The holidays are about togetherness and for some reason, you are thinking of making a fresh impression on your family and friends this year, and that includes making your decoration and furniture stand out. Wait! Before you head out to the market in search of new couch covers, why not give that old suede couch a face-lift?
At Goodsworth.com, we are not just about what you buy or buying the right products, we are also concerned about product maintenance. And this why we bring you tips and tricks frequently so that you do not continue to break the bank, instead you have a maintenance culture that makes you save more.
That said, let’s get back to the business of the day. A lot of times we get questions on how to clean couch, particularly couches with suede covers. Well, we heard you and here you go.
A couch is one of the most used—and abused—pieces of furniture in our homes. It is a playground, snack site, and bed that is subjected to all the spills and stains created by humans and pets. One of the most coveted coverings for a sofa is the soft, supple nature of natural suede and the less-expensive man-made microfiber suede (micro-suede).
Micro-suede and suede couches add a luxurious look to any living room. Without regular cleaning, though, these lush fabrics can start looking dingy. Since stains set quickly in both suede and micro-suede fibers, the first step to maintaining these fabrics’ original luster is to take care of stains immediately – before they set in. Beyond that, proper routine maintenance should keep your couch looking great for years to come.
How Often to Clean a Suede Couch
No matter which type of suede is covering your couch, it will eventually need to be cleaned. Spills and stains should be treated promptly and both types of suede should be vacuumed at least monthly to remove dust and loose soil. A thorough cleaning twice a year will keep them looking great.
Before You Begin
If you are not sure whether you have a natural suede couch made from brushed animal hide or a microfiber suede couch, it is vital to make that determination before you begin cleaning.
Natural suede is animal leather that has a napped or fuzzy finish. It is a thin, porous dyed or undyed leather and you can see the variations in the hide grain.
Micro-suede is created from polyester and nylon fibers that are woven and cut to mimic the soft, plush feel of natural suede. Thanks to the tightly woven fibers, microfiber suede is more resistant to dust, dirt, and stains than natural suede.
If you cannot determine which type of suede you have, look for the attached care tag that is required for all furniture sold in the United States. This will guide you on how to clean your suede.
Code W: The fabric can be cleaned with water-based cleaning solvents.
Code S: The fabric requires the use of a dry cleaning or water-free solvent to remove stains and soils. The use of these chemicals requires a well-ventilated room and no open flames like fireplaces or candles.
Code W-S: The fabric can be cleaned with either water-based or solvent-based products.
Code X: When you see the “X” avoid any type of cleaning agent. These fabrics should only be cleaned by vacuuming or by a professional. Any type of home cleaning product can cause staining and shrinking.
Protecting and Maintaining Your Suede: 10 Quick Methods
Here are 10 methods to maintain your upholstery in a top shape without much effort.
1. Use a Safe Protective Spray
Although not entirely foolproof, treating your couch with a protective spray will help prevent spills from becoming permanent stains.
Some protective sprays are water based while others are a synthetic solvent. Consult your owner’s manual to see what type of cleaners are safe for your couch.
Please be aware that if the couch is brand-new that applying fabric/upholstery protector may void the warranty.
2. Work in an Extremely-Well Ventilated Area
Fumes emitted from the aerosol spray can be harmful in many ways and should always be avoided as much as possible. Be sure to open all windows and use as many fans as available. Painter’s ventilator-masks can also be used.
3. Begin Working One Section at a Time
Allow fresh air to fill the room before moving on. This will keep the over-spray to a minimum and allow you to breathe easier.
Be sure to keep the can approximately 8 to 12 in (20 to 30 cm) away from the area being sprayed. Closer may result in the solution running, while too far away will result in an uneven coat.
Sweep, do not point, the spray can smoothly. If sweeping from left-to-right, begin spraying about 6 in (15 cm) to the left of couch, and stop spraying 6 in (15 cm) after you have passed the right edge.
4. Work Your Way Through Each Section of the Couch
Keep going until you have applied a full-coat to the couch. You will need to apply 2 to 3 coats of fabric/upholstery protector for it to work properly.
5. Allow at least 12-hours for the solution to dry.
Don’t sit on the couch or place things on it during this time.
6. Removing Wet Stains
If there is a food or beverage spill on your suede couch, the faster you act the better. This is because suede is extra sensitive to moisture and liquid can damage this luxurious upholstery. Blot the spot gently to extract as much of the stain and moist as possible. If there is some residue left blot the area using slightly damp cloth. Apply spot treatment product according to the instructions on the package. Leave it like this for a few minutes then use a clean damp cloth to rinse the area. Use your hair dryer to dry the spot. In some cases, there won’t be a need to use a stain-cleaning product if you blot the stain right after it occurred.
7. Dealing with Old Stains
If you have to remove an old stain you can use this simple trick: rub gently the area using pencil eraser. There are also specialised erasers for suede, but the ordinary one can do the job too. After “erasing” the stain, brush off the spot using soft brush. This will remove the excess dirt. However, in some cases you might need to call professional sofa cleaner to deal with some kind of stubborn stains – like ink, or crayon.
8. Freshening Up Suede Upholstery
If your sofa is looking scruffy you can fresh up the suede really easy. Wipe the surface with slightly damp cloth to clean up dirt and dust, without getting the upholstery wet. Professional sofa cleaners never use water to clean water sensitive materials like suede. Instead, they have a dry cleaning procedure because shampooing and steam cleaning can damage this luxurious upholstery.
9. Brushing a Suede Sofa
Suede upholstery has to be brushed in order to keep its gorgeous look. After cleaning spills and removing stains let the area dry completely. Then brush the suede upholstery with soft suede brush. The best way is to brush the suede with gentle circular motions. Apply a bit more pressure on the area, where you removed spots and stains on your upholstery. If you have a pet, brushing is a must and you have to do it on regular basis to collect pet hair.
10. Stain removal Products for Suede Sofa
There are many brands of specialised suede cleaners available. However before applying any of them test the product on a small inconspicuous area first. Wait about 15-20 minutes to be sure the particular cleaner won’t damage the upholstery. Follow strictly cleaning instructions of the product. If you don’t have suede stain cleaner at hand white distilled vinegar diluted in water is a great substitute. Again – test in a small hidden area, before cleaning visible parts of the upholstered furniture, because it is natural, but strong cleaner and there are certain things you can’t clean with vinegar. No matter what kind of product you use always blot the area dry after removing a stain.
These weekly or monthly cleaning methods allows you to clean your suede impeccably.
What You’ll Need
- Vacuum with crevice and upholstery attachment
- Suede brush
- Spray bottle
- Scrub brush with soft nylon bristles
- Microfiber cloth
- Baby powder or cornstarch
- Commercial glue remover (like Goo Gone)
- Dishwashing liquid
- Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
- Vacuum Away Loose Soil
Weekly vacuuming will remove dust and soil that can damage the suede. Use the upholstery brush attachment and the crevice tool to reach every surface.
- Treat Stains
Spills and stains should be treated immediately following the recommended guidelines. Cornstarch is an excellent oil absorber, commercial glue removers can take care of sticky residue, and damp spills should be blotted and allowed to slowly dry. A suede brush will help restore the finish after stain removal.
- Call a Professional
When the couch needs a thorough cleaning, it’s time to call a professional upholstery cleaner. They have been trained on how to clean natural suede to prevent watermarks and shrinkage.
Cleaning a Microfiber Suede Couch
Due to manufacturing differences, some microfiber couches can be cleaned with water-based cleaners while others require a solvent-based cleaner. Couches with a W or W-S care tag can be cleaned with soap and water. Water will stain the couches with a S care tag so they must be cleaned with rubbing alcohol.
Both types of microfiber suede should be vacuumed weekly to remove loose soil, have stains treated promptly, and thoroughly cleaned at least twice a year.
Cleaning with Soap and Water
- Get Rid of Loose Soil
Use a vacuum with an upholstery attachment to remove any loose soil on the surface of the microfiber.
- Create the Cleaning Solutions
Add four cups of warm water in a bucket or large bowl. Add one-fourth cup dishwashing liquid. Use a whisk or handheld mixer to create lots of soapy suds. Fill a second bucket with plain water.
- Scrub with Suds
Dip a scrub brush in just the soap suds (not the water). Start at the top of a cushion or the couch back or arms to prevent dripping dirty suds onto already cleaned areas. Evenly spread the suds and scrub well.
Rinse the brush frequently in clean water and make sure it is as dry as possible as you repeat the steps with fresh soap suds. Work on only one small area at a time.
- Rinse Away the Suds
Once an area has been cleaned, dampen a microfiber cleaning cloth with plain water and wipe away the suds. Move to the next area and repeat the suds, scrub, and rinse steps.
- Air-Dry and Vacuum
Allow the fabric to air-dry completely. Use a vacuum upholstery brush to fluff the fibers.
Cleaning with Isopropyl Alcohol
- Vacuum and Prepare Alcohol
Thoroughly vacuum the couch to remove loose soil. Pour the isopropyl alcohol into a spray bottle. Fill a small bucket with cool water.
- Spritz and Scrub
Starting at the top of a cushion or section, lightly spritz the fabric with the alcohol. While the fabric is still damp (the alcohol will evaporate quickly) scrub the fabric with a sponge.
Rinse the sponge out in plain water frequently. Wring well to prevent over saturating the fabric with water.
- Dry and Vacuum Again
Allow the couch to air-dry. When it is dry, vacuum with an upholstery brush to lift any matted fibers.