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A microfiber couch may not have the same alluring ring as a leather or velvet couch, but don't let the negative connotations of synthetic fabric scare you away. In recent years, microfiber has evolved from the overstuffed couches of the pine-paneled 80s basement into a range of modern and sophisticated options. In fact, if you've ever seen "performance velvet" touted for its durability, that's microfiber.
While "performance velvet" might be a clever rebrand, it's also not a lie: microfiber is made from incredibly thin filaments—thinner than silk—making it both soft and strong. The tightly woven structure makes it durable, water-resistant, and even harder for pets to scratch and puncture.
But, just because microfiber is stain-resistant doesn't mean you can totally forgo any cleaning duties. However, the good news is that regular cleaning—and even the rare tough-to-remove stain—is easy to deal with and often just requires supplies found in most well-stocked cleaning caddies.
For the dos and don'ts of cleaning a microfiber couch, we spoke with Becky Rapinchuk of Clean Mama. Here's what she had to say.
Meet the Expert
Becky Rapinchuk is a cleaning expert and the founder of Clean Mama, which boasts a line of cleaning products and a blog filled with cleaning tips and tricks.
Regularly Cleaning Your Microfiber Couch
Rapinchuk recommends vacuuming the couch and flipping the cushions seasonally to keep it looking fresh for years to come. This helps keep the wear even as possible as well as removes built-up dirt and allergens.
If you have pets or eat on the couch, for example, you may want to vacuum more frequently. Use the vacuum's upholstery attachment and be sure to get below the cushions.
Since microfiber is so dense, cushions and sofa fill stay protected—no worries about cleaning beyond the surface.
How to Spot Clean Your Microfiber Couch
Microfiber will surprise you: many stains can be easily blotted off and no one will be any the wiser. Much of the time, catching a spill while it is wet requires nothing but a quick blot to clear it up.
But, for the occasional stain, Rapinchuk recommends spot-cleaning with a "barely damp" cloth and a drop of castile soap. After dabbing at the stain, you may need to vacuum it or rub it gently once the fabric has dried with a stiff brush to fluff the fibers.
If cushions are removable, you may be able to wash them at home or take them to a dry cleaner as well. Check the tag and manufacturer's instructions to see what is possible: some microfiber won't react well to being in water. But, if your couch cushions can't be removed or the whole couch is dirty, don't despair.
How to Deep Clean Your Microfiber Couch
If you need to clean bigger stains or even the whole couch itself, most microfiber couches can be deep-cleaned with basic home supplies. Look for a code S, which can be cleaned with water-free solvents, or W-S, which can be cleaned with water-based as well as water-free solvents. Most microfiber couches fall into these two categories.
To clean these couches, here's what you need:
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Spray Bottle
- White or Light-Colored Sponge with a Scrubbing Surface
- Working in small sections, spray the alcohol on the surface of the furniture.
- Then, use the scrubby side of the sponge to clean.
- Repeat the process in sections until you've cleaned the desired area.
- If you're cleaning the whole couch, focus on the arms, sides, and back where dirt accumulates, Rapinchuk says.
- Let the fabric dry completely, then use a clean bristled cleaning brush to fluff the fibers. Rapinchuk recommends scrubbing the brush in a circular motion until no brush strokes remain.
If your tag has a W for water-based solvent, stick to spot cleaning with a dab of soap and a damp cloth, or go to a professional. If your couch has an X on it, any cleaning could result in staining or shrinking and you'll have to seek out professional help. But, most microfiber couches will fall in the W or W-S camps, making rubbing alcohol an easy and affordable way to clean even deep stains.
How to Treat Serious Stains
Gum can be removed from microfiber the same way you'd remove it from other upholstered or leather furniture: hold a baggie of ice on the gum for a few minutes till it hardens then pick it off with your fingers or a butter knife.
As long as you don't have an "S" tag on your couch, soap with a little water should dissolve the grease. You can also try sprinkling it with baking soda or corn starch to see if it absorbs. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then vacuum.
If you drop a pen—or a mini Picasso decides to draw on your couch—don't worry about trying the soap trick. Go straight to rubbing alcohol, which is your best bet for removing ink stains. Depending on the size and extent of the stain, you may have to scrub a little harder or work longer, but rubbing alcohol can dissolve most ink stains.