Sofa covers can be tricky to wash, especially if they aren’t made of pre-shrunk fabric. That can cause the covers to shrink when washed, making them unusable. Also, some materials can get damaged if subjected to rinsing. Does that pose a question: can you even wash sofa covers?
Every sofa cover is washable. While you can’t wash some covers in the washing machine, they can still be hand-washed or rinsed. Check the label to see if there’s any information on how to wash the covers. Use mild, low-temperature programs if machine-washing.
The label usually has symbols that show how to wash the item. If you’re not sure what the symbols represent, I’m here to help. Sometimes, you can wash the covers in the machine but can’t put them in a dryer after. Here’s everything you need to know about washing sofa covers.
Can Sofa Covers Be Washed?
Every sofa cover can be washed, or at least cleaned. Sometimes, you’ll need professional help, but it all depends on the material, especially upholstery. Some sofa covers have no washing restrictions, meaning you can wash them on any regular washing machine program.
Still, I recommend mild, low-temperature programs, and using a mild detergent, even if the label says no restrictions. Stronger detergents can cause discoloration, and you never know how the fabric will react when washed in high temperatures. Also, make sure to close the zippers before putting the item in the machine to avoid tangles.
If the covers can’t be machine washed, but you can still take them off the sofa, you can try hand washing them. If there aren’t any hard stains, you can do it in cold water with soap. That also works if the covers can’t be removed from the sofa – gently clean them with a cloth. Avoid scrubbing because it can damage the fabric.
Finally, the covers possibly aren’t wash-tolerant. While it’s rare, some types of materials shrink and damage when washed. You can still clean them, though. Use a vacuum cleaner to get all the crumbs and dirt from the seats and in between cushions.
Pet hair is yet another issue to tackle as you often can’t simply vacuum them. If you don’t have one of those new awesome pet hair removing tools, you can use rubber gloves to get the hair off the sofa, or at least loosen it so that it can be vacuum cleaned after.
How to Wash Sofa Covers?
Now that you know for sure you can wash your sofa covers, the only question that remains is how to wash them? While it’s always the best option to gently hand-wash any fabric, the safest bet for you is to either reach out to the manufacturer and ask for washing instructions or read the label and find out how to do it that way.
In most cases, you’ll be able to find some letters that mark what type of cleaner you should use depending on the type of fabric. If you see an S on the label, that means you should use a solvent-based cleaner. A W means you’re intended to use a water-based cleaner only, while WS means you can use either.
Lastly, if you find an X on the label, that means you shouldn’t try to wash the covers yourself but rather give it to a professional. Sometimes, you’ll be able to find all kinds of information on the label, such as the temperature on which to wash the covers, can it be tumble-dried, is it pre-shrunk, etc.
I always clean my sofa covers in several steps. After removing hair and vacuuming, first, I treat stains. There’s a W on the label, so I use a water-based cleaner to treat stains before washing. Harder stains sometimes need two or three coats of cleaner.
Then, I use a damp microfiber cloth with a bit of mild, non-colored detergent and gently run it across the covers. When I say gently, I mean no scrubbing – I had to replace one of the cushion covers because I discolored it when trying to scrub off a coffee stain. Leave it to dry completely before using.
If you insist on taking the covers off to wash them more thoroughly, it’s not a bad idea to put them back on while they’re still damp. Don’t use them until completely dry, though. As they dry, they’ll fit perfectly around the cushion.
Can You Put Sofa Covers in the Washing Machine?
You can put most sofa covers in the washing machine. If some of them aren’t supposed to be machine-washed, it’ll be visibly highlighted on the label. If they can be machine washed, you should still be careful with a couple of things.
First, never wash upholstery of any kind at high temperatures, especially your sofa covers. High temperature can cause all kinds of problems that won’t happen when cold-washing, such as discoloration, shrinking, and fabric damage.
Second, never use a detergent with colorants, as they can react with the fabric and cause discoloration. Your best bet is to use a mild detergent and not use a lot, especially if there are no hard stains. You should treat those specially anyways. Your best option is to choose the delicate cold wash for the first time to see how the fabric holds up.
Finally, when you dry your sofa covers, don’t shock them in the dryer. The fast evaporation of water can cause the fabric to go hard and shrink, making it unusable. Leave it to dry naturally, and don’t use it until it’s completely dry.
How Often Should You Wash Sofa Covers?
Ideally, you should vacuum clean your sofa covers every one or two weeks and wash them every month or two. However, I believe it’s unnecessary and requires a lot of work for nothing.
I thoroughly wash my sofa covers every five to six months, and I vacuum them every time I vacuum the house, which is about once a week. If you do routine maintenance, there’s no need to wash the covers more often.
Also, I strongly suggest treating spots and washing the covers while they are still on the sofa. Trust me, no matter how carefully you wash them, they just never fit as perfectly as they once did. Treating only several spots at a time will allow the covers to dry fast and easily, while it’ll save you the hassle of trying to fit them back on.