The Upholstery Steam Cleaner

The Upholstery Steam Cleaner

This is our guide to the upholstery steam cleaner and will explain why you should choose steam upholstery cleaners over other methods of cleaning.  We will also look at how to steam clean upholstery and suggest some of our highest ranking steam machines.

When thinking about steam cleaning we usually think about steaming carpets but a steam cleaner cleans upholstery just like it does carpets;  the steam deeply penetrates through the layers of foam, fiber and fabric.

Since most carpet cleaners are great upholstery cleaners we will not be doing a carpet and upholstery steam cleaner comparison. The difference from cleaning carpets is that you will want to look at portable steam cleaner upholstery machines.  

Why clean upholstery?

Cleaning your upholstery is necessary especially if you want the fabric to last, keep your home (or car) clean and are dealing with pet or children’s messes. A little bit of caring with a upholstery steam cleaner goes a long way and is definitely worth the effort.


There are many places where we have to take care of upholstery;  in our cars, furniture, draperies and even window dressings.  Furniture steam cleaning should be done regularly as dust and dirt tends to settle on your furniture which can cause damage over time if not cleaned.

Why use
steam upholstery cleaners?

Dirty Upholstery

The answer is very simple;  steam is extremely versatile and will clean basically any kind of surface.  A upholstery steam cleaner will help you to not only get rid of tough stains and deep clean but will also sanitize your upholstery because steam will kill 99% of bacteria and germs very effectively.

How to clean upholstery

Your first step should definitely be to use a vacuum cleaner to regularly clean the accumulated dust off of your furniture. Many vacuums come with a crevice tool or upholstery nozzle which you can use to clean all the nooks and crannies in your couch. However, do note that vacuuming isn’t completely effective when cleaning and that the dirt may even go deeper into your couch.

So what can you do?

You can use an furniture steam cleaner to steam  clean furniture. This effectively cleans all those embedded stains and dirt out of your couch and automobile interior.

It is important to treat stains first.  Let’s take a quick look at easy ways to take care of stain with ingredients you are likely to have at hand:

  • To get rid of a stain, use 3% hydrogen peroxide. Simply dab some of it onto the stain until the stain disappears.
  • Another method to clean that stubborn stain is to use soda water and white vinegar. This works especially well and can also be used on carpet stains.
  • Use whipped detergent or shampoo cleaner on your upholstery. Simply scrub and rinse. However, I am personally not a fan of this method as some cleaning solution dries and remains embedded in your furniture.
  • Visit our Cleaning Solutions page for more detailed information on other cleaning solutions you can use.

The above methods are fast and offer an adequate enough surface clean whereas a steam upholstery cleaner can offer a much deeper and more thorough cleaning.

One precaution to take before deciding to steam any upholstered item is to check the material and manufacturers cleaning instructions. If this is not clear, do a test using the fabric steamer on a small obscure part of your couch. If there are no ill effects, then it is safe to steam clean.

Cleaning upholstery

How To Steam Clean Upholstery

So how do you go about using an upholstery steam cleaner on your furniture?

After you’ve tested to see if upholstery can be steam cleaned and know that you can safely steam the couch or vehicle interior, follow the following instructions:

1. Remove scatter cushions or any other objects around the couch or area. You will also want to quickly vacuum to get rid of any surface dirt and dust.

2. Identify the stains and use a stain treatment on them. Clean the stains first by using a good stain remover.

3. Get your steam cleaner ready by filling it with water.  Allow it to heat properly until the steam ready indicator light turns on.

4. Once it is ready, methodically and slowly run the steam cleaner along the couch in a straight line. Then, according to the steam cleaner you’re using, run the vacuum attachment slowly along the same line to suction out the dirty water.

5. Repeat this, one section at a time until the entire piece of furniture is cleaned. Make sure to vacuum out as much water as possible.

6. After, use fans to completely dry your furniture.

Upholstery Steamers To Consider:

I’m a big fan of the McCulloch steam machines and my first recommendation is therefore the McCulloch MC1275.

Mcculloch MC-1275

At around $126 it is great value for money as it is a multi purpose heavy duty steam cleaner of exceptional quality.

The Bissell Steam Shot Hard-Surface Cleaner, a handy handheld steamer cleaner is perfect for cleaning upholstery as it has an upholstery attachment as well as a corner attachment and an upholstery brush.

Although it only steams for 20 minutes on a tank it only takes a minute to re-heat after refilling it with water and you can get back to steam cleaning in very little time.

Bissell Steam Shot Hard-Surface Cleaner, 39N7A/39N71

Although the Bissell SpotBot ProHeat isn’t strictly a steam cleaner it is great for cleaning upholstery and carpets.

It is lightweight and easy to carry around. The power cord is 22 ft long and the hose is 5 ft long ensuring that you will be able to reach usually difficult to reach areas with ease.

The water tank is large and can be removed for easy refilling and cleaning.

The suction power is very impressive and it will do a very good job at suctioning the dirt away and cutting the drying time dramatically down.

Bissell SpotBot ProHeat
BISSELL PowerSteamer PowerBrush Full Sized Carpet Cleaner, 1623

The Bissell PowerSteamer PowerBrush 1623 is a full sized carpet cleaner (not a steamer) that is excellent at cleaning upholstery. If you are looking for a carpet cleaner that does very well with upholstery cleaning this is the machine to pick.

What about commercial upholstery steam cleaners?

Reliable Brio 250CC Steam Cleaner

The Reliable Brio 250CC Steam Cleaner is a Vapor Steamer that emits dry steam that is even hotter than regular steam ensuring that upholstery will dry much faster.

It is a multi purpose steam cleaner and will provide a professional deep clean for those of us who is serious about sanitation.

Read more about Vapor Steam cleaners here.

Ladybug 2200S

The ladybug is a real powerhouse and is a dry vapor steamer. Its’ steam is hotter than regular steam ensuring true sanitation. You can’t go cleaner than this!

It is a continuous fill machine meaning that you can just keep on filling it with water as you steam saving a lot of time.

This cute looking machine is the best of the best and although it is not cheap it is worth it.

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