Cleaning Your Couch Cushions

by Julia Woodbury
(last updated June 29, 2015)

2

Let's say that you have one of those couches that can be taken apart. The cushions are not attached and the covers zip off. If you feel like it is time to wash those covers, simply take them off the foam or batting cushion and wash them in your washing machine with regular detergent. The type of cycle and water temperature you will use will depend on the material your couch is made of. Machine washing and spot treatment should take care of minor stains and general dinginess.

Perhaps you have a couch that doesn't have removable cushions. If the upholstery is a little dirty or spotted you can get a rag and some carpet or upholstery cleaner and scrub the dirt out. If the couch has stains that are too big for just a rag and some scrubbing, you can rent an upholstery cleaning vacuum. Most vacuums are able to shampoo the upholstery without getting it too wet.

Moving on to the more difficult situations, let's suppose that you have a soggy, smelly problem on your couch cushion. Food, drinks, and urine can seep beyond the cover and into the actual cushion. If your cushion is removable and small enough you can remove and machine-wash the cover and then machine-wash the actual cushion. Only try this if you can skip or disable the agitation step in your machine washing cycle. You will want the cushion to just soak in soapy water, then rinse, then spin. The agitator in a washing machine can shred a foam or batting cushion. If you are dealing with urine, add up to a cup of vinegar to the wash to remove the smell. You can also use store-bought products specially designed to remove pet and kid urine.

If your cushion is removable but too large to fit in the washer, you can try washing it in a bathtub or outside. To do this wet the cushion all the way through. Work in the soap (clothing detergent or deodorizing product of your choice) and let the cushion soak in the soapy water for a while. The dirtier it is, the longer you will want it to soak. Once again, if you are trying to remove the smell of urine, use a cup of vinegar in the water or the prescribed amount of odor lifting products. If you are working in a bathtub, use the shower nozzle to rinse out the cushion. If you are working outside, try using the hose. You will want to soak the cushion and then squeeze it out by punching it down or standing on it. Repeat the soaking and squeezing process until the water runs clear of suds.

If you have a big, smelly stain that is penetrating the cover and cushion and you can't remove your couch cushion you will have to get a little creative in your cleaning. Because the cause of the smell is deep in the cushion you will have to find some way of getting to it. If you can, you may want to make an inconspicuous cut in the cushion that is large enough to remove the foam. From there you can clean the cushion then put it back in and sew up the cut. If you're worried about the problem being repeated (example, you have children or pets) you may want to sew in a zipper so you can remove the cushion in the future.

Once you have washed and rinsed your couch cushion you will have to dry it completely before putting it back in the couch. A common drying method is wringing out as much water as possible and then setting the cushion out in the sun to air dry.

Another option is to wring out the water until the cushion is damp and then set it in front of a heater or use a hair dryer to finish the job. Be careful to not create a fire hazard while doing this. Don't leave focused, continuous heat on the cushion for to long, especially if it is foam.

If the cushion is being stubborn and refusing to dry you can try a more active method. Get a large batch of clean, dry towels. Place one under the cushion and another on top. Squish the cushion by lying or standing on it. Replace the towels when they get too wet to absorb more water. Repeat the process until the cushion is damp enough to dry with a heater or in the air.

Your final step is to prepare for the future. If you want to waterproof the foam or batting in your cushions, put it in a plastic bag fitted to its size, then put the cover over it. A plastic bag also comes in useful if you are trying to fit foam back in its cover. Simply put it in the bag, squeeze out all the air so that it becomes vacuum packed, then put the cover over it and let the air back in. The plastic layer will protect your cushion from future spills and accidents.

Author Bio

Julia Woodbury

Julia Woodbury is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University. She delights in the written word and has interests in magazine writing and editing. ...

MORE FROM JULIA

Drying Out Wet Books

Maybe it is a priceless heirloom, an irreplaceable gift, a sentimental piece—or maybe you just don't want to go out and ...

Discover More

Removing Grease from Appliance Surfaces

Whenever you cook with grease, at least a small portion of it finds its way into the air and eventually onto your appliances ...

Discover More

Washing Your Cat

Anyone who has chased a soapy, sopping wet feline around the house knows the risks of bathing cats. Here are some tips on how ...

Discover More

The Power of Microfiber! Zwipes Microfiber Cleaning Cloths will become your favorite tool for every cleaning task. This 36-cloth package is perfect for hundreds of uses in the garage, kitchen, bathroom, laundry, and all around the house. Each cloth is tough, streak-free, lint-free, reusable, and washable. Check out Microfiber Cleaning Cloths today!

MORE CLEANING TIPS

Clean Wooden Chairs

Wooden chairs have got to be one of the most common types of furniture available today. No matter where you go and where you ...

Discover More

Cleaning Dry Clean Only Drapes

Just like with clothes, there are drapes and curtains that have those dreaded words "Dry Clean Only" spelled out on their ...

Discover More

Removing Soot Stains From the Mantel

Just about everyone loves to see a fireplace whenever they go to look at a new home or go away on a vacation. However, what ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 + 8?

2015-09-10 19:23:17

Deb

Urine in sofa cushion:

Your suggestion, just want to make sure, do you mix those ingredients together and use it? Or are those used separate? Do you soak it, scrub it? Could you give me a bit more info?


2015-07-02 22:52:07

lwood@hotmail.ca

for urine smell in furniture....baking soda, dish soap, vinegar, and peroxide with a little water....works like a charm....tried and true!


Newest Tips
Videos

Subscribe to the Tips.Net channel:

Visit the Tips.Net channel on YouTube

Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
  • Ask a Question
  • Make a Comment
  • Free Printable Forms
  • Free Calendars
  • Share