Whether you have kids or pets, or sometimes eat dinner while watching TV, your couch can see a lot of wear and tear — but the right steam cleaner can keep your sofa looking brand new. Available in handheld, full-size, and convertible options, the best steam cleaners for couches use high-temperature water vapor to clean upholstery and remove stains, and they come with attachments that let you use them on multiple other surfaces throughout your home.
How Steam Cleaners Work
The key components to any steam cleaner include a reservoir and an internal boiler that heats water in order to produce a low-moisture vapor that softens stuck-on stains and messes, but won’t leave fabric overly damp. For the best results with a sofa, run a vacuum over the surface first to remove any debris, then slowly pass the steam cleaner over the targeted area. If you have especially stubborn stains or spills to clean, you may need to agitate the area with a brush or a cloth before wiping it away, and most steam cleaners come with accessories to help with this.
What To Consider When Shopping For Steam Cleaners For Couches
Much like vacuums, the best upholstery cleaners for sofas come in a range of styles, and your choice will partially depend on how much versatility you want. While most options can take on a variety of surfaces besides couches, if you want something that can also clean floors, an upright or canister model will be your best bet.
Of the two, a canister cleaner will generally have a longer run time, thanks to its larger tank, but keep in mind that the two-piece construction can be somewhat cumbersome. An upright model, on the other hand, may be easier to maneuver and can usually be detached into two pieces, which means you can use it as a portable upholstery cleaner for your sofa — but note that the run time will be shorter, as you’ll have to refill the smaller water reservoir. If, however, you don’t care about steam cleaning your floors, you can get away with a simple handheld machine that’ll ring up at a lower price point.
You’ll also want to check out the included accessories. Microfiber cloths (a must for cleaning upholstery), brushes, crevice tools, and squeegees make your steam cleaner a versatile tool for tackling every corner of your living space, including the kitchen, bathroom, windows, and other sealed surfaces.
The length of time your steam cleaner will run is based on the volume of the water tank and the flow rate. Some steam cleaners have adjustable output levels, so expect a shorter run time if you’re using it on the maximum output. If you plan to clean multiple back-to-back areas of your home, opt for a model that will let you do this without refilling the tank for maximum efficiency.
The time it takes for a cleaner to heat up varies, with some models boasting super fast heat-up times of under 10 seconds and other heavy-duty machines that can take up to 10 minutes. Think about whether you want to clean on-demand when messes happen, or if you prefer to schedule cleanings and don’t mind the extra wait time.
No matter what state your couch is in, there’s a steam cleaner to help keep it looking great for years to come — and it’s much cheaper than professional sofa cleaning. With all that, here are five of the best steam cleaners for couches.
Shop The Best Steam Cleaners For Couches
In a hurry? These are the best steam cleaners for couches:
- The Overall Best: Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner
- The Runner-Up: Bissell PowerFresh Lift-Off Pet Steam Mop
- The Best Budget Pick: PurSteam 10-in-1 Steam Mop Cleaner
- The Best Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner: McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
- The Best Handheld Steam Cleaner: MOSCHE Handheld Pressurized Steam Cleaner
1. The Overall Best
- Fast heat-up time
- Long run time
- 17 accessories
- Only 1 steam setting
- Canister design can be cumbersome
Dupray’s steam cleaner comes with a 6.5-foot steam hose and 17-piece accessory kit that includes a triangular cleaning tool and microfiber cloth that are designed for use on upholstery. You’ll also get six brushes and tools for cleaning floors, windows, grout, and other surfaces. The machine itself has a sleek, compact cube design that’s easy to store, and a retractable handle that converts into a rolling canister for easy transport around your home — but note that the two-piece design takes a bit more maneuvering than a simple upright model. The cleaner heats water up in as little as seven seconds (you can use plain tap water), and the 54-ounce tank will run for an impressive 50 minutes on one fill.
According to a reviewer: “This machine is fantastic. I bought it to steam clean my sofa, oven, and floors. It did a wonderful job freshing the fibers on the sofa, as well as removing pet odors. I used the brass scrubbing tool to get rid of greasy spills in the oven. It cleaned my hardwood and tile floors like a dream. I worked for an hour, and there was still water left in the tank. It has a long cord, and it is easy to move the tank around. I’m very pleased with this machine.”
Weight: 9 pounds | Cleaning time per fill: up to 50 minutes | Power cord length: 16.5 feet | Number of accessories: 17
2. The Runner-Up
- Upright design converts into a handheld steamer
- 2 steam settings
- Longest power cord
- Shorter run time than the first pick
Bissell’s PowerFresh Lift-Off Pet Steam Mop converts seamlessly between an upright and handheld steamer and has a 25-foot power cord that gives you the freedom to clean far from outlets. Suitable for use on floors, upholstery, and bathroom and kitchen surfaces, the cleaner comes with 13 attachments and accessories, including scrubby and soft pads, a window squeegee, a grout tool, a fabric steamer, and an extension hose. The Bissell heats up within 30 seconds, and it will run for 10 to 25 minutes (depending on which of the two settings you use), which is significantly shorter than the first pick. The manufacturer recommends using distilled or filtered water for the best results.
According to a reviewer: “Got this as a Christmas gift and I absolutely love it!! Super easy to use and disinfects everything! I have steam cleaned my couch and granite countertops so far. Also jacuzzi jets and bathroom sink were easy to clean with this little gem.”
Weight: 10 pounds | Cleaning time per fill: 10 to 25 minutes, depending on steam setting (according to reviewers) | Power cord length: 25 feet | Number of accessories: 13
3. The Best Budget Pick
- Upright design converts into a handheld steamer
- 3 steam settings
- Short run time
Weighing an ultra-light 2.2 pounds, this steam mop from PurSteam can be used as an upright machine to clean floors, but converts easily into a handheld steamer for smaller cleaning jobs and use on your couch. It takes 30 seconds to heat up and has three setting to customize the steam output for your desired surface (that means you can use lower settings for delicate surfaces like hardwood).
The PurSteam has a shorter run time than some other steam cleaners on the list (12 to 25 minutes, depending on the steam setting), so if you have a large area to clean, it may be necessary to fill the small 12.8-ounce water reservoir multiple times. It comes with nine attachments, including two machine-washable steaming pads, several brush nozzle attachments, and a window squeegee. The steamer’s handle folds down for easy storage in between uses. Conveniently, it can be used with plain tap water.
According to a reviewer: “I have off white couches and struggle to keep them clean. (Kids, dogs and humans) Used the steam with brush and with ease my couch is super clean. I love this for my floors too. It is purely perfect.”
Weight: 2.2 pounds | Cleaning time per fill: 12 to 25 minutes, depending on setting | Power cord length: 15.9 feet | Number of accessories: 9
4. The Best Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
- Can be used for either continuous cleaning or spot cleaning
- Long run time
- Heavy and may be bulky to store
- Slow heat-up time
Some cleaning jobs require a bit more brawn, and this heavy-duty steam cleaner from McCulloch is a champ when it comes to eliminating stains, grime, and germs from upholstered furniture, flooring, appliances, and bathroom and kitchen surfaces. Weighing 12 pounds (which is on the heavier side), the canister-style steamer has a 48-ounce water tank that heats up in eight minutes (the manufacturer suggests using distilled water).
For versatility, the wand has a trigger that allows you to activate steam as needed for spot cleaning, but you can also lock it in place for continuous steaming for up to 45 minutes. This pick features a 15.7 foot power cord and a long 9-foot steam hose for flexibility when cleaning, and it also comes with 18 versatile accessories, including machine-washable microfiber pads, a mop head, squeegee, and several brush attachments.
According to a reviewer: “I bought this to clean my couch and mattress - the areas I can't wash. When I pulled the book out and read through all the stuff I can actually clean with this thing - I got so excited I cannot even explain it. My couch is the cleanest it's been, my mattress are germ free and I've moved on to the carpet. I can't wait to try it on other things with the other attachments!!”
Weight: 12 pounds | Cleaning time per fill: up to 45 minutes | Power cord length: 15.7 feet | Number of accessories: 18
5. The Best Handheld Steam Cleaner
- Lightweight, space-saving design
- Limited run time due to small tank size
- Can’t be used on floors
If you’re not in the market for a steam cleaner that can tackle flooring as well as couches, this highly portable handheld upholstery cleaner is a great pick. The 11.8-ounce tank heats up within five minutes and provides steam for eight to 12 minutes on one fill of distilled water. It comes with 11 accessories, including a window squeegee, bent nozzle, fabric steamer, and several brushes, so you can tackle multiple surfaces, even if you have to forego using it on floors.
Keep in mind that the 9.8-foot power cord is on the short side, so it may pose a problem if your couch isn’t near an outlet. It’s also worth noting that this option has a lower overall rating on Amazon compared to others on the list — but multiple reviewers reported being pleased with its performance on couches.
According to a reviewer: “I love this product. I have two dogs so they tend to drool and leave stains on my couch. I steam cleaned it with the product and all the stains were gone. It is easy to use as well as easy to assemble.”
Weight: 4 pounds | Cleaning time per fill: 8 to 12 minutes | Power cord length: 9.8 feet | Number of accessories: 11