Your Guide to Cleaning a Microfiber Couch

The real trick is staying on top of routine maintenance.

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Microfiber has long been a popular sofa upholstery option. In addition to being easy to care for, the fabric is considered stain-resistant, which makes it ideal for families or households with pets. Still, it's important to learn how to clean a microfiber couch as spills, stains, and damage from regular wear and tear are inevitable from time to time. Here's everything you need to know about cleaning and caring for your microfiber couch.

Why Microfiber Is a Popular Material

Microfiber is a fabric made of ultra-thin synthetic micro-fibers that are thinner than silk fibers; this fabric is usually made of polyester or polyamides (think nylon), says Jackie Wright, founder and principal of Pineapple Procurement. "Other common upholstery fabrics, such as cotton, are made of natural fibers, and the fibers themselves are much larger than the synthetic fibers used to create microfiber," she says. "The ultra-thin synthetic fibers can be woven more tightly together creating a sturdy fabric that is much easier to clean because liquids and small particles can't penetrate the fabric as quickly or easily." This is why so many sofas are made from the low-maintenance material.

Symbols to Look for Before Cleaning

You should always make sure to read the cleaning code and instructions provided by your sofa's manufacturers, explains Gentian Mazreku, owner of G's Carpet Cleaning, a company that specializes in carpets, upholstery, wood, stone, leather, and drapery. He says this information can typically be found inside of your couch. The tag may also have additional information about washing instructions, including: "W," which indicates water can be used in cleaning, "WS," which means that a dry cleaning detergent or mild detergent and steam vacuum can be used, "X," which signifies vacuum only, and "S," which indicates that you can clean with dry cleaner detergent.

How to Clean a Microfiber Couch

Along with an annual professional shampooing, Mazreku suggests including your sofa in your normal weekly cleaning routine by using a dry brush to loosen up any embedded surface dust or debris. Additionally, you should vacuum your sofa on a gentle or low setting with a soft surface attachment. Mazreku says this will help to remove hair, lint, embedded dust, and debris. Lastly, rotate your cushions if possible. "If your home is anything like mine, everyone has a favorite seat on the couch," he says. "Flip and switch cushions often to distribute gradual wear."

Taking Care of Bigger Messes

If your sofa needs a little more care due to a spill, spot, or stain, Mazreku says you can clean the surface. Just be sure to test an inconspicuous area before you get started. If the stain is new, Mazreku suggests using a dry white towel to blot and transfer the color and liquid over into the new cloth. Next, apply an all-purpose cleaner or stain remover. Mist the spot and then follow the product guidelines for how long it should sit on the stain before removing. "Apply to an area larger than your selected stain to prevent weird drying patterns and rings, ensuring an even cleaning," he says. Then you'll need a fresh dry white microfiber towel ($17.79 , to blot the spot dry and transfer over any color released by the solutions used. "Do not use a wet towel, this can allow your stain to sink deeper, instead we want to absorb upwards using a gentle blotting process."

Microfiber Isn't for Everyone

If you're the type of person who carries a lint roller around with you because you can't stand the sight of lint or pet hair, then Wright says microfiber may not be the best option for you. "It's notorious for being somewhat of a magnet when it comes to pet hair and lint, and, because the fibers are so tightly woven sometimes it does take a couple passes with the vacuum or lint roller to remove the unwanted debris," she says, adding that just because it's known for being "stain-resistant" and "water-resistant" doesn't mean you can wait all day to address spills and stains. "In order to keep the fabric looking fresh, spills should be cleaned up right away according to the cleaning instructions."

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