If you have a couch that has been in storage for a long period of time, it may have become affected by mildew. In some conditions, mildew can develop even when the furniture is in use. Here are some steps that should be followed to ensure that it is efficiently cleaned to leave it looking good, smelling fresh, and ready for use.
Step 1 - Inspect the Couch
In order to ensure that you are aware of the full extent of the mildew damage, you must start by examining it. Check every surface of the furniture even if the mildew only appears to affect a certain section, remembering to check the underside as well. Where possible, remove any slip covers to check whether the mildew is growing on the surface beneath.
In addition to sight, pay attention to any aromas produced from the material, especially where there doesn’t appear to be any mildew on the surface.
If your couch's label is still attached, you can use this opportunity to check whether it outlines any chemicals that should not be used in cleaning.
Step 2 - Prepare
Move the piece of furniture outside, if possible, to work on it to avoid leaving any mildew spores floating around your home. This will also give the mildew the opportunity to dry out, which will make it easier to remove. Avoid working in direct sunlight to prevent any patterns and/or colors from fading.
When you are only able to work inside, ensure that the room is properly ventilated using windows and extractor fans. Prevent cross contamination by sealing the door of the room so that spores cannot travel around your home.
Step 3 - Dry Wipe
After donning a protective mask and rubber glove, you should start by dry wiping the couch. Use a cloth when dealing with leather furniture and a scrubbing brush on other materials. Gently wipe or brush away from you in a downward motion to avoid coming into contact with any spores. Discard the rag when the process is complete to avoid contaminating anything else.
Step 4 - Clean
When you need to clean a leather couch, combine half a cup of water with half a cup of rubbing alcohol. Dampen a clean cloth with this mixture and wipe the area affected by the mildew. Regularly rinse the cloth being used as well. Then, leave the area to dry and check whether any marks remain after you're through. If you're not in the clear, repeat the process and follow up by wiping the relevant area with clean water.
For other types of materials, combine half a bucket of water with a quarter cup of laundry detergent and a quarter cup of rubbing alcohol. Avoid the use of bleach as this can affect the color of the couch. Dampen a clean sponge in the solution and wipe the surface using a blotting motion. Continue with this process until the mildew can no longer be detected. Rinse by using the same process with clean water and a clean cloth. Allow the surface to dry thoroughly to prevent more mildew growth.
In the event that the mildew growth is severe and repetition of this cleaning process doesn't help you in eliminating the problem, reupholstery may be one last option before you have to resort to replacing the couch altogether.