In today’s guide, we are going to help you pick the best steam cleaner for upholstery.
Steam has a reputation of an exceptional cleaning agent, so why not use it for upholstery too? Below, we’ll have a look at a few steam cleaners, and we’ll also provide you with buying tips to help you pick the right one.
Best Steam Cleaners for Upholstery Comparison
|Image||Brand & Model||Pre-Heat Time||Water Reservoir|
|Vapamore MR-100 Primo||11 minutes||1.6 quarts|
|Ladybug 2200S TANCS||10 minutes max||1.8 quarts|
|McCulloch MC1375||12 minutes max||1.5 quarts|
|Vapor Clean II||12 minutes||2.3 quarts|
|Reliable Brio PRO EP1000||10 minutes||5.283 quarts|
|Steamfast SF-370||8 minutes||1.4 quarts|
|McCulloch MC-1275||8 minutes||1.5 quarts|
|Vapor Clean Pro7 Home Plus||10 minutes||1.58 quarts|
So Why Use a Steam Cleaner on Upholstery?
If you aren’t sure why you should invest in a steam cleaner to treat your upholstery, here are two big reasons:
- Steam is capable of killing any germs or bacteria that may be dwelling on your upholstery. With that, steam cleaning can make your home a little bit healthier.
- Faster cleaning of tough stains. Steam can help you easily eliminate the toughest stains thanks to its high temperature and pressure.
In the long term, steam cleaning could bring you the following benefits too:
- Time savings.
- Prolonged upholstery lifespan.
- New-like appearance.
8 Best Steam Cleaners for Upholstery to Buy in 2020
The Vapamore MR-100 Primo steam cleaner offers great value for the buck. It’s fairly pocket-friendly option, and it also works well as a general-purpose steam cleaner.
With a whopping 20 accessories, MR-100 Primo may be used to steam-clean not only upholstery but also floors, corners, carpets, and not only.
The cleaning performance in this thing is nice too. Though the boiler stays fairly cool (210-220 degrees) throughout operation, the high steam pressure will let MR-100 Primo easily deal with upholstery stains.
Equipped with casters and weighing a mere 10.5 pounds, the MR-100 Primo steam cleaner is rather easy to move around as well. The power cord is 18 feet long too, so you won’t have to re-plug the cleaner all the time while moving around.
What we also like in this steam cleaner is safety features. Most notably, it has a child safety lock to prevent kids from accidentally turning the cleaner on. MR-100 Primo has overheating protection too.
These features may not seem like a huge deal for you, but as you’ll see from other reviews, many cheaper steam cleaners do not have them. Since we are dealing with hot steam, every safety feature is important.
- Includes 20 accessories – great for general cleaning.
- Safety features like child safety lock and overheating protection.
- Nothing to complain about.
Why choose Vapamore MR-100 Primo?
The Vapamore MR-100 Primo steam cleaner is a solid purchase for the money. We like its safety features the most, though for some people, the wealth of the included attachments is going to be more attractive.
The Ladybug 2200ST TANCS steam cleaner is a brilliant choice for high-volume or commercial applications. It’s a really expensive steam cleaner, and its feature set is overkill for most homeowners, which is why we think it will work the best for business uses such as hotels.
The highlight of this steam cleaner is the 0-minute cooldown time before refill and 6-10-minute preheat time – much faster than most other steam cleaners on this list. What this essentially means that you won’t have to wait too long for this steam cleaner to heat up as you move from furniture to furniture.
The boiler in 2200ST also gets pretty hot – 285 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows this cleaner to effortlessly treat stains and kill germs. However, when it comes to upholstery, it also increases the risk of damage, so be careful.
2200ST also boasts a number of safety features, including a child safety lock, low water indicator, pressure safety cap, and auto overheating protection. Its disinfection performance is EPA-certified as well.
- Excellent for high-volume cleaning.
- Very effective against stains and bacteria.
- Comes with 14 accessories.
- Has a low water indicator, overheating protection, and plenty of other safety features.
- Really expensive.
- Definitely not for the average homeowner.
- The boiler gets kind of hot, increasing the risk of damaging upholstery.
Why choose Ladybug 2200ST TANCS?
Unless your pocket is endlessly deep, Ladybug 2200ST is only reasonable for residential or commercial high-volume uses. In low-volume jobs, you won’t be uncovering the full potential of this thing. With that, if you need to steam large areas of upholstery or furniture, this thing will work fabulously.
The McCulloch MC1375 steam cleaner is a great choice for many homeowners thanks to its affordable price tag. The third least expensive steam cleaner on this top, MC1375 doesn’t hit your pocket hard while delivering good cleaning performance.
MC1375 is remarkably versatile as well thanks to the included 20 accessories. You don’t need many accessories for upholstery cleaning, but the included tools make this thing suitable for general-purpose steam cleaning.
MC1375 offers decent cleaning performance too. This model doesn’t get as hot and doesn’t deliver as much steam pressure as our previous picks, so it can’t compare with them. But it should be able to treat most stains on your upholstery.
With that said, MC1375 has 2 power levels, so it should offer more versatile cleaning performance.
One thing we dislike about MC1375 is that it has no auto overheating protection or a child safety lock. So you should be really careful when using and storing this thing. Keep it out of children’s reach, most importantly.
- Fairly inexpensive.
- 2 power settings.
- Includes 20 accessories.
- No child safety lock or overheating protection.
Why choose McCulloch MC1375?
Thanks to its affordable price, MC1375 is a solid choice for many homeowners. It requires careful use due to the lack of safety features, but it offers decent performance for disinfection and upholstery cleaning.
The Vapor Clean II steam cleaner is an excellent choice for high-volume steam cleaning at home. This model has many of the features of Ladybug 2200ST while not costing nearly as much. Vapor Clean II is by no means cheap, but it’s attainable for many people.
For us, the highlight of Vapor Clean II is its safety features – this steam cleaner has a child safety lock, a pressure safety cap, low water indicator, and automatic overheating protection. It also offers EPA-certified disinfection – just like the Ladybug cleaner.
Cleaning-wise, Vapor Clean II is great – the boiler temps here are a whopping 298 degrees, so you are going to get hotter steams for faster cleaning. But needless to say, you should be very careful when cleaning upholstery with this thing.
One thing to note – though this steam cleaner shares many features with the Ladybug cleaner, it’s not a competitor to it. This is mainly because the Vapor Clean II has a 4-minute cooldown time before refill. So although Vapor Clean II is solid for high-volume cleaning, it’s not way better than the Ladybug unit.
- Great for high-volume cleaning.
- Excellent disinfection and cleaning performance.
- Plenty of safety features.
- Comes with 17 accessories.
- The power cord is just 13 feet long.
- The steam gets really hot in this thing, increasing the risk of upholstery damage.
Why choose Vapor Clean II?
Vapor Clean II is a great pick if you have a lot of stuff to clean. Although this steam cleaner isn’t a match for the Ladybug steam cleaner, it has safety features galore and offers excellent cleaning performance.
The Reliable Brio PRO EP1000 is a lot like the Ladybug 2200ST cleaner, but it doesn’t cost as much. In fact, some things are even better in it!
This steam cleaner for upholstery offers very quick steam delivery thanks to its 302-degree boiler temperature. Not only that, but it has zero downtime for refilling, allowing you to quickly complete high-volume cleaning jobs. The huge 5.28-quart water reservoir will allow you to go longer without refills too.
The extra-high 87 psi pressure also allows this cleaner to sanitize and clean surfaces faster. And thanks to the 3 power levels, the EP1000 is very flexible when it comes to cleaning performance adjustment.
One thing that we don’t like about this model is that it doesn’t have a child safety lock. With that, it’s clearly not intended for areas frequented by children.
- Exceptional cleaning performance.
- 3 power levels.
- Large water reservoir.
- Requires no cooling before refilling.
- Includes 17 attachments.
- Pricey and heavy.
- No child safety lock.
- The steam gets really hot in this thing.
Why choose Reliable Brio PRO EP1000?
Reliable Brio PRO EP1000 offers excellent cleaning performance with no downtimes. This is exactly what you want for demanding applications! However, keep in mind that it doesn’t have as many safety features as the Ladybug.
If you want something more down to earth, the Steamfast SF-370 might be the best upholstery steam cleaner for you. This model is very inexpensive – in fact, it’s the least expensive steam cleaner on this list!
Now, you need to sacrifice a lot of things to get a steam cleaner this cheap. More precisely, the cleaning performance of SF-370 is nothing remarkable, and it also doesn’t have any notable safety features. It will be fine for most spills and stains, but don’t expect miracles from it.
Performance aside, what we like about SF-370 very much is its lightness. Weighing just about 8.4 pounds, this steam cleaner is very lightweight. It’s the lightest cleaner on the top, in fact!
Steamfast also includes 14 accessories with the SF-370 steam cleaner, so it is going to work fine as a general-purpose cleaning tool as well.
- Very inexpensive.
- Compact and light.
- 14 accessories included.
- Doesn’t have any notable safety features.
Why choose Steamfast SF-370?
If you don’t need anything fancy, then SF-370 will work fine. It’s cheap and can’t boast great performance, but it has the basics and should allow you to treat most upholstery stains.
The McCulloch MC-1275 steam cleaner is the little brother of MC1375 we reviewed earlier. This unit lacks some features and is cheaper than MC1375, but it’s not as inexpensive as the Steamfast SF-370 cleaner we’ve just reviewed.
The key differences between MC-1275 and MC1375 are power levels and operating pressure. MC-1275 only has one power level, and its operating pressure is 15 psi lower – 43 psi. With that in mind, MC-1275 is going to deliver worse performance and be less versatile.
However, this steam cleaner should be slightly better than Steamfast SF-370 thanks to the 12 degrees higher boiler temperature – 212 degrees.
All in all, MC-1275 is a fairly decent option for light residential uses. It’s cheap and offers pretty nice performance for upholstery cleaning, but note that it doesn’t have safety features.
- Really light and compact.
- Comes with 18 accessories.
- No notable safety features.
Why choose McCulloch MC-1275?
If you think that Steamfast SF-370 will be too weak for your needs, then MC-1275 is a better pick. MC-1275 is also pretty nice for the money and has the essentials for upholstery cleaning.
Finally, we have Vapor Clean Pro7 Home Plus. This is yet another high-end steam cleaner that can be used for high-volume needs. Although it’s marketed for home, we think that it would be optimal for workshop applications.
No matter where you end up using this thing, you will be able to enjoy excellent cleaning and disinfection performance. The boiler temp and operating pressure in Clean Pro7 are the highest on this list – 312 degrees sand 101.526 psi respectively. For added versatility, the power here is variable too.
Thanks to its zero downtime before refilling, Clean Pro7 may be used continuously as well.
Vapor Pro7 also has a few safety features, like automatic overheat protection and low water indication. It doesn’t have child safety locks though, which may be a downside for some people.
- Best steam cleaning performance on this list on paper.
- Auto overheating protection and low water indicator.
- Variable power.
- Requires no cooling before refilling.
- Includes a whopping 25 accessories.
- Pricey and heavy.
- No child safety lock.
- The boiler temp is really high, so be careful when cleaning upholstery.
Why choose Vapor Clean Pro7 Home Plus?
If you want max steam-cleaning performance, Vapor Clean Pro7 Home Plus might be the best choice for you. It’s exceptionally versatile as well thanks to the 25 accessories and variable power levels.
How To Choose The Best Steam Cleaner For Upholstery
To help you better understand steam cleaners and our reviews, let’s now talk about a few important things to look for in an upholstery steam cleaner. We’ll focus on what specifically pertains to upholstery, though we’ll cover some important general features as well.
First up, we have cleaning performance. There are two key things to consider with performance – boiler temperature and operating pressure.
Essentially, here’s how these two specs impact steam-cleaning performance:
- Boiler temperature. The higher the boiler temp, the quicker your cleaner will produce steam and the hotter it will get. Hotter steam cleans better.
- Operating pressure. The higher the operating pressure, the better the cleaning performance.
Sylvane provides a spec table for each of the reviewed steam cleaners where you may look up boiler temps and pressure. So you can easily compare our picks with each other.
One important thing to keep in mind with boiler temperature – higher temperatures increase the risk of damaging upholstery. Some fabrics are really delicate and might be damaged by even moderate temperatures.
With this in mind, if you want a high-temperature steam cleaner, then get a unit that has variable power and steam volume. Most cleaners – except for the cheapest models – do allow you to adjust steam levels.
Volume cleaning capabilities
Most of our readers won’t need to regularly steam-clean their upholstery. But those who have plenty of upholstery to clean often should look for the following specs on the Sylvane website:
- Cooldown before refill. This spec determines how much cooling time a cleaner needs before refilling. The most high-performance cleaners have a 0-minute cooldown, allowing for continuous refilling.
- Pre-heating time. It takes some time for your steam cleaner to heat water and produce steam. For high-volume jobs, quicker pre-heating is better.
- Steam operating time. This spec shows how long the steamer can operate on a single refill.
- Water reservoir size. Larger reservoirs translate to longer runtimes.
Weight and compactness
For upholstery cleaning, a lighter and smaller steam cleaner would be ideal. With that said, high-power steam cleaners are often bulky and heavy, so there’s only so much you can do to get yourself a light and small cleaner at a high power level.
All else equal, the best steam cleaner for upholstery would be light and small.
Since steam cleaners produce scalding hot steam, safety features are very important to consider. Among things to keep an eye out for are:
- Overheating protection. Steam cleaners that have this feature automatically shut off when temperatures exceed a predefined safety threshold.
- Child safety lock. This feature is a must if you have children at home. The child safety lock prevents children from accidentally turning the cleaner on and releasing hot steam.
- Low water indicator. If you do not promptly refill or turn off your cleaner after the water has run out, you will damage the machine. Low water indicators give visual or audio cues to remind you that the cleaner needs refilling.
- Pressure gauge. Pressure gauges allow you to keep an eye on the pressure within the cleaner. If the pressure climbs too high, your cleaner may blow up in your face (though this is the worst-case scenario).
Other things that may matter to you
Other than the basics we’ve listed above, what may also matter to you are:
- Number of accessories. All of the reviewed steam cleaners come with at least a dozen accessories. For upholstery cleaning, you only need a fabric/upholstery nozzle. But if you are intending to use the steam cleaner elsewhere, then make sure that you are getting all the necessary attachments.
- Length of the steam hose. Long steam hoses will allow you to reach farther corners of upholstery. You don’t need a super-long hose, but you should avoid cleaners that have really short steam hoses.
- Length of the power cord. Most steam cleaners out there have sufficiently long power cords for most needs. Again, you don’t need a super-long cord – just make sure that you aren’t getting a cleaner with a cord that’s too short for you.
- Wheels make carrying a steam cleaner easy. This isn’t a must-have feature in small cleaners, but in larger units, wheels can make your life a whole lot easier.
These features are not necessary for upholstery steam cleaners, but they may matter to some people.
Tips After Steam-Cleaning Your Upholstery
Steam-cleaning is fairly easy to do – however, what you do after steaming may actually matter way more. Here’s what you should do after steam-cleaning your upholstery:
- Let your furniture dry. Some amount of moisture will remain on your upholstery after cleaning. If left untreated, the moisture will cause mold formation. So air dry your upholstery or use a fan or blow dryer after cleaning to accelerate drying. Ideally, you should adjust your cleaner so that it produces as little steam and moisture as possible while staying effective. But some amount of moisture will still remain, so drying is a must.
- Clean remaining stains with soap and water. Steam cleaning will treat most of your stains, but some may still remain on your upholstery after cleaning. If you do notice any remaining stains, then try to treat them with soap and water.
- Use vinegar or commercial cleaners for really tough stains. As last resort, you may try vinegar or commercial upholstery cleaners for tough stains.
That’s it for our review of the best steam cleaners for upholstery!
Hopefully, you have already found the right upholstery steam cleaner for your needs. If you have a few candidates, then be sure to follow our buyer’s guide to make the right choice.
But if you haven’t found the best steam cleaner for your upholstery, then we at least hope that our insight and tips have been helpful for your research!
Featured image from Sylvane.