If you ever cleaned with a microfiber cloth, you can appreciate its ability to pick up dirt, but that ability can be a bad thing on a couch. Microfibers are 100 times thinner than a human hair -- they can be packed in far greater density than conventional fibers, creating more surface area for dust particles to reside. Physical forces of attraction -- called van der Waals forces -- become important at such microscopic levels; a microfiber couch is literally a dirt magnet. Despite this disadvantage, keeping your couch clean isn't that difficult.
Check the Label
Before you do anything, check the label on your couch to determine which cleaners are safe to use.
- W stands for water. Use a water-based cleaner.
- S stands for solvent. Avoid water. Use a solvent-based cleaner.
- S-W means you can use either a water- or solvent-based cleaner.
- X means use neither water or solvents. Vacuum only.
Start by vacuuming the couch. This is safe for any couch, no matter what the label says, and you need to remove as much loose dirt as possible before you clean with water or a solvent. Use the vacuum upholstery attachment to loosen dirt as you're vacuuming.
Mix a few drops of dish detergent or a spoonful of laundry detergent in a gallon of cold water.
Dip a rag in the water, wring it out and use the cloth to rub out any dirt you see in the fiber.
Dry any part of the couch you wash with a hair dryer on its lowest setting. Never let water stand on the fiber.
Vacuum again when the fabric is dry.
Sprinkle a small amount of laundry detergent on soiled parts of the couch.
Brush the detergent gently into the fabric, using a soft-bristle brush.
Vacuum the detergent off.
Things to Avoid
- Bleach can discolor the fabric, and it breaks down the microfiber filaments.
- Acetone is a solvent that dissolves the plastics from which most microfibers are manufactured. Most nail polish removers contain acetone.
- High heat can melt the fibers.