep a microfiber couch looking its best and smelling fresh. The couch should be vacuumed weekly to remove surface dust and dirt before it is ground into the fibers. This is particularly critical if pets have access to the upholstery. Spills and stains should be treated as quickly as possible for the easiest removal.

The couch should be thoroughly cleaned at least seasonally or monthly if it receives heavy use from pets and kids.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Vacuum with crevice and upholstery tools
  • Whisk
  • Spray bottle
  • Soft-bristled brush or sponge
  • 2 Buckets or large bowls
  • Microfiber cleaning cloth
  • Upholstery brush (optional)
  • Whisk (optional)

Materials

  • Liquid dishwashing soap
  • Water
  • Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Upholstery or carpet cleaner (optional)

Instructions

Materials and tools to clean a microfiber couch

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

Tip

Since 1969, furniture manufacturers in the United States are required to add a tag to help you determine the best and safest way to clean the upholstery and protect cushion fillings. Look underneath the couch or under the cushions to make sure you are following the correct cleaning guidelines.

  • Code W: The fabric can be cleaned with water-based cleaning solvents.
  • Code S: The fabric requires dry cleaning or the use of a water-free solvent to remove stains and soils. The use of these chemicals requires a well-ventilated room and no open flames like fireplaces or candles.
  • Code W-S: The fabric can be cleaned with either water-based or solvent-based products.
  • Code X: When you see the "X," avoid any type of cleaning agent. These fabrics should only be cleaned by vacuuming or by a professional. Any type of home cleaning product can cause staining and shrinking.

How to Clean a Microfiber Couch With Soap Suds and Water

If your couch has a W or W-S tag, it can be safely cleaned with soap suds and water.

  1. Vacuum the Couch

    Always begin your cleaning session by vacuuming every surface of the upholstery (don't forget the underside of cushions). Pay particular attention to crevices and stitched seams that can collect soil.

    Blue microfiber couch vacuumed with vacuum hose and upholstery attachment

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  2. Mix the Cleaning Solution

    Place four cups of warm water in a bucket or large bowl. Add one-fourth cup of liquid dishwashing soap. Use a whisk to create lots of soapy suds. Fill a second bucket with plain water.

    Cleaning solution mixed with water and liquid dishwashing soap with whisk in large bowl

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  3. Dip and Scrub With Soap Suds

    Carefully dip the scrubbing brush or sponge in just the soap suds (not the water). Starting at the top of a cushion or the couch back or arms, evenly spread the suds and scrub well. Starting at the top and working your way down will prevent dirty suds from dripping onto already cleaned areas. Rinse the brush or sponge frequently in clean water and make sure it is as dry as possible as you repeat the steps with fresh soap suds.

    Scrub brush rubbing cleaning solution on blue microfiber couch

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  4. Rinse and Fluff

    Once an area has been cleaned, slightly dampen a microfiber cleaning cloth with plain water and wipe down the area. Allow the fabric to air-dry completely. Use a vacuum or upholstery brush to fluff any matted fibers.

    Damp green microfiber cloth rinsing blue microfiber couch with water

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

How to Clean a Microfiber Couch With Rubbing Alcohol

If the care tag shows an "S," it must be cleaned with a solvent like rubbing alcohol, dry cleaning solvent, or a solvent-based upholstery or carpet cleaner.

  1. Vacuum First

    Before using your solvent, carefully vacuum every fabric surface on the couch.

    Blue microfiber couch cleaned with vacuum hose and upholstery attachment

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  2. Apply the Cleaning Solution

    Place the rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and lightly spritz the fabric, starting at the top of a cushion or section. If using a commercial product, follow the label directions.

    Rubbing alcohol sprayed on blue microfiber couch with brown spray bottle

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  3. Scrub Away Soil

    While the fabric is damp with the rubbing alcohol, use a sponge or soft-bristled brush to remove soil. Rinse the sponge in plain water to remove soil and wring to remove as much moisture as possible before continuing to clean.

    Scrubbing brush spreading rubbing alcohol across blue microfiber cloth

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  4. Dry and Fluff

    Allow the upholstery to air-dry and then use a vacuum or upholstery brush to lift any matted fibers.

    Vacuum hose with upholstery attachment fluffing blue microfiber couch after rinsing

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

How to Tackle Tough Stains and Odors

Grease

Sprinkle grease stains with cornstarch and work it in with an old toothbrush. Allow it to sit for at least one hour and vacuum away. Repeat if needed. The cornstarch will absorb the oil. Spot clean the area with either the soap suds or rubbing alcohol method.

Chewing Gum

Place ice cubes in a sealed plastic bag and put them on top of the chewing gum so it will harden. Use a dull knife or your fingernail to break away the hardened gum. Work slowly and refreeze the gum as needed. Remove any remaining stain with either the soap suds or rubbing alcohol method.

Odors

Before bedtime, sprinkle the entire couch with plain baking soda. Use a soft-bristled brush to work it in lightly. The next day, vacuum away the baking soda and the odors.