Washing Sofa Covers – Are They Machine Washable?

Ashley Sonnenbrun

Washing sofa covers is the most straightforward way to keep your upholstery looking fresh, clean, and presentable – whether by machine wash or using another method. So the logical question becomes what the best way to treat stains on your sofa cover is? Is it to throw them into the washing machine on the delicate cycle, or probably use another method to remove dirt from your sofa cushion covers, or resort to some upholstery cleaner from the store to make sure your sofa’s covers are pristine? It all depends on the fabric and some other details.

For instance, polyester sofa covers can often be machine washed, making it easier to maintain a clean sofa cover appearance.

Wash Sofa Covers or Treat Sofa Cushion Covers and Seat Cushions Another Way?

There isn’t one answer to this question. The best advice you can follow is to look into the cleaning instructions that come with the piece of furniture. The furniture manufacturer would have most likely provided clear guidelines on the way your couch cushion covers are best to be treated depending on the fabric used. Some materials will respond well to machine washing on a delicate cycle, other are best treated manually with a mild detergent.

  • Cotton sofa covers, for example, may have specific washing instructions to ensure they are washed properly without damage.
  • Leather sofas for example are made of fabric not suited to have their covers thrown into the washing machine.

If you are not sure what the best way to deep clean your sofa cover is, it’s best to consider having your sofa professionally cleaned right after spills occur. But in most cases, you should be able to have the covers restored to their top condition on your own. All you will need is a little research and the right tools at hand. For delicate fabrics like premium velvet, it’s crucial to seek professional advice or carefully hand wash to avoid damage.

How Often You Should Wash Sofa Covers

Washing the covers of your sofa regularly is important if you want them to look as good as they get. If your sofa covers are on the light color spectrum, it might be a good idea to wash them once every three to four months. Darker fabrics can be washed just once a year and they should not lose any of their shine and freshness. This applies to general maintenance only, of course. If you have a cat or a dog, pet hair is not the only thing you need to worry about. When it comes to materials like cotton couch covers, cleaning them more frequently can help maintain an inviting living space. Pet stains, as well as food and drink spills are to be removed from the fabric as soon as possible.

Step-by-Step Guide to Washing Sofa Covers and Top Tips for Maintaining Any Fabric

sofa covers upholstery fabrics

The first thing to do is to get your vacuum cleaner and run it through the surface of your upholstered furniture without getting the sofa covers off. In that way, you will collect all dust and debris before throwing the covers into the washing machine. You can then proceed to take the sofa covers off and pre-treat any stains with a mild detergent suited to the fabric.

A spray bottle with a cleaning solution can be effective for spot-treating stains on a velvet cover before the wash cycle. Look for visible stubborn stains on both the front and back of the sofa covers. Pay special attention to all inconspicuous areas. If you are into homemade solutions, you may resort to the good old water and baking soda solution. Make sure to use cold water to spot-clean sofa covers, and remove any excess moisture with baby wipes or a dry cloth so that you don’t have to worry about damaging the fabrics. Just slightly warm water and a damp cloth is also acceptable in most cases as well. You can even leave the covers dry naturally before putting them into the washing machine to make sure that the stains were indeed removed.

The third step is to put the sofa covers into the washing machine. Ensure to use a mild laundry detergent and adjust the machine to a gentle wash cycle for cotton sofa covers to preserve their texture and color. Make sure that you wash the slipcovers alone to avoid staining and discoloration of the fabric. Warm water in the machine is fine, as long as it doesn’t exceed 40 degrees Celsius. If there are no visible stains on the sofa covers, it’s best to resort to cold water as well. In any case, make sure to run the gentle cycle so as to not damage your sofa covers.

If your sofa is a large one, or if you have multiple pieces of upholstery to take care of, you will probably have to repeat the process multiple times when washing sofa covers. Even if your washing machine has a large capacity, just a couple of large sofa covers will probably fill it up. For synthetic fabric covers, it’s essential they are machine washed separately to avoid pilling and to ensure a deep cleaning. Machine washing with an overloaded washing machine isn’t a good idea. You will not be able to properly clean your sofa covers, and at the same time, you will risk damaging the appliance.

What to Do After Washing Sofa Covers

Some sofa or couch cover fabrics are best left to air dry. The tumble dry method is suitable for other types of removable cushions. After the first wash, it might be best to leave them to air dry for a little while, even if you are determined to put them in the dryer after that. Using a soft brush on a velvet sofa cover while it’s slightly damp can help maintain its luxurious feel. Exposing some fabrics to the extreme heat necessary to air dry them in the dryer isn’t worth the risk in any way. The general advice is that if you can spare the time and have the right place for it, leave your cushions or sofa cushion covers to dry naturally in all cases.

Are All Sofa Covers Machine Washable?

In addition to leather, suede and a few other fabrics do not respond well to machine washing. Couch covers made of natural fabric like cotton may be machine washed with care, while those made from synthetic fabric may need different treatment. Keeping those clean manually can be a pain, but still possible with the right stain remover, pet hair remover, and other tools of the trade. Just remember you should wash sofa covers regardless of their material frequently, immediately after spills, and follow all instructions, and you should be okay.

About Me

My name is Ashley Sonnenbrun and I specialize in domestic cleaning consultancy for over 7 years already. I help people with advice on their professional carpet and upholstery cleaning.