November 27, 2013

Pinterest Tested: How to Clean A Microfiber Couch


I am still unpacking.


Our house is still full of boxes.

And yes.

It's driving me completely insane.


My mattress is clean. Whew.

And now my couch is also clean, thanks to another Pinterest Tested moment.

I've pinned many pins on Pinterest (hahaha, alliteration is fun), and many of those are about cleaning a microfiber couch. You see, I wasn't sure this was possible, but fellow bloggers have assured me it is. In fact, it's not even that difficult.

Some of my resources were this post from 551 East and this one from Chris and Robins Nest. Both had similar tips I utilized, plus I added a few of my own. I'll start by saying, this really worked. My couch looks cleaner and smells better (not like dog anymore!). However, this was more time consuming than I expected.

You've been warned.

So, this is what my couch looked like before:

As you can see, it's been well-used. Flat cushions, general wear and tear. We didn't have any drastic staining, but there were lots of small, not as easily visible, marks. Like these:

PCSing is a good opportunity for the deep cleanings we often push aside in the normal course of life. This "deep cleaning" is why I'm still living out of boxes. It takes forever!

Ok, whining session over.

The first thing you want to look at before the cleaning commences is the tag on your couch. There will be one of several letters on it which will be extremely important to your process. My tag said WS on it. This means I can use both water and solvent-based cleaners on my couch. Your tag may only have one or the other. If yours only has an "S" on it, then you probably don't want to use any water on your couch and vice versa. Capsize?

Luckily, my couch is down with whatever. So I used a variety of methods to ensure my finished product was clean and fresh.

Rubbing alcohol, spray bottle, white scrub brushes 

Step 1: I removed all cushions from the sofa and vacuumed well with my upholstery attachment. This got rid of the dog hair, dust, and any stray crumbs.

Step 2: My bottom cushions have removable cases. Because of the WS factor, I figured I could put these in the wash. So I did. On delicate. With perfume and dye-free detergent. Tumble-dry low to avoid shrinkage.

Step 3: The upper pillows do not have removable cases. This seemed incredibly wrong to me, but such is life. Using another pin I discovered, I washed these also (no easy feat, due to their size), then dried them one at a time with a sleeve of tennis balls to accompany them.

Obviously, take the tennis balls
out of the can!! 

This worked. However, it also took forever. Each pillow needed to run several cycles in the dryer. I would think they were dry, I really would! But then a few hours later, the back of the pillows would dampen as moisture leaked from the inside out. Don't be like me, peeps.

Dry those pillows several times. Each.

Step 4: Clean couch base with the alcohol and scrubbing method.

This actually worked on stains, I was quite impressed. Simply spray the alcohol on the spot you'd like to clean (I used basic rubbing alcohol that I picked up at the commissary). Rub with the rough side of a white sponge.

This is important.

If you use a color other than white, that color may spread to your couch. We don't want that. Plus, the white allows you to see all the gross coming off the fabric. I didn't have any problems with color fastness, but I would test a discrete area of your couch first, just in case.

Unused sponge next to a used one

After you've scrubbed (don't be afraid to scrub hard), allow the area to dry. Both pins I researched said to "fluff" the area with a white scrub brush once dry. I followed this step, but didn't find it strictly necessary on my couch.

I also used this same method to spot clean my cushions once they were dry.

*Note: I suggest opening your windows during this step. The stench was pretty unbearable for a while without any air flow. After about 30 minutes, the smell of rubbing alcohol was gone.

Step 5: Put your couch back together again! This might have taken the longest amount of time for me. While the cases for my pillows didn't shrink, they were quite difficult to put back on. If you want (and I did), you can fluff your bottom cushions by beating them with a wooden spoon before you put the cases back on.

This also relieves any suppressed aggression. Win win.

Here's what my couch looked like after it's spa day:

Much better, ja? It's hard to tell a major difference with pictures, but all of my small stains are gone and my pillows are closer to their original shape (especially the bottom cushions). Also, the dog smell has disappeared, though I'm sure my Lucy dog will be happy to take care of that. Here is a comparison photo for you:

Now that I see this works, I'll likely use these steps to keep my couch clean in the future. The spot cleaning will especially come in handy, as both Hubs and dog are known mess-makers. Plus, I can throw my cases/pillows in the wash whenever the mood strikes!

Have you tried this pin, or any others that you'd like to share? What was your experience?

I'm sure I'll have more Pinterest Tested soon. Until then, happy pinning, my friends!

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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