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Cleaning Micro Fiber Couches: Code S/W

by Felicia Williams

Cleaning a microfiber upholstered couch is a bit different than cleaning a couch with the older, standard type, upholstery fabrics. Not to reinvent the wheel here, but microfiber comes in various codes. If your couch has an S/W code, that means you can use water-based cleaners and solvent-based cleaners to remove stains and keep the couch clean.

Microfiber Sofa S/W

Water-Based vs. Solvent Based Cleaners

Water-based cleaners are just as they sound. They are a combination of water and a cleaning agent such as soap. Cleaning a microfiber couch with water-based cleaners could be as simple as using plain warm water or it could be water and a mild soap. For oily stains using a dishwashing liquid such as Dawn diluted in water may be all you need to remove the oil stain.

Solvent-based cleaners have ammonia, denatured alcohol or some other type of not so pleasant smelling chemical as the base for cleaning. Folks who work on cars are very familiar with solvent-based cleaners. They tend to be a bit harsher than water-based cleaners.

Which Cleaner to Use on Microfiber Couches

For mild stains, water-based cleaners can clean a microfiber couch just fine. For heavier stains, you may have to work a little harder using a water-based cleaner but it should be able to handle the job.

When using a solvent-based cleaner, make sure to have adequate airflow as they’re more toxic than using soap and water. This can be a special concern in households with young children or people with breathing conditions or are allergic to some of the chemicals found insolvent. The choice to use water off solvent depends on the type of stain and the press personal preference.

Testing the Cleaner

It is always wise to test the cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of the couch such as the back of the couch if it's against a wall. Try an area very close to the floor. You don't need to use a large area; no more than a square inch to test the solution. After applying and rubbing the solution on the test area, dab it dry with a clean cloth (as you would if you were cleaning the couch) and allow it to completely dry.

Once it’s completely dry you can see if the solvent is compatible with your couch.

Cleaning an S/W Coded Microfiber Couch

Now that you’ve tested the solution and have given it a thumbs up, it’s time to clean the couch.

remove debris
  • The first thing you should do is remove the surface dirt. With a light touch, you can brush the couch clean. Light touch means not forcing dirt further down into the fabric. If you tend to be heavy-handed, maybe you should vacuum the couch instead. This will suck up loose, hard to see debris. Don't skip this step. Sometimes you may not notice the surface dirt until you apply a liquid to it. Liquid + surface dirt = mud. You don't want that.
  • If you’re using a solvent-based cleaner, be sure to read the directions carefully before applying it to your couch. It’s best to use a white cloth to prevent the cloth colors from running onto and ruining your couch.
  • Apply the amount of cleaner needed to clean the stain. Apply pressure carefully until you feel confident that the amount of pressure you’re applying won’t ruin the couch. Some may recommend using a soft brush to assist in removing the stain. If you choose to use a soft brush on your microfiber couch, apply pressure gently (as with the cloth) until you’re confident you’re not ruining the couch. Depending on the stain, you may have to re-apply cleaner.
  • If you’re using a water-based solvent and it's not removing the stain to your liking and you wish to use a solvent instead, allow the area to dry completely before using the solvent. Do not mix a water-based cleaner and a solvent. While each may individually work fine on the microfiber, you don't know what type of chemical reaction mixing the water-based and the solvent-based cleaners can create.
  • Once your S/W microfiber couch is cleaned, dab it dry with a white cloth and allow the entire couch to dry before sitting on it.

Cleaning the Entire Microfiber Couch (S/W)

If your S/W couch needs more than just spot cleaning, the best way to clean it is to rent an upholstery cleaner from the local home improvement center. Follow the instructions on the home cleaning device and clean the microfiber couch.

Do not over-saturate the couch. The steam cleaners are efficient high-tech machines and do not need a lot of liquid to clean the microfiber couch.

Preventive Measures

If you're there when the spill happens, it’s best to clean the stain immediately.


Oil, or grease-based spots, can be cleaned with a mild soap, minimal amounts of water, and a clean white terry cloth towel. The soap will cut the grease spot, but if the spot gathers an excessive amount of water it will eventually penetrate the fabric. This means the slow evaporation of the water will create a water ring.

Be very careful to limit the amount of water if cleaning the spot in this manner. Try a small amount of both soap and water on the towel, but do not rub the fabric. Dabbing and pressing down on a towel should lift the stain.

Common home products for a quick-cleaning of grease spots, immediately after they occur, are household ammonia, 99% pure alcohol. These products all work fairly well in emergency situations. However, when you purchase your S/W coded microfiber couch, you should spend an additional $6 or so and buy a container of Guardsman AFTA Spot Cleaner. It works great on getting rid of oil-based stains from microfiber couches. Having it around the house will give you peace of mind. At least if you get a stain, you can get rid of it quickly.

As a last resort, if the spots on a microfiber couch simply will not disappear, a call to a reputable professional upholstery cleaner. If you’re not sure where to find a reputable professional, check with a local furniture store, or better yet, the store from where you purchased your couch. They should be able to recommend a qualified professional upholstery cleaner for your microfiber couch..

About the Author: Felicia Williams is a wife, mother and grandmother who likes to write about a host of topics.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: HouseholdTidbits.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Last Modified: 24 March 2020

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