You plant yourself on those sofa cushions every day. Kids, pets, and guests all take turns sitting and lounging on the couch, so it’s no wonder that the seat covers can get quite dirty. We’ll show you how to wash couch cushions to remove everyday dirt, stains, and keep them looking like new.
While the entire couch needs regular cleaning, sofa cushions tend to get the dirtiest. How you clean your cushions depends on the material.
Leather, suede, and microfiber fabric all need specialized care and cleaning that may differ from one to the other. Use the right cleaning products and techniques depending on the type of sofa you have.
Washing Couch Cushions
Prevent stains from soiling the inside of your sofa cushions by taking care of the spill immediately. Blot away the spill before it seeps beyond the upholstery and into the cushioning. We’ll show you how to spot clean and deep clean sofa seat covers and cushions using the right cleaning methods.
Preparing and Pre-Cleaning Couch Cushions
You may want to dive right in and clean your sofa, but there are a few steps to take before cleaning couch cushions. These include determining the fabric type, checking for special care instructions, and vacuuming.
Couch Cushion Preparation
Begin by identifying the type of material your couch cushions are upholstered in. Some of the most common fabrics used on a sofa are leather, linen, suede, vinyl, and cotton blends. The type of material determines how to clean your sofa.
Check for labels or tags on the cushions of your couch for cleaning instructions. These tags may include abbreviations that inform you of what you should and should not use to clean the cushions.
A ‘W’ stands for water-based detergent. ‘S’ stands for water-free products. ‘WS’ means to use either water-based or water-free cleaning solutions. ‘X’ means to use professional cleaning only and must be cleaned at a dry cleaner.
Once you determine how to clean the couch cushions, use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to suck away dirt, dust, and crumbs. Use the vacuum brush attachment to remove pet hair and clean both the top and bottom of each cushion, making sure to clean in the crevice of seams.
Before using a new cleaning solution on the fabric of your sofa, apply a small amount of the cleaner to an inconspicuous area to test for color-fastness.
Washing Couch Cushion Covers in the Washing Machine
Factors to consider when washing couch cushion covers are determining fabric type, how deeply the stain goes into the underlying foam, and whether or not they have removable covers or slipcovers. Most removable fabric couch seat covers are machine washable. Washing couch cushion covers in the washing machine is the easiest way to clean them.
Machine Washing Cushion Covers
Pre-treat tough stains such as red wine or coffee on the cushion cover before placing them in the washing machine. Locate the zipper along the backside of the sofa cushions, and remove each cushion.
Turn them inside-out, put into the washing machine, add your favorite laundry detergent, and set it to the gentle cycle on the cool water setting. Hang the covers to air dry rather than putting them into the dryer to prevent shrinkage.
Manual Way to Clean Couch Cushions
Frequently, spills and stains seep beneath the fabric of the cushion cover to the material below. Cleaning a foam couch cushion can be a little tricky but not impossible. Here is how to clean couch cushions when stains have seeped below the fabric.
An essential first step in cleaning the inside cushions of the sofa seats is to blot up the stained area immediately to prevent the liquid from seeping too far down into the cushioning. If your cushion covers are removable, pull the cushion out of the fabric by unzipping the backside.
Sprinkle some baking soda onto the stain and allow it to sit for an hour to soak up the stain. Use paper towels to wipe the moistened baking soda away.
Fill a bottle with warm water and a tablespoon of laundry soap and shake gently. Spray the stained area lightly and use a dry sponge to clean away the stain. Blot the cushion with a dry towel and allow it to air dry before replacing the cover.
Cleaning Fabric Couch Cushions
Cleaning sofa cushions made of fabric is relatively simple as long as you use the right cleaners. Before cleaning, make sure that you check the care and cleaning sticker located on your sofa’s cushions.
Pour the water into a small container and add the dish soap. Mix the solution around gently and dip a soft sponge into the suds. Use the sponge to clean the material on the cushion by moving in the direction of the fabric grain. Do not saturate the seat cover to prevent soapy water from seeping beneath the fabric.
Rinse and wring out the sponge and clean the areas of the couch cushion with clean water. Use a dry towel to absorb any leftover residue and allow the cushions to air dry before putting them back onto the sofa.
Deep Clean a Suede Sofa Cushion
Suede has a napped finish that requires special care and cleaning. This fuzzy-leather material becomes dull with a flat appearance if you apply the wrong types of cleaning solutions to the surface.
Begin by using a suede napping brush to brush the surface of the material to remove loose debris and restore its original luster. Fill a bottle with equal parts rubbing alcohol and warm water and shake well to mix.
Spray the cleaner onto a clean cloth and lightly dab at the dirty areas of the suede in an X-shaped pattern. For tough stains, use a pencil eraser or suede eraser.
Clean Vinyl Couch Cushions
To clean sofa cushions made of vinyl, use water and a small amount of laundry detergent to remove dirt and grime that accumulates from everyday use. For deep-down dirt, consider removing the cushion covers and washing them in the washing machine.
Combine warm water and about a cap full of laundry soap or dish soap in a spray bottle. Shake the container gently and spray the soapy water onto the cushion cover.
Make sure that you do not saturate the cover to prevent the underlying cushion material from getting too wet. Use a sponge to work the cleaner into the fabric to remove dirt and stains.
Rinse the sponge with cold water and wring as much of the water out as possible. Wipe the cushions with the clean sponge, and use a dry towel to wipe residue away and let the cushions air dry before replacing them on your sofa.
Leather Sofa Cushions – Cleaning and Sustaining
If you are unsure how to clean your leather sofa at home, we recommend taking the material in for dry cleaning by a professional. Otherwise, use water, vinegar, and linseed oil to clean and sustain leather.
The first step is to combine one cup of vinegar and one cup of water into a spray bottle and spray the cleaning solution lightly onto the surface of the leather. Use a sponge to wipe all areas of the cushions until they are clean.
The final step is to mix the remaining one cup of vinegar and two cups of linseed oil into a separate spray bottle and shake to mix well. Spray the solution onto the leather and rub with a microfiber cloth. Use another dry cloth to buff the leather before replacing the cushions on the sofa.
How to Clean Couch Pillows
Can you wash couch pillows? That all depends on the pillow type. While it’s possible to wash small living room throw pillows made of fabric in the washing machine, large couch pillows need hand washing. Here’s how to deep clean couch pillows to keep them fresh and vibrant.
Check the pillow’s care and cleaning tags before cleaning to prevent ruining them, and remove covers before washing. Place small throw pillows into the washing machine and add your favorite laundry soap. Wash them on the delicate cycle in a front loading washing machine.
Hang the clean pillows in a well-ventilated area until they are almost dry and then place them into the dryer to fluff them. For larger couch pillows, fill a spray bottle with warm water and a cap full of laundry soap.
Shake the bottle gently to mix and spray the solution onto the surface of the pillow. Use a sponge to clean away any dirt and grime. Allow them to air dry before putting them back on the sofa.
Cleaning Couch Cushions with a Steam Cleaner
For sofa cushions that do not have removable covers, use a steam cleaner to remove stains and clean away everyday dirt. Check the care label before cleaning to ensure proper care.
Couch Cushion Steam Cleaning
Follow the instructions for your steam cleaner model, and fill the water tank with the right amount of water and upholstery cleaner. Remove the cushions from the couch and place them on the floor.
Use an upholstery cleaner attachment to clean the surface of each cushion by starting at the top and pulling the attachment downward. Allow the cushions to dry before flipping them over and repeating the process on the backside. Once clean, prop the cushions in a well-ventilated area to dry before placing them back on the sofa.
Remove Stains from Sofa Cushions
If you’ve accidentally spilled something on an otherwise clean couch cushion, this simple spot cleaning remedy does the trick to remove a mild stain.
If the spill is fresh, use paper towels to blot up as much of the stain as possible to prevent it from spreading across the fabric and down into the cushioning. Sprinkle some baking soda onto the stained area and let it sit for ten minutes. Use a paper towel to brush away the stain soaked baking soda.
Wet a sponge with cold water and apply a small dab of dish soap to it and wring out the excess soapy water. Rub the sponge in a small circular motion over the stain, making sure that you do not spread the stain outward. Dry the area with a cloth and allow it to air dry before sitting in that area.
Removing Tough Stains from Cushions
If you have just flipped your couch cushions only to discover that the opposite side has an old stain someone was trying to hide, you have to use something a little stronger than soap and water to remove it.
Pour cold water into a spray bottle and add the vinegar and soap. Shake the bottle gently to mix and spray the solution directly onto the stained area of the cushion. Spray just enough to coat it but not saturate it.
Use a dry sponge to rub the stain away using circular motions. Rinse the sponge with fresh water and wring out the excess water. Wipe the area with a clean sponge and pat dry with a towel. For ink stains, clean microfiber with alcohol or a dry cleaning solvent.
Simple and Effective Cushion Maintenance
The cushions of a couch experience more wear and tear than any other part of the sofa. Here are several ways to maintain your sofa’s cushions to ensure that they stay fresh, clean, and comfortable.
The first step in maintaining the cushions on your sofa is to perform regular vacuuming to keep the surface area dirt-free and prevent damage to the fabric. If you have pets, use a lint roller daily to remove loose hairs and other fine debris.
Keep paper towels handy for taking care of spills immediately. Use the towels to absorb as much of the spilled liquid as possible before using a cleaning solution. Prepare a bottle of homemade cleaning spray ahead of time and label it, so it is ready to use whenever needed.
Couch cushions take on the shape of whoever sits on them the most, therefore its important to switch up the seating arrangement regularly to prevent the cushions from getting permanent dips and curves. Flip and fluff them every time you clean them to prevent them from getting flattened.
The living room couch is not only a comfy place to relax but an investment in your home, as well. Removing everyday dirt and stains from your sofa cushions is easy as long as you use the right cleaning solution.
Once you understand the techniques to use for cleaning leather, suede, and microfiber upholstery and inside cushioning, you can safely clean just about anything off of your couch cushions and keep your sofa looking like new.
We’re happy we could show you how to wash couch cushions using the right cleaning tools and recipes, and we’d love for you to share our sofa cushion cleaning tips with your family and friends on Facebook and Pinterest.