How to Clean Microfiber Furniture

Many types of microfiber fabrics cannot get wet or a watermark will remain. Obviously, this poses a particular challenge for cleaning. While microfiber fabric is stain-resistant, it is not completely immune to stains and dirt, which means it will need to be cleaned at some point.

Before You Begin

  • ALWAYS look at the tag! If your furniture came with a care manual, READ IT! The tag and the manual will generally tell you what cleaning techniques you should or shouldn’t use. Sometimes, the tag is clearly marked with a “W” which usually means it is okay to use water. Otherwise, using water to clean the fabric may cause a problem with water marks.
  • When in doubt, call a professional! Contact either the furniture retailer from which you purchased your furniture to find out the best way to clean it, or contact a company specialized in cleaning microfiber fabric.
  • ALWAYS test a small, inconspicuous area of the furniture with the proposed cleaning method FIRST.
  • NEVER saturate the fabric with whatever cleaning solution you are using—always use it as sparingly as possible.

How to Wash Water Safe Microfiber

 

What you will need:

  • Vacuum with soft-brush attachment
  • Gentle soap, such as liquid DOVE or Woolite
  • Clean terry cloth towel or natural sponge (avoid colored cloths/sponges as dye may run into fabric)
  • Cold Water
  • Hair Dryer
  • Soft-bristle nailbrush

Cleaning Process:

  1. Vacuum with the soft brush attachment to remove dust and loose debris.
  2. Mix a few drops of soap with the cold water.
  3. Dampen sponge or terrycloth towel and wring it out thoroughly to avoid excess moisture.
  4. Working one section at a time, gently wash the surface with the dampened sponge or towel (making sure each time that the sponge or towel is not saturated—only slightly damp).
  5. Immediately upon finishing a section, dry with hair dryer on lowest (coolest) setting.
  6. When the area is dry, brush lightly with the nail brush to restore texture.

How to Wash Non-Water Safe Microfiber

What you will need:

  • Gentle, dry detergent (i.e. Ivory Snow or Dreft)
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Vacuum Cleaner with soft brush attachment
  • Dry Cleaning solution (optional)

Cleaning Process:

  1. Vacuum with soft brush attachment to remove dust and loose debris.
  2. Working one section at a time, sprinkle a small amount of dry detergent on the area to be cleaned.
  3. Using soft-bristle brush, gently brush dry detergent into the fabric.
  4. Vacuum the area completely before moving on to the next section.
  5. If this technique does not yield satisfactory results, use a dry cleaning product. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
  6. When in doubt, do not hesitate to contact a cleaning professional.

Microfiber Stain Removal

There are several techniques that may be used to remove stains of all types on microfiber furniture. Feel free to try one or more of these techniques, but ALWAYS test a small, inconspicuous area first before using any stain removal technique to make certain the fabric will not be damaged.

  • Using an aerosol can of original Lysol, lightly spray the stain, blot with a clean cloth.
  • Make a thick paste of baking soda and water, and apply to the stain. Wait a few minutes, then wipe clean.
  • Using a baby wipe, gently blot the area of the stain, being careful not to rub the stain into the fabric.
  • Using a small amount of rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol) on a soft, white terrycloth towel, gently blot the stain.
  • Using a small amount of clear alcohol, such as vodka, dampen a soft cloth, and gently blot the stain.
  • Clean grease stains with Dawn dish soap, Totally Awesome (available at dollar stores), or WD-40. Rinse well after stain is removed.
  • For stubborn stains, or if your fabric does not appear to tolerate any of the stain removal techniques, your furniture retailer or manufacturer may have a cleaning solution suitable for your particular furniture, so be sure to check with them. Otherwise, you should contact a cleaning service specializing in microfiber furniture.

Additional Tips and Suggestions

  1. Check the care instructions on the tag to see if the fabric on your furniture is washer and dryer safe. If it is, it may be quicker to remove the cushion covers (where possible) and place in the washer on gentle cycle, using a gentle detergent such as Woolite. Tumble dry on the “No Heat” setting (air dry).
  2. ALWAYS clean up liquid spills immediately. While microfiber is water resistant, if left on long enough, liquid will soak in. Blot the liquid with an absorbent paper towel, being sure not to rub the spill, thus forcing a stain into the fabric.
  3. Vacuum your microfiber furniture at least once a week (perhaps more often if it is heavily used), to insure that all crumbs and other matter which can cause stains are removed. NEVER use a high-powered vacuum attachment (i.e. “power nozzle”) on your microfiber furniture (particularly sofas and loveseats) as it may wrinkle and pull the fabric, causing permanent damage.
  4. Even if your furniture is tolerant of water, it is best to use a hair dryer for quick drying of any wet spots to avoid the possibility of water marks. ALWAYS keep the dryer on its lowest (coolest) setting.
  5. NEVER use nail polish remover, or anything containing acetone, on your microfiber furniture.
  6. NEVER use any product containing bleach or bleach alternative on your microfiber furniture as it may cause discoloration.
  7. NEVER use carpet cleaning machines or attachments on your microfiber furniture as it may cause the fabric to shrink or wrinkle.
  8. For help finding an upholstery cleaner in your area, check the yellow pages.

 

Comments

  1. Ray says:

    Tagging onto the Washable Microfiber – I used Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap – Pure Castille/Peppermint – you can get it at GNC…

    It comes in plenty of scents – be careful with which one you choose – they are strong. Anyway, I skipped the vacuum step – dabbed the stain with cold water, dabbed a little soap onto the stain and rubbed it with a dishcloth until it disappeared. Then I blotted the area with a dry part of the dishcloth before using a blow dryer on a low setting for a few moments. I used my fingernails to re-establish the texture… I had tried so many other things before on a few tough stains – it even removed black mascara from a cream microfiber sofa.

  2. Stephanie says:

    My mother-in-law removed Sharpie marker from her white microfiber love-seat with aerosol hairspray. It was amazing! She just sprayed it immediately, then blotted it with a paper towel, and off it came. I couldn’t believe it; the texture wasn’t even harmed!

  3. Joel says:

    I don’t have any tags on my furniture. What are my options?

  4. Yvonne says:

    Can you ever put your microfiber covers from the couch in the washing machine if they are water safe?

  5. Joel says:

    Joel, look up your couch online, and find other retailers who sell it. That’s how I found out.

    I did not see the tags. Otherwise, I would have called the store who sold it to me.

  6. Julie says:

    How do you clean a burn mark left by a hot hair straightener? It left a black mark on my taupe microfiber couch. Help!!

  7. Debbi says:

    How do you get lip gloss off of a microfiber light brown couch?

  8. Sandy says:

    My grandson sat on a chair and his diaper rash ointment leaked onto my brand new chair. I have read the hints for cleaning, but wasn’t sure what to use with an oil-based substance.

  9. Linda says:

    Washed my red cushion and pillow covers in the washer; I am very pleased with the way they turned out. Used Arm & Hammer detergent with baking soda and my homemade fabric softener (white vinegar, baking soda and scented oil). Please check out online instructions before using this.

    Dried them inside-out on the clothes line. Once the inside was dry, turned them right-side out to dry.

  10. Ciera says:

    I read Stephanie’s comment about her mother-in-law using aerosol hairspray to remove Sharpie from her microfiber couch and tried it, except, I used this trick to remove nail polish. It worked wonderfully!!! I was hesitant at first because I didn’t want to make it any worse, but I have absolutely no regrets! I recommend this to everyone!! :)

  11. Richard says:

    I have been cleaning upholstery for 25 years. Some of the above methods are tried and true. The others you shouldn’t do at all. Excess soaps not rinsed clean from the fibers will attract dirt quickly. Dry soaps rubbed into a piece of microfiber can not be removed completely in the dry state. It will attract dirt and body oils. If you have a dry clean only fabric and especially microfiber, go to Walmart and buy a can of dry cleaning fluid. It works pretty well and doesn’t cost that much. If it isn’t dry clean only, which 95% of all microfibers are wet cleanable, use good mild detergent, whip it into a foam, apply it to the furniture and scrub with a very soft bristle brush. Do not use a finger nail brush, they will do damage to the fibers eventually. After scrubbing, rinse out the soap with a light mist of water and remove the excess with a wet/dry vac. Do this multiple times to remove all soap. The more you get out, the longer it will stay clean. If it leaves a circle, guess what, you have filth in your fabric that is causing that and general cleaning of the entire piece is required.

    The comment on WD-40 is hilarious!!! Never use a petroleum distillate of any kind other than perc or dry cleaning fluid on any fabric or carpet. On top of stripping the protective coating on fabrics, it will wreak havoc on the foam padding beneath it. Not to mention you will now have to remove the WD-40 from the padding and the fabric unless you like dirty spots on your furniture. It is oil. Oil is something to get out, not put in. If you have an oil-based stain, use a natural citrus solvent; these can be purchased at any Walmart or discount store. Goof Off has one and similar products. Make sure you dilute it to the lowest point you can to clean the stain but not damage the fiber. Full strength is too strong. Apply it only to the surface with a cloth and use a soft brush to remove the stain. Rinse thoroughly multiple times until no residue is left. A great spotter for furniture is a mild ammonia solution. It works on body oils, grease and general soiling. Remember: on light color fabrics, the lower the pH the better. In other words, don’t use soap; that is too strong. If you have to use strong soaps on light colors, then use a vinegar solution to neutralize the higher ph of the soaps. As with soap rinse it well although not much care is needed when removing the vinegar solution as a neutralizer. Using the items in your kitchen cabinet can be a money saving thing. When your furniture is soiled heavily though, there is a reason they say call a professional. Oh and by the way if you use hair spray to get out ink, just remember to get the hairspray out to. It can be a pain to get out as well if you really get it out. Dry cleaning fluids with paint and ink removers in them work so much better, but the general public doesn’t have access to those chemicals as a premix so we will leave that to a professional as well.

  12. Mom of Three says:

    My sofa cushions wrinkled after washing. How do I smooth them out again? My sofa looks so old and I have only had it for six months.

  13. Lucy says:

    I have a microfiber furniture, which used to clean up beautifully. However, my problem is that I am constantly cleaning my furniture because each time we sit on it, it shows grease stains from our heads. I was cleaning the furniture with plain water or dawn detergent or 409. Is there anything out there that will help me from constantly cleaning? Should the furniture be replaced? I have had the furniture cleaned by professionals and they used Scotchgard, but still the problem remains. I just want it to stay clean; just daily sitting brings on the problem. The sofa and chairs look bad.

  14. Amy says:

    I have had cream microfiber furniture for 6 years now, but I have never had it cleaned. Certain spots on the couch where we sit more are really dirty. What should I clean it with? There are certain stains I need to get out, but it needs to be cleaned more or less all over.

  15. Pat says:

    How do I get newspaper ink from my microfiber couch? I was told it could be cleaned with water when I purchased it.

  16. Audrey says:

    I have a hair grease stain on the back of a microfiber couch. There is no tag on the furniture. Please help!

    Thank you.

  17. Andie says:

    Your advice worked wonders! Cereal milk was spilled on my sofa this morning, and you’d never know it. I had to research my sofa online because I couldn’t find any tags, but the time and effort was well worth it. Thank for the tips!

  18. John says:

    Dawn really does work. I just spilled grease on my microfiber sofa, ran for the computer and saw Dawn soap recommended on this website. I did not have much time before my wife came back from the store. It took me about 10 minutes or so to take the stain off. It helped to use a hair dryer to work a little faster. She will never know. I can still see it a little bit if I look for it, but if you glance at that location, you can’t even notice.

  19. Heather says:

    I had a grease stain on my brand new microfiber couch, and WD-40 saved it!!!! I tried everything from rubbing alcohol to vinegar, to baking soda, and nothing worked. I read the comment about WD-40, and thought, “Why not.” I sprayed it on a clean rag, rubbed in small little circles, and then grabbed another clean rag and dried it. The stain was gone. The was no leftover stain…nothing. I cannot tell you how happy I am.

  20. Dedre says:

    Thanks.

  21. Joe says:

    Eh…all this is too much.
    Just put alcohol in a spray bottle and saturate the area that needs to be cleaned, then scrub with a sponge and soak up the excess liquid with a dry sponge – done! Alcohol drys fast and leaves no smell after it dries.

  22. Mary says:

    I have a microfiber couch and chair that the color is wearing off. I would like to know where I can find a moisturizing product to treat it.

  23. Melanie says:

    Mary,
    I have not been able to find a conditioner or moisturizer for fabric upholstery. Brushing or vacuuming the area is usually the recommended method for worn areas of microfiber seating – the point is to pull up the matted fibers. You can also use Simply Spray Fabric Paint for Upholstery to spray paint the faded area or entire chair/couch.

    Source: eHow
    Source: Better After

  24. Sherry says:

    Best advice, do not buy microfiber furniture; it is gross. Everything stains it, and it cost a lot more to clean than other fibers. I bought mine at Basset, it was called ‘everyday suede cloth.’ I was told it was great for dogs; their drool stains it really bad. Due to the high cost, I am stuck with it. Funny thing, the cheap microfiber in the family room is way easier to clean. I wash the cushion cover in the machine and dry them in the dryer!

  25. Pat says:

    How can I clean a microfiber sofa cushion that had a cocktail spilled on it? It was vodka and diet coke. Thanks!

    Check it out! We’ve answered your question! Yay!

  26. Vickie says:

    I hate my microfiber sofa and love seat; I will NEVER buy another one. Cannot keep it clean. Worst sofa I have ever had to keep from staining. There are spots constantly, no matter how much I clean it.

  27. Della says:

    I have a dark brown microfiber sofa and love seat/recliners, I have three small grandkids that lived with me and my brand new sofa/love seat/recliners are very stained with everything… how can I clean them? I tried the dish soap in a small place and when I blotted it, the color came off on the towel. Please help.

  28. Roxie says:

    I have trouble with circles where I tried to clean it. Please help.

  29. Melanie says:

    Roxie,
    Those could be watermarks. The article How to Remove Watermarks on Mircofiber Upholstery says to, “remoisten the area with water and dry with a blow dryer to hasten the drying process.”

  30. Amber F. says:

    Please help! I have some used cream-colored microfiber couches. Last night, a hot pink stain appeared on one of them. I have no clue what it is, but I imagine it was caused by one of our kids. I have tried hairspray, vinegar, dish soap, and rubbing alcohol. I can’t seem to get it out! Can someone help?

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