How to Remove Stains from Microfiber Couches

file8631296990161Microfiber is a soft, cozy, durable and water-resistant fabric that can be made to look like suede or leather, which makes it an attractive choice for sofas and couches. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re completely impervious to stains.

If you’ve got an ugly stain staring you in the face, you may be tempted to grab a simple solution of soap and water to clean it. But depending on the type of microfiber, this may actually cause unsightly water rings that leave it looking worse than the original stain.

So before you approach your couch with any kind of cleaning products, you’re going to need to figure out what kind of microfiber you’re dealing with. There should be a tag on the furniture with one of the following codes on it:

  • W means you need to use a water based cleaner
  • S means you need to use a solvent based cleaner
  • S/W means you can use either a water or solvent based cleaner
  • X means you can’t use water or solvent based cleaners because they can stain, spot, or shrink the fabric. Vacuum only!

You can find solvent-based cleaners at your local grocery store, but rubbing alcohol or even vodka can be used in a pinch!

Step 1: Vacuum

Get up as much dust and debris as you can. The upholstery attachment on your vacuum is perfect for this. You can use the bristles to loosen anything that seems stuck on.

Step 2: Scrub, Scrub, Scrub

Get rid of crusty residue by scrubbing with a clean, dry brush.

Step 3: Repeat

Lift up the cushions, back cushions, and vacuum and scrub those areas, too. If you’ve got an X-marked couch, you’re done!

Step 4: Choose the Appropriate Cleaning Solution

Water based cleaning solutions include gentle soaps, mild dish detergents, carpet cleaners, and upholstery shampoo.

Solvent based (or water-free) cleaning solutions include rubbing alcohol, any clear alcohol (like gin or vodka – use the cheap stuff!), dry-cleaning solvent, lighter fluid (we don’t recommend using this), baby wipes, and any oxygenating solution that doesn’t contain bleach.

Step 5: Test It!

Before you do any major cleaning, test the solution you chose on an inconspicuous area of the couch, likely low down on the back of it. Let the fabric dry completely before you decide whether or not to move forward with that particular cleaning solution. Sometimes the damage won’t happen right away.

Step 6: Spot Clean and Dry

Without over-saturating the fabric, apply a small amount of cleaning solution right on the stain and blot. Try not to scrub as this will press the cleaner deeper into the couch and could be harder to dry. Once you’ve got the stain up, use a blow dryer to remove any excess liquid.


These shortcuts can help you deal with common stains; just make sure that the solution called for can be used on your couch.

  • Ink stains and watermarks can be removed using rubbing alcohol.
  • Spilled wax can be removed by passing a hot iron over a terrycloth or paper towel placed over the fabric.
  • Use ice to remove chewing gum. Simply grab a cube and ice the gum until it hardens, the peel it off. You can also rub a small bit of butter onto the gum to loosen it and peel it off, then use a small amount of soapy water to remove the grease.
  • If your couch is kind of smelly, mix baking soda with water to form a paste and apply it to the couch. Let it dry and vacuum up the residue.

Step 7: Brush, Brush, Brush

Microfiber has a tendency to get stiff after it’s been cleaned, but you can prevent this by brushing the treated areas with a clean, dry brush.

Now you can put your couch back together and relax – stain free!

1st Class Cleaning is a professional cleaning company that serves the greater New York City area. We can come in to do a thorough one-time cleaning that targets especially messy areas of your home or can come on a regularly scheduled basis to take care of all the little chores no one likes to do. Contact us today to learn more about our service options and pricing!

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