How to Clean Your Polyester Couch and Best Care Tips

How to Clean Your Polyester Couch and Best Care Tips

Maintain a clean polyester couch all year long with this detailed guide. Learn how to spot treat stains and remove odors from your favorite sofa.

Did you know your polyester couch has a cleaning code? That’s right! It tells you the right material to use in maintaining clean and fresh-looking furniture. Not all polyester couches are created equal, apparently. And knowing this code is the first step in this brief and complete guide to cleaning your sofa.

We’ll teach you how to clean it in this step-by-step guide:

  1. Determine the cleaning code.
  2. Pre-clean preparations
  3. Clean, disinfect, and remove stains and pests
  4. Avoid ingredients that may damage the fabric
  5. Practice proper maintenance

Steps for How to Clean Your Polyester Couch

As a synthetic fabric, it has durable material that is easily cleaned. This makes it a great choice for people who live with pets. It’s also known to be weather resistant, making it a low maintenance type of furniture for an indoor or an outdoor setting.

Despite its durability, it can still get dirty and stained. Follow these steps below on how to clean your favorite sofa to keep it looking and smelling its best.

You will need:

  • Dry brush
  • Sponge
  • Laundry detergent or dish soap
  • Distilled vinegar (optional)
  • Hand-held vacuum cleaner
  • Microfiber cloth

1. Know the cleaning code of your polyester couch.

The first step in knowing how to clean is to check the cleaning code and cleaning symbols on the tag of your couch. This code will tell you what type of cleaning solution is safe to use on your couch.

  • W: Water-based cleaners only. This is the most common cleaning code for polyester couches. You can use a mild detergent and water solution to clean your couch.
  • S: Solvent-based cleaners only. This code is less common, but it may be necessary if your couch has a stubborn stain. Be sure to use a solvent cleaner that is specifically designed for upholstery.
  • SW: Water or solvent-based cleaners. This code means that you can use either type of cleaner on your couch.
  • X: Professional cleaning only. This code means that you should only have your couch cleaned by a professional.

2. Check for bugs and parasites.

How do you clean when your sofa is infested? Some of the usual bugs and parasites that may thrive in your furniture include dust mites, bed bugs, fleas, and moths. They may destroy the couch by feeding on the fabric and will also give you itching and skin rashes.

You may use a variety of methods like calling for professional help and steam cleaning. Make sure to use a steam cleaner with temperature controls as polyester fabric can melt under high temperatures of around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pro tip: Use a steam cleaner with temperature controls and use it for no more than 10 minutes at a time. Over-steaming the cause can cause damage to the fabric. 

3. Spot treat any stains.

How to clean your polyester couch with stains? While most polyester sofas are known to be stain resistant, some may still be stained depending on the quality of the material or the make. 

It’s always best to spot-treat any stains before cleaning the entire couch. Test the spot treatment solution in a small and unnoticeable area of the couch to make sure it doesn’t damage the fabric. Always blot any stains with a cloth or a paper towel. Do not rub the area or pat it too hard to avoid further spreading the stain.

You can use plant-based stain-fighting cleaners that are readily available on the market. Or use a solution that combines mild dish soap and mild acid like distilled vinegar to treat pet urine, pet poop stains, blood stains, and food stains. Mold stains may require an additional, stronger solution like diluted alcohol to make sure the root cause is treated. Once the spot is treated, let it dry and continue with the rest of the cleaning process.

Check how to best treat spot stains with the following guides on pet stain removal and beer stain removal.

Pro tip: Avoid stain marks by cleaning the spill right away so that it doesn’t set on the fabric.

4. Use a dry brush, then a hand-held vacuum to remove visible dirt.

Remove any items from the furniture so you easily reach all sides and corners. Use a dry brush to gently agitate the material and manually unbind dirt from the polyester. Then, use a hand-held vacuum to remove the loose dirt, hair strands, and pet dander.

5. Prepare the cleaning solution.

If you own a polyester couch with a W tag, you can prepare water and a few drops of mild detergent solution. If the couch is smelly, you can also add distilled white vinegar to the solution to help remove the bad odor.

You can put the solution in a spray bottle to make it easier to apply it to the fabric. Alternatively, you can use a small bowl where you can dip in a soft sponge.

If it has an S tag, use a solvent-based cleaner or a commercially available solvent that’s specifically formulated for polyester material.

6. Do a spot test on a small, hidden area of the couch.

Whether you are using a water-based cleaner + detergent combo or a solvent-based cleaner, make sure to spot test. Spot testing in a small, unnoticeable area of the couch will let you know any adverse reactions your cleaning agent will have on the polyester material.

How to clean your sofa by spot treating? Apply the solution to a small area. You can use a sponge or a soft-bristle scrub/brush to agitate it. Wait for a few minutes, then wipe it off with a microfiber cloth.

If there are no adverse effects, you may continue with the cleaning process for the rest of the couch.

7. Apply the solution and start wiping.

Spray or apply the solution on the fabric but do not drench the polyester couch. Then use a sponge to spread the solution with a wiping motion.

Make sure to gently scrub the material from all angles, including the harder-to-reach lines and stitches. You can also use a soft toothbrush to clean those edges properly. Try not to oversaturate the material or use too much solution that it drips.

If you are using a solvent cleaner for polyester, make sure to use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

8. Wipe off with a microfiber and let it air dry.

Lastly, you can use a clean, wet (but not damp) microfiber cloth to rinse off the solution from the couch. If the fabric still feels soapy, rinse the cloth and do another round of wiping until you’re satisfied with the results.

You can also use a disinfecting surface cleaner to deodorize and sanitize the furniture as a final step. Choose one that doesn’t have strong chemicals to effectively and safely disinfect your couch.

Let it air dry and you’re done!

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Your Polyester Couch

Polyester is popular for being durable, wrinkle-free, and easy-to-clean. However, it can be damaged by certain cleaning agents. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Ingredients That May Cause Discoloration

These are some ingredients that can be found at home or in home products which may cause discoloration on polyester fabric. They damage by weakening the polyester fabric, dissolving it, and causing the fabric to fade.

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Acetone
  • Alcohol
  • Gasoline

Ingredients That May Destroy Polyester

These ingredients below are known to dissolve and destroy polyester fabric due to their acidity and/or intensity as chemicals.

  • Hydrochloric acid/Muriatic acid
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Lye
  • Oven cleaner
  • Carpet cleaner

Chemical mixtures like phenol and trichloromethane may also irreversibly damage your sofa.

Cleaning Methods That May Cause Heating and Burning

There are cleaning methods that may cause more harm than good when dealing with polyesters.

  • Steam cleaning

Using steam cleaning will cause the polyester couch to melt.

  • Hot extraction cleaner

Using a hot extraction method can cause the fabric to shrink.

It is important to read the labels of all cleaning products before using them on a polyester couch. If you are unsure about whether a particular product is safe to use, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid using it.

How to Best Care For Your Polyester Couch

A polyester couch can benefit from proper maintenance. These are methods on how you can keep it clean and looking fresh all year long:

  • Vacuum regularly
  • This is the most important thing you can do to maintain your polyester couch. Vacuuming will remove dust, dirt, pet hair, and other debris that can build up on the fabric and cause it to fade or become stained.

  • Spot clean stains immediately
  • If you spill something on your sofa, it is important to spot clean it immediately. Blot up the stain with a clean, damp cloth. Do not rub, as this can spread the stain.

  • Avoid using harsh chemicals
  • Harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners can damage the fabric of your couch. If you need to use a cleaner, be sure to choose one that is specifically designed for use on polyester fabrics.

  • Professionally clean it once every 1-2 years
  • If you have a heavy-traffic couch or if it gets a lot of spills, it may need a visit from a professional for a deep clean every 1-2 years. This will help to remove any deep-seated dirt or stains that cannot be removed by regular cleaning.

    By following these tips, you can help keep your polyester couch looking its best for years to come.