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How to clean a microfiber sofa

Blue microfiber sofa freshly cleaned

No fabric takes on ‘rough and tumble’ households quite like microfiber. Durable, soft and water absorbent, microfiber sofas are perfect for dealing with sticky kids’ fingers and moulting family pets.

However, even the most resilient fabrics are prone to gathering dust and dirt. To keep your fabric looking fresh, read our expert tips on how to clean a microfiber sofa, below.

Firstly, find the cleaning code

Microfiber is an ulta thin fabric (it’s even slimmer than a strand of silk), which makes cleaning a delicate business.

To make sure you’re using the right cleaning materials for your microfiber couch, we recommend peeking under your sofa cushions. Aside from the loose change you’re bound to find, here you’ll find an attached piece of fabric with a letter on it: this is your sofa’s individual “cleaning code”.

Here is what each cleaning code means:

  • "W": means it can be cleaned with water. Effective water-based cleaning solutions include gentle soap, washing up liquid, carpet cleaner and upholstery shampoo.
  • "S": means it shouldn't be treated with water. If your sofa is marked with an “S”, clean it with water-free solvents, such as rubbing alcohol, clear alcohols, dry-cleaning solvent and baby wipes.
  • "S-W": means you can use either a solvent or water.
  • “X”: means you can only clean it with a vacuum. To deep clean these types of fabric you will need to visit a dry cleaner.

TOP TIP: While microfiber sofas are highly water absorbent, not all types are suitable for cleaning with water. Check your sofa’s cleaning code to be 100 per cent sure.

Do away with dirt

Thin, dense fibres are what make microfiber sofas so luxuriously soft. However, similar to other fabrics, like suede, microfiber is no stranger to pesky dust and crumbs.

Vacuuming brown microfiber sofa

How to remove dirt from microfiber sofas

To loosen dirt from your microfiber sofa, simply connect the upholstery attachment to your vacuum (if you’re unsure which attachment this is, it’s the one with the wide, flat nozzle). Move the nozzle over your sofa, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies down the sides and the back. We recommend doing this once a week, to prevent bacteria build-up.

If you notice the fibres have flattened post-vacuum, you can easily restore your sofa to its normal texture by brushing with a dry, soft-bristled brush (these look similar to the type you’d use in the bath).

TOP TIP: If you are finding it difficult to clean unwieldy pet hairs from your microfiber sofa, take a look at our tips on How to Keep Your Dog Off the Sofa.

Kill off stains

Although microfiber is known for soaking up water, watermarks and wet stains are much more common than you might think. To tackle stains without damaging your fabric, you’ll need to know which cleaning materials are right for the job.

Cleaning cream microfiber sofa upholstery

How to remove wet stains from microfiber sofas

If you accidentally spill liquid on your microfiber sofa, don’t panic – you can easily clean it up. To remove the stain, simply grab a damp cloth (after checking your cleaning code, of course) and wipe away gently, making sure not to scrub into the fibres. Baby wipes are another effective option if you’re cleaning up superficial spills.

How to remove dry stains from microfiber sofas

Dry stains, such as chocolate, can be a pain to remove on ordinary sofas. With microfiber, however, all you need is a clean, soft-bristled brush. To lift the mark from the fabric, gently scrub back and forth until the stain has disappeared. Then, if your cleaning code gives you the green light, the next step is to remove any leftover marks with a damp cloth.

TOP TIP: Using a damp cloth to clean up your spills? Hover a hair-dryer (on its coolest setting) around six inches away from the mark to evaporate any residue.

How to remove grease from microfiber sofas

Grease and oil stains have a habit of clinging to microfiber, even after being tossed in the washing machine. To clean away nasty grease stains, all you need is dishwasher soap, or WD-40. Apply directly to the stain, blot with a towel or sponge and wipe gently until – viola! - the stain is gone.

While microfiber sofas can be freshened up at home, there are some stubborn spills and stains which are bound to be tough to clean. If you have a much-loved sofa you’d like to spruce up, take a look at our reupholstery and sofa cover options.

Sally is the Digital Marketing Manager at Plumbs. Prior to Plumbs, she ran the digital marketing strategy for Johnson’s Cleaners UK. Her interests include home interiors and upcycling, and her favourite show to watch after work is Homes Under the Hammer. Some of the topics she covers on the Plumbs blog include sofa reupholstery and furniture protection.

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