Cleaning sofas and other furniture does not need to be a difficult chore. With the proper tools and add-on accessories, tidying up spots and stains on upholstery can be done more effectively with steam cleaning.
In our review of the 5 best steam cleaners for furniture, we cover their features and operation with a critical eye.
Steam cleaners include canister and handheld spot-cleaning types that heat water to boiling temperatures and then channel the highly-pressurized steam through their nozzles.
These units can also be employed to clean slate, tiled, laminate floors, hardwood, and other hard-surfaced flooring. Steaming dissolves and lifts stains, which are then more readily wiped off with towels or microfiber pads. It is typically less expensive than other household cleaning methods and can be quite effective at what it does.
What to expect when steaming upholstery
Steaming is effective in cleaning many household fixtures with no need of suction or detergents. General-purpose models can be used to treat carpets and upholstered furniture.
But, not every steamer is capable of removing all traces of the worst carpet and furniture stains. Most are consistently good at handling hard flooring, along with shower areas, stoves, grills, and the interiors of appliances.
Be aware that steaming can damage certain materials more readily than others. Vapors that are hot enough to handle stains and grime are also hot enough to blemish certain fabrics, which it is why it is important to test first. Some steamers do not deliver the deepest possible cleaning as they many not apply sufficient suction and/or heat to the task.
Steam cleaning works well on certain hard-surfaced fixtures and fabrics, such as moldings, carpets and area rugs, mattress and box spring sets, headboard and floorboard surfaces, couches and other upholstered chairs, and generally any furniture with a cracked and seamed finish.
If a bed bug infestation has started, steam is fine for eradicating these pests. All models show below generated temperature levels that are lethal to 99% of all microbes and bugs.
Steam cleaning wicker furniture for excellent results
Wicker furniture is an extremely popular type of outdoor furniture. While it looks great, it tends to get very dirty. Normally about a ¼ cup of dish soap and two cups of water mixed together with a sponge and a light rinse will do the trick. You can always add some white vinegar if there’s mold or mildew on the furniture.
When wicker furniture is extremely dirty, a steam cleaner is in order. When steam cleaning, ensure the wicker furniture is allowed to thoroughly dry in a short period of time. Allowing the wicker to stay wet will damage the wicker and encourage mold. Steam cleaning is preferred as you should not use any type of brushes on wicker as you will permanently damage the finish.
What to look for in steam cleaners
The best steamers come in the form of canister-style designs along with many accessories that will enable you to tackle various jobs. Before you decide on the utility of these machines, first determine how your carpets and upholstered furniture are to be cleaned.
- Broader nozzles. A smaller spout would have to be passed over the same area more times, which can lead to tired users missing affected parts. A broader nozzle will see this happening less frequently.
- Well-designed accessories. Triangular and crevice attachments will let you reach and move around furniture edges with greater flexibility and ease.
- Steam temperatures and water content. Most units produce steam with temperatures approaching 200°F or more and pressure levels reaching 43-58 psi or higher. Much hotter 300°F ‘dry steam’ that contains less water content will enable you to move quickly over fragile surfaces while risking less moisture damage .
- Volume. Designs with larger-capacity boilers will normally keep more steam on hand, so that you can spend most of the time doing treatments instead of filling up the boiler.
- Cost. Professional-grade steamers are generally more economical to use over the years and will feature longer warranties, but can be far more expensive.
To maintain upholstery well, you should routinely vacuum so as to stop dirt and dust from gathering and wearing off the fabrics. It is also a smart idea to turn over and fluff pillow and other cushions, to distribute wear more evenly while increasing longevity.
The majority of upholstered furniture are tagged with codes labeled S,W,SW, and X, which indicate how their fabrics are handled in terms of cleaning with solvents. Carpets generally do not have such labels, but many area rugs include an instructional tag on its underside.
Our Top 5 Best Steam Cleaners for Furniture
This big canister-style steamer is a prime candidate for those who maintain larger properties, for it is able to tackle even the biggest steam cleaning tasks. It can be wheeled wherever it is needed and you can reach every corner with use of its extra-long extension tubes, hoses, and power cords.
A broad range of practical accessories are included, such as angled and regular nozzles, 2 extension tubes, triangular brush and big brush, 2 round brushes and 2 scrub pads, brass and nylon utility brushes, mop and bristle add-ons, microfiber and scrub pads, squeegee, scraper, filling cup, a storage case and net.
Around 12 minutes after it is turned on, the unit produces loads of heavily-pressurized vapors. Output temperatures rise above 200°F, which is higher than the steam produced by the majority of multi-purpose designs. With almost 2 hours of steam on hand, the grip can get warm in long use.
The corner brush and steam mop head attachment were particularly useful for handling stains on upholstered furniture and car interiors. The boiler was also a bit cumbersome to fill and a funnel would have been helpful in avoiding spills.
The McCulloch MC1385 supplies big loads of steaming action and many helpful add-ons. This nicely-designed steamer is our choice for making quick work of even the largest jobs.
This low-profile steam cleaner generates streams of highly-pressurized steam that will loosen much of the nasty stuff embedded in tiled bathrooms.
Its wheeled base is about 16 lbs. in weight and can be rolled to almost any room. The easy-to-use steam trigger is convenient, but there is no indicator of remaining water volume. Once empty, the unit thermally safely resets by shutting off at unexpected times.
The selection of 8 accessories includes a nozzle and two extension tubes, steam plate and mop add-ons, floor brush, squeegee, fill funnel and cup. The long hose extension helps to cover wider areas, but there are few dedicated tools for handling upholstery.
The unit produces steam for a little less than an hour, which can be lengthened to some extent via careful control. The boiler has to be replenished more frequently than those of bigger steamers.
The Wagner 915 could use a water level monitor, but it remains useful for cleaning grimy hard-surfaced flooring and less so for handling stained upholstery.
This low-profile steamer is about 11 lbs. in weight and can handle a variety of household tasks, owing to its decent build, flexible features, and practical accessories. The base is easier to move about than a bigger-bodied canister unit and is sufficiently trim that it can be wheeled to any room.
Steam can be variably adjusted without the need to constantly press the trigger. The 34-ounce boiler is smaller than average for a canister design, but does supply some 30-40 minutes of continuous steam.
In the package is a useful selection of well-designed accessories, including rectangular and corner mop add-ons, nozzle and connector, 2 extension tubes, microfiber pad, 2 nylon brushes, small brass brush, window tool, and funnel.
This model needs only about 8 minutes to generate steam at high pressures, which is quicker than larger units. The boiler’s contents are subject to 4 times atmospheric pressure, increasing the water boiling point even as the higher-density heating element superheats ‘dry-vapor’ steam to a very hot 303˚F.
Low-moisture steam is safer for cleansing wooden and laminate furniture and flooring than the wetter streams generated by less sophisticated designs. The corner tool with the microfiber pad was particularly good for rubbing away fabric stains until they faded out in a few minutes.
The very high heat also kills off lurking bed bugs faster. A bigger tank would have allowed for longer continuous steaming between refills, although it is easy enough to replenish the boiler. This model’s performance at cleaning furniture more than makes up for the lesser capacity.
The Dupray HOME Steam Cleaner is a great ‘dry steam’ cleaner that is most efficient and flexible at cleaning upholstery and other household items. It is our pick for the best steam cleaner for furniture.
This low-profile canister is of robust construction and is just over 15 lbs. in weight, it is easily rolled around the house. You will only have to fill its 48-ounce boiler, switch on the unit, then depress the steam switch to gain almost an hour of steaming.
The 12-foot long power cord may not allow for enough reach in roomier spaces, however. The set of 17 accessories includes a nozzle, extension tube, mop add-on, medium corner brush, short and long nylon brushes, brass utility brush, and scrub pad.
The steamer generates vapor temperatures of some 200˚F, which can displace stains on furniture fabric as well as dissolve gunk on tiled floors. Steam is produced in 8 minutes once the tank has been replenished and the heating element turned on. The corner brush was particularly good for handling stained upholstery along the edges.
The small water volume should be enough for most steam cleaning tasks. The boiler holds about 45 ounces, allowing for nearly an hour of continuous steam with careful usage. Users will have to wait some as the unit cools before the tank can be refilled, after which they will have to wait some more for water to come to a boil.
The Steamfast SF-275 is a capable steam cleaner that will let you tackle most fabric stains and clean up kitchens and batch floors as well.
This sturdy handheld steamer may weight under 4 lbs. but it is simple in use. You will only need to replenish the tank then flip the switch to begin generating steam. The lightweight unit is handy and convenient for working on furniture. Everything can be readily stored in a closet between jobs.
Accessories include a nozzle and hose plus connector and adapter, mop add-on, a set of large and medium nylon brushes in addition to a straight brush and grout brush, 2 sizes of brass and stainless-steel brushes, plus squeegee. Also supplied are 3 cotton covers, measuring and filling cups, carrying bag, and accessory case.
This compact but efficient unit produces highly-pressurized vapor at 43 PSI with a temperature of no less than 200°F. Steaming starts just a few minutes after the boiler has been replenished and turned on.
The issue is that its tiny tank is good for producing only 10 minutes of steam at time. Homeowners will have to wait for the unit to cool down sufficiently between uses before it can be safely handled, then wait some more as the steamer produces another batch.
Vapamore’s MR-75 handheld steam cleaner is more suited for the upkeep of smaller homes. It can perform well on upholstery, but its limited boiler capacity will be problematic for larger jobs.
The steamers we reviewed here are mostly fine for spot-treating upholstered furniture as well as bare car interiors. If you have to renew an abused old lounger or refresh antique rugs to like-new condition, you will have to consider hiring professional contractors.
Dupray’s HOME steam cleaner supplies very effective dry steam and well-designed accessories that will let you finish any job with confidence. Users will have to be careful when applying its super heated output, but the low-moisture operation compels us to name it as the top pick among the 5 best steam cleaners for furniture.
McCulloch’s MC1385 offers greater boiler capacity and extended operation without conceding the high heat and pressure that’s needed for tackling tougher stains. This powerful steam cleaner is our pick for steam cleaning large lots of furniture and fabrics.
Last update on 2019-02-20 at 00:23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API