Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cleaning Microfiber Furniture - It's Quite Easy

We bought the sofa in these pictures in the year 2000.  It was our first piece of microfiber furniture.  Microfiber is durable and very comfortable.  The sofa is very light in color and it did fine while it lived at our house.  No, it did not look like this when it lived at our house.

The sofa was given to our youngest son when he moved to Nashville about six  years ago and we purchased a new microfiber sectional.  Dan and Tyler loved this sofa and it is super comfortable.  My problem with it was I felt like the character Edith Ann that Lily Tomlin used to play when I sat on it.  I am only slightly over 5 feet tall and the sofa is so deep that my legs sort of stuck straight out when sitting on the couch.  That is why it went to live with Tyler and he was very happy to have it and I was glad it had a new home.  Dan was sad.

Tyler was about college age when he moved to Nashville and he lived with a bunch of guys.  Need I say more?  College guys?  Yeah, that.  They are not the neatest or tidiest people on the face of the earth.  He has had several room mates through the years, he has moved many times, and the sofa has had a lot of wear.  Actually, it is still in pretty good shape, it just had some gross spills on it and the cushions were a dirty from so much wear.  The arms of the couch were very dirty just from general use.

He recently moved in with a fellow who had furniture and he had things that needed a new place to live because he didn't want to pay for a storage unit.  Our best friends who moved here recently were in need of a sofa until they can buy one they want.  Aha!  Tyler had a sofa that needed a place to live and our BFF's needed a sofa.  It was a match made in heaven.  That is until I got a good look at it in bright light.  Oh my goodness.  It was in need of some real help.

I jumped on the world wide web and did some research about how to clean this sofa.  I discovered this information on Wikihow.

Check the sofa tag for care instructions. Microfiber furniture is typically labeled with one of four codes to indicate what can be used to clean it: W is for a water-based cleaning solvent, S is for a water-free solvent, S/W is for either, and X is for neither (i.e. vacuum-only).
  • If your sofa is labeled with an X, your work is done; resist the temptation to use any cleaning solutions, which can stain, spot, or shrink the fabric.

There are also several blogs that had information on how to clean microfiber sofas, most of which recommended clear alcohol, sponges, and a scrub brush.  I could not find the tag that Wikihow referred to, so I decided to go with rubbing alcohol because the poor sofa couldn't look much worse.  

Most sites recommended 99% rubbing alcohol if you can find it, or vodka or gin.  Some clear alcohol.  Tonya had 70% alcohol, so we used that.  It worked great.  The reason you want to use alcohol and not water it that alcohol dries quickly.  Water will cause rings and spotting if things get too wet.  We wanted no spots and no rings!

First, I vacuumed the entire sofa, removed the cushions and vacuumed under the cushions and in all the cracks and crevices.

I started with the worst stain which was on the lower front and side of the sofa as you can see in the picture above.  I don't know what it was - some kind of food spill.  (I really don't want to know.)  Using the spray bottle with nothing but rubbing alcohol in it, I sprayed the stains lightly, let it sit a minute and used a light colored dry sponge to begin rubbing the stain.  It really didn't take long at all and the stain began to come right off!  Hallelujah!  It's was a miracle.  

After the stains were removed, I used the small scrub brush to lift the nap on the fabric and it looked brand new!
The nap has highlights and shadows so don't think those are stains - they are completely gone.  I was amazed.  So, I worked on one end of the sofa and Tonya worked on the other.  It took us about 40 minutes to do the entire sofa and it looks really, really good for a 13 year old sofa that has been moved from pillar to post and had much wear and tear.  The room was full of moving boxes so I couldn't get back far enough to get a picture of the whole sofa, but you can see how nice it looks.
This is one of the arm cushions which was about 10 shades darker when we started.
It is back to it's original color.  Talk about a cheap cleaning solution!  We used 1 bottle of alcohol, 2 spray bottles, 2 sponges, and 1 scrub brush.  Everything but the alcohol came from the Dollar Tree, so that's $5.00 and alcohol is CHEAP at the drug store.  Less than $1.00 per bottle.  So, for about $6.00 and some elbow grease, we cleaned an entire sofa.  It looked great and smelled great.

I LOVE the world wide web for researching things like this.  What did we ever do before?  Oh, we had to go to the library and hope that  you could find the information you were looking for.  I remember now.  All I can say is YAY for technology!  It makes life so much easier.

Before you clean a piece of microfiber furniture, test an inconspicuous place to make sure the alcohol method will work for you.  If it does, have fun!  You will be happy with the results.

Everyday Donna

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