Furniture Elegance: Preserve Looks with Steam Techniques

Upholstery steam cleaning is an effective method to preserve and refresh the look of your furniture. This highly efficient technique not only removes stubborn stains, but also prolongs the lifespan of your upholstery, ensuring your furniture always appears as good as new.

Preserving Your Furniture’s Look with Steam Cleaning Techniques

As the demand for eco-friendly cleaning solutions grows,  Steam cleaners have become increasingly popular for achieving a thorough and sanitized environment without relying on harsh chemicals. These machines excel at eliminating tough stains, dirt, and grease while also effectively sanitizing surfaces by removing allergens and pathogens.

For those who are particularly interested in eco-friendly solutions in all aspects of cleaning, learn more from our article on steam cleaning methods and benefits.

When it comes to cleaning upholstery, fabric furniture, and mattresses, compact steam cleaners like the Fortador Volt Mini or Fortador Volt Electra offer a convenient solution for both commercial and home use. While these steam cleaners may seem like miraculous machines, achieving optimal results requires attention to detail before and during the upholstery cleaning process.

Explore these 12 tips to rejuvenate your furniture and bring back its brand-new appearance.

For comprehensive information on cleaning grout, visit our guide on the best steam cleaner for grout

1. How to Prepare Furniture or Couch for Cleaning

Resist the urge to fill your furniture steamer, switch it on, and begin cleaning right away. Taking a few minutes to prepare the surface of your couch, sofa, chair, ottoman, or any other upholstered furniture while the steamer heats up is a worthwhile step. Preparing your furniture for steam cleaning is similar to preparing other items in your home, like a mattress. For more information, refer to our guide on steam cleaning mattresses for allergen reduction.

1.1 Inspect and Examine Labels

Always start your cleaning task by examining the item to be cleaned for any areas that require special attention. Different cleaning methods may be necessary for microfiber and leather surfaces based on their level of dirtiness. However, the crucial factor to focus on is the letter on the furniture label, which specifies the appropriate substance for cleaning. Look for one of the following symbols to prevent damage to delicate upholstery:

  • Clean with water only
  • Use a solvent-based cleaner only
  • Use water or a solvent-based cleaner
  • Vacuum only.

In addition to furniture, steam cleaning can be effective for other surfaces, such as car interiors. For more details, visit our guide on steam cleaning for spotless car interiors.

When better call a PRO

Seeking professional assistance is advisable when cleaning furniture under the following circumstances:

  1. Delicate or antique furniture: To safeguard valuable or fragile furniture items, professionals ensure a safe and damage-free cleaning process.
  2. Stubborn stains or odors: In instances where household methods fall short in eliminating tough stains or persistent odors, professionals possess specialized techniques and products for effective removal.
  3. Extensive damage: Furniture with substantial damage, such as deep scratches, structural issues, or water damage, necessitates the expertise of professional restoration services for proper repair and restoration.

1.2 Brush and Vacuum the Surface with Vacuum Cleaner

To achieve a thorough cleaning of any upholstered surface, it’s crucial to eliminate food crumbs or other debris, as they can exacerbate the dirtiness during the steam cleaning process. Begin by brushing off visible particles, then use the appropriate vacuum attachment. Start by removing the cushions and vacuuming all sides, ensuring thorough attention to every crack and crevice in your chair or couch. Take your time with the task to effectively eliminate pet hair, dust, allergens, food remnants, dirt, and any other accumulated debris. Remember to vacuum not only the front but also the back and sides of your furniture.

If you have pets at home, consider reading about pet-safe steam cleaning to keep your home environment safe for them.

For pet owners, finding a suitable steam cleaner is essential. Find out more in our article on the best steam cleaner for pets.

1.3 Pre-Treat Stains with Scrubbing

Exercise caution when undertaking this task to ensure uniformity in your upholstery’s color. Prior to beginning, consult the manufacturer’s recommendations if available, and always test stain removal in an inconspicuous area. Common stains like urine, feces, dirt, and food can typically be addressed with steam cleaning alone.

For oil-based stains, it’s crucial to pre-treat and let the solution sit for three to five minutes for effective action. Initial home remedies involve white vinegar and rubbing alcohol to tackle stubborn stains. If unsuccessful, a mixture of baking soda, cornstarch, and warm water can be tried. Avoid excessive scrubbing to prevent material damage.

After allowing the upholstery cleaner to sit, gently blot the area with a soft cloth to extract the stain and expedite drying. If these methods prove ineffective, consider blotting with a mixture of OxyClean and water or assess the stain’s responsiveness to steam cleaning

1.4 Precondition the Fabric with Cleaner

Before using a steam cleaner, it’s important to prepare the fabric to prevent it from becoming stiff after cleaning. Applying a soil emulsifier to the upholstery aids in lifting embedded dirt. Ensure that you allow sufficient time for the emulsifier to penetrate the fabric. Optionally, you can also apply a light coat of shampoo or upholstery cleaner. Both the emulsifier and shampoo will be removed from the fabric when using the steam cleaner’s suction during the couch cleaning process.

1.5 Choosing the Right Steam Cleaner for Upholstery

Selecting the appropriate steam cleaner for upholstery involves careful consideration of various factors, ensuring effective deep cleaning without risking damage to your furniture. While selecting a steam cleaner for your furniture, it’s also important to consider its effectiveness on different surfaces, like safely steam cleaning grout.

1.5.1 How Does a Steam Cleaner Work?

A steam cleaner employs high-temperature steam to effectively clean and sanitize various surfaces. This steam is generated by heating water in a boiler tank, creating pressure that propels it through a nozzle or attachment. When released onto surfaces, the steam efficiently loosens dirt and grime, with its elevated temperature aiding in the elimination of bacteria and germs. The steam’s pressure proves instrumental in dislodging and removing stubborn stains and debris.

Fortador steam cleaners boast additional features, including brushes or scrubbers designed to tackle more challenging messes. Selecting an appropriate commercial steam cleaner for home use is crucial for successful cleaning. If the cleaner is too large, maneuvering it into tight spaces becomes challenging. Conversely, if it’s too small, it may lack the power needed for thorough upholstery cleaning.

This is why the Fortador Volt Electra, a heavy-duty option, is ideal for upholstered furniture cleaning. Its compact size facilitates easy maneuvering in confined spaces, while its impressive power ensures effective cleaning. Another excellent choice for versatile steam cleaning is our new portable steam cleaner, the Fortador Volt Mini.

1.5.2 Vacuum steam cleaner for couch and carpet Fortador Volt Electra

Introducing the Fortador VOLT ELECTRA, the ideal solution for furniture cleaning companies, serving as the primary cleaning equipment for offices, homes, and apartments. This powerful electric steam cleaner, equipped with vacuum capabilities, is meticulously designed for a wide range of applications, including private garages, car workshops, auto-detailing facilities, cleaning companies, and hotels. Here are key features and specifications of the Fortador VOLT ELECTRA:

Maximum Pressure: Achieves up to 12 BAR or 175 PSI, surpassing the performance of leading diesel combustion machines.

Recommended Usage: Perfect for private garages, car workshops, and auto-detailing factories.

Dual Functionality: Offers versatile applications with steam cleaning, sanitization using dry steam, and extraction through a built-in professional wet/dry vacuum from Ghibli & Wierbel.

Touchscreen Display: Features a user-friendly 7-inch touchscreen display that provides real-time information on fluid levels, boiler pressure, serial number, and more.

Voltage Options: Available in 240V (USA) and 220V or 380V (EU) configurations.

Compact and Lightweight: Weighing in at 99 lbs or 45 kg, it is easily maneuverable and transportable.

Noise Level: Operates at a low 60 dB, ensuring a quiet and efficient cleaning process.

Construction: Boasts a modern design with a corrosion-resistant aluminum housing for exceptional durability.

Additional Accessories: Comes complete with accessories such as steam hoses, dual hoses, a detergent tank, and more.

Warranty: Enjoy peace of mind with up to 3 years of warranty coverage.

Interested in finding the best steam cleaner for other items like mattresses? See our guide on the best steam cleaner for mattresses.

1.5.3 Portable steam cleaner for upholstery Fortador Volt Mini,

The Fortador Volt Mini is an excellent tool for homeowners and maintenance teams in rental properties. This portable steam cleaner is specifically designed for both office and residential use, catering to cleaning and disinfection service providers, individual detailers, home owners, and low-traffic car washes.

Key Features and Specifications of the Fortador Volt Mini include:

  • Hot Water Injection
  • 7 Bar | 100 PSI Steam Pressure
  • Available in USA-120V or EU-220V options
  • Steam production of 110g/minute

Weighing just 16.5 lbs, the Fortador Volt Mini is lightweight and highly portable, ensuring easy transportation. With a rapid five-minute heating time, it quickly produces steam. Its boiler, constructed from high-strength AISI 304 stainless steel, guarantees durability.

Equipped with a 15-foot steam hose, longer than most commercial-grade steam cleaners, the Fortador Volt Mini comes with various accessories such as microfiber cloths, scrubbing pads, and a steam mop, facilitating diverse cleaning tasks. This steam cleaner is suitable for use on carpets, upholstery, various flooring surfaces, and hard surfaces.

An environmental advantage of the Fortador Volt Mini lies in its eco-friendly nature. Requiring minimal to no additional detergents or agents for sanitization and deodorization, it can eliminate over 99% of bacteria, viruses, germs, and other pathogens. Moreover, the Volt Mini produces no diesel fumes, making it safe for indoor use.

1.5.4 Extra Tips for Steam Cleaning Furniture

Sofa steam cleaning offers a significant advantage in that it doesn’t necessitate the use of any chemicals for effective cleaning. Many models perform admirably with just water, but if you prefer or encounter heavily soiled surfaces, you have the option to use a cleaning solution diluted with water for upholstery cleaning. It’s important to refer to Fortador’s manual for guidance on the appropriate amount of cleaning solution, as using too much may result in expulsion onto the fabric, posing challenges in removal.

For those concerned about bed bugs, our guide on the best steam cleaner for bed bugs can offer more specific advice.”

It’s advisable to make multiple passes during cleaning rather than leaving residue on your upholstery. Additionally, consult your manual to determine the suitable attachment for upholstery. Before commencing the cleaning process, ensure that your tank is filled with water, turn on the unit, and allow it to heat adequately. This precaution is essential to prevent excessive water from lingering on surfaces, which could extend the drying time.

To learn more about steam cleaners that can be used for cars, check out our review of the best steam cleaner for cars.

2. Properly Using a Furniture Steamer

Achieving impeccably clean furniture with your upholstery steam cleaner requires following proper procedures to avoid streaks and persistent stains. Ensure you take the necessary steps to achieve optimal results when cleaning your couches with a steam cleaner.

2.1 Use the Right Attachments for Different Applications

The Volt Electra is equipped with a range of attachments designed for steam cleaning. Consult your manual to verify that you are selecting the appropriate attachment for the specific fabric or surface you intend to clean. Using an improper steam cleaner attachment for your sofa may result in damage to your furniture.

2.2 Start with the Cushions

After removing the cushions, start by cleaning them first. Utilize the steamer to spray steam on one side of the cushion, then glide the machine’s opening over the upholstery. If you plan to clean all sides of the cushion, ensure the bottom dries before moving on to the opposite side. Resist the temptation to linger over heavily soiled areas with the steamer for an extended period. It’s more effective to make multiple passes to avoid saturating the fabric with water.

2.3 Steam Clean the Rest of the Couch or Chair

Proceed to the larger components once you’ve completed cleaning the cushions. Address small fabric sections swiftly, allowing for the revisiting of stubborn dirt without waiting for drying. Reserve the cleaning of the sofa or chair frame for the last stage.

The ultimate step in environmentally friendly furniture cleaning involves allowing it to air dry. The drying duration is contingent on factors such as weather, humidity, time of day, and the availability of air circulation for the freshly cleaned furniture. Enhance the drying process by opening a window or using a fan to direct airflow onto the couch or chair.

2.4 Treating Stubborn Tough Stains

At times, stubborn stains may not be easily eliminated with steam alone, necessitating some additional effort. Start with the simplest option—dish soap and water. Dip a sponge into the solution, ensuring it becomes soapy, but be cautious not to scrub too forcefully to avoid damaging the fabric. Rinse the sponge and dab the area with clean water, repeating the process as needed.

If soap and warm water prove ineffective, try employing white or apple cider vinegar. Dampen a clean white cloth and gently blot the stain. Alternatively, if vinegar isn’t available, you can use a mixture of vodka and baking soda. Rub the solution gently in a circular motion, taking care not to apply excessive force. Allow the solution to sit on the stain for several hours, then vacuum it; any residual odor should dissipate after vacuuming.

For persistent stains that resist the above methods, resort to commercial cleaners as a last option. Ensure the cleaner is suitable for the fabric type, and test it on an inconspicuous part of the furniture. Directly spray the upholstery cleaner on the stain and use a wet cloth to blot the area. Repeat this process if necessary, especially for particularly stubborn stains, until they are entirely removed.

3. Protecting Your Steam Cleaned Surfaces

Steaming stands out as the primary technique for cleansing soft furnishings and various surfaces, but certain materials are more susceptible to stains. Microfiber fabric, in particular, has a tendency to retain stains from various spills. To streamline your steaming process next time, consider applying a protective coating.

3.1 Apply Fortador Interior Guard to protect

After allowing your furniture or mattress to dry, administer a light layer of Fortador Interior Guard onto the surface. This Kevlar coating offers protection against the sun’s UV rays and stains for a duration of up to 24 months. Fortador serves as your comprehensive solution for steam cleaning furniture, accessories, and protective products, eliminating the need to search elsewhere


In conclusion, upholstery steam cleaning is an efficient, eco-friendly method to maintain and revitalize the look of your furniture. It tackles stubborn stains while preserving the integrity of the fabric. By using the right accessories and following the correct procedures, you ensure your furniture’s longevity. Remember to protect your cleaned surfaces with the Fortador Interior Guard, making your next cleaning session even more effortless.

To explore more about steam cleaners that are suitable for both furniture and other surfaces, refer to our article on the best steam cleaner for furniture.

Kenneth Cutler

Kenneth Cutler is the founder and head editor at Clean My World. Based in California, he has been writing about home cleaning and cleaning appliances for quite some time and various major brands such as Miss Mill Mag and Lifestyle Magazine. Over the years, Kenneth Cutler has reviewed thousands of vacuum cleaners and other related home appliances and products. This enabled him to develop a unique insight into what makes a good vacuum cleaner. He keeps an eye on the market trends and USA regulations. Apart from talking about cleaning stuff, he likes to play music and enjoys live concerts.

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