How to wash upholstery? Specifically microfiber?

I’ve been wanting to share this for a few months now but, because of Christmas I haven’t gotten around to editing the photos and videos until now. I know it’s not an easy task to wash upholstery. I say wash because these article is exactly about that. I’ll be sharing how I deep cleaned my couches and was able to get out even the toughest stains with oxi clean.

Tiny bit of background ( just in case you’re wondering why they’re so disgusting 😬 )

We purchased our couches on craigslist a few years back and surprisingly they were in pretty good condition. They showed slight wear but not too bad. After a few years of using them and with one toddler in the house I’m not going to lie they got pretty nasty. Kind of embarrassed to even show the before photos. I washed the cushion covers about 5 times but, wasn’t able to clean the couch arms until recently. At this point they were still barely.

Than we had a salesman come by and advertise his handy vacuum and OH BOY!! The couch arms were at it’s worst! His vacuum wasn’t strong enough to pull the dirt out of the fabric so it literally brought it all to the top and left it hanging! Thus creating this beautiful dirt patina on our couch arms πŸ˜†πŸ™ˆ! I was pretty devastated at this point and finally decided to give it a deep clean.

Honestly I was a bit scared to touch the couch arms. I did some research a few years back and came across the rubbing alcohol method on cleaning microfiber😬. That was a complete flopπŸ˜‘ in fact I think it made my couch look even worse on the arms. Throwing something in the washer is much easier right? Wish someone invented something for couch washing LOL!

Proof the salesman’s vacuum sucked! You can even see the vacuum brush strokes. The suction just wasn’t strong enough to pull up the dirt. πŸ™ ! What a beauty ehh?! LOL πŸ˜…

*This post includes affiliate links. For more info visit my disclosure policy.

You can use these same instructions to wash upholstery that’s not microfiber as well 😊.

Supplies Needed

  • vinegar
  • dish soap + water
  • 2 – oxi clean max force ( You can get a set of three here – )
  • sponge
  • big microfiber towel
  • hard bristle hand brush
  • Little Green Bissell Vacuum ( You can get the one I have here – )

I’ve had this little bissell vacumm for years now and never realized I could use it to clean my couch😬. It’s around $100 and can be used on so many things. The suction is great! I spot clean my carpets and scrub the seats in my car all the time with it! It works amazing! Amazon agrees with meπŸ€“. Out of 18 k reviews this little vacumm it rated 4.5 stars. Not bad at all! ( sorry it’s currently out of stock )

Here’s another bissell high rated vacuum with 19k raving reviews


The left of the the vacuum fills with your soapy water and the right side collects all the dirt + water. I used about 1/4 cup of vinegar and a drop of dish soap per gallon of water to create my soapy water.  There are special detergents for this however since I was going to use oxi clean for the stain remover I pretty much just needed water to clean the oxi clean from the couch.


I decided to go with oxi clean after trying a few other stain removers. I know it’s not made to use specifically for cleaning couches. This just what I had on hand at the time and surprisingly oxi clean worked like magic! I was pretty impressed.

Here are the other stain removers I tried that didn’t work so well.


Here’s a close up to show you how the dirt was embedded into the couch. Honestly I had no hope for the areas where the piping was. There was so much dirt on them it had a sheen! YEH YUK! I know πŸ˜›! The downside to owning #microfiber couches.

wash upholstery

A Quick Video –

Let’s Wash upholstery!

Step 1 : Spray The Area Down and Scrub Scrub Scrub!

Okay so it’s pretty simple. Whatever area you want to clean spray it down with oxi clean and use a hard bristle brush to scrub the area. You can let the oxi clean soak in for 3-5 minutes before scrubbing this helps loosen up the dirt!

step one to wash upholstery

wash upholstery

Here’s how it looked after the first spray down and scrub (photo below).  I didn’t add any water. This is all oxi clean.  As you can see some areas were still pretty bad after the first treatment of spraying and scrubbing! At this point I was thinking OH shoot! Will this come off πŸ˜‚πŸ˜¬ !

TIP: When working with microfiber work in sections at a time. Do not get your whole couch wet as your fibers need to be smoothed out before it dries each time.

getting deep stains out- hot to wash upholstery

So I repeated that treatment again in the same area. Spraying down the area with more oxi clean and scrubbing again.  I let the oxi clean soak in for 5 minutes the second time around before scrubbing. Here’s the end result. ( photo below)  NOT BAD! Right? There’s hope πŸ™Œ!

AFter stains are remove when I wash upholstery

Step 2 : Cleanse !

You should be able to see if there’s any stains that need removing before the cleansing step. Stains show up pretty well if you have the stained area wet evenly. Just be sure not to wet your whole couch all at once when working with microfiber.

To remove all the oxi clean from the couch I used my bissell vacuum. Simply push on this knob ( photo below) and it’ll spray the soapy water.

wash ulphostery

Than suck up all the water by simply running the vacuum over the fabric. To top portion (photo below) is where suction happens while the bottom half has a brush and option to spray water.

Don’t push too hard as it leaves lines in the fabric afterwards when you wash your upholstery especially microfiber fabric. I pushed down about 1 inch into the fabric and sucked up all the water in the area I was working on. Repeat spraying and sucking up water until the water being sucked into the vacuum is clear.  I repeated these steps about 2 times in one area to get the water coming out clear.  This is all it would take to clean regular fabric. For microfiber follow the steps below.

wash upholstery

Step 3: Microfiber tip!

If you’re working with microfiber it’s important get sections evenly wet. Areas that aren’t wet might leave marks once dry. I used a wet sponge and rubbed it around to get the edges in each section wet. You’re pretty much creating a fade with the wet sponge.

wash ulphostery

how to wash upholstery

Step 4: Last Step For Microfiber!

The last thing you’ll need to do is rub all the microfiber fibers in one direction before that area dries.  If your area dries before you can do this you might have to get it wet again to move around the fibers for a more even look. I learned the hard way. This last step makes a huge difference if you want your couch looking like new again.

wash ulphostery

Here’s the before and after! Looks New to me!! Still can’t believe how great these couches look now. ( here’s a pin you can add to pinterest for later – photo below – CLICK ON PHOTO TO PIN )

wash upholstery

I hope you found this helpful if you’re looking to wash your own upholstery! Maybe it’ll give you an idea of where to get started! I love oxi clean it does an amazing job of getting those deep stains out.

That’s all for now! I’ll see you all next time.