How to Wash Your Couch Cushions

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It finally happened. I had a real reason to wash the couch cushions. I spot clean the cushions, use a steam cleaner to sanitize, vacuum, and I use a sweater shaver to remove pills, but I haven’t had to actually remove the cover of our couch cushions to wash them. Until last week. I thought I’d show you what I did in case you wash your couch cushions or are suddenly needing them clean.

January brought two ‘strains’ of illness to our home and the second one was of the stomach variety. I’m hoping you get the idea of the stain and are fine without me sharing a ‘before’ picture. With three kids and two dogs I will say that I am a master vomit remover and preventer of illness on carpet and furniture but unfortunately illness struck at an inopportune time.  I thought for a minute on what the best removal/cleaning/sanitizing method would be and moved quickly to unzip the cover off the cushion.

I used a white bar mop towel to spot clean the unremovable parts of the couch – you can see in the first image that the arm looks little damp. I use a drop of gentle soap on a damp bar mop towel and carefully apply a little pressure to remove the stain. Rinse the cloth and ‘rinse’ the spot with the damp bar mop towel. This is the process I use any time I spot clean upholstered furniture.

I then brought the cushion cover and a pillow cover into the mud room sink and sprayed off the stuff. In case you’re wondering, I came back to the sink after I had the washing machine going and thoroughly sprayed it with hydrogen peroxide and let it sit to kill the germs. I then scrubbed it with soap and hot water and rinsed it.

A word of caution: Not all couches have removable cushion covers and not all removable covers are washable. Please consult the tags on your couch for specific directions on your couch. I have found that most fabrics are washable and if I wasn’t able to wash mine in the washing machine I would have hand washed it.

Once I had the cushion cover rinsed, I pre-treated it with Laundry Detergent Spray (it’s laundry detergent AND pre-treater). Then I put the cover in the washing machine, added a couple more sprays to total 5 sprays for the load.

I put the cover in on a quick cycle – semi warm – with an extra rinse. This really depends on what the care label says on your cover, if you’re not sure I would use a gentle or delicate cycle.

Once the cover is clean, remove it from the washer and line dry. Once it’s dry, put it back on the couch – hopefully it’s good as new!  This process worked so well that once I tested it I did laundered the rest of the couch cushion and pillow covers and this week I’m going to try it on another couch in our movie room.

You can see how I sanitize the couch and other upholstered furniture here in this post. I also share how to de-pill furniture too.

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