Cleaning Sofa Cushion Covers

Q&A and Useful Industry Information

Take caution when customers ask you to clean sofa cushion covers. Some upholstery fabrics are coated with latex or a similar material on the reverse side. This coating gives the shell fabric added body, stabilizes the weave, and holds shallow seams together during use. Because drycleaning solvents may dissolve some of these coatings, testing the coating is recommended before using any cleaning method. If these coatings dissolve, it may change the hand or body of the fabric, cause the yarns to shift, cause the edges to ravel, or cause excessive shrinkage.

Before drycleaning, always inspect the shell for shallow or frayed seams and pretest the backing material for solubility—even if the furniture covers are labeled as drycleanable. It is also important to inspect all areas of the backing material for deterioration. Some materials used in upholstery fabrics can begin to deteriorate as soon as they are put into service due to gases in the air, sunlight, and flexing during use. If drycleaning furniture covers is determined to be safe, remember to use a very short cycle, minimal mechanical action, and low heat during tumble drying.

Furniture covers with cleaning instructions that state a specific cleaning method (such as spot cleaning or vacuuming) should never be removed for drycleaning or washing. Any tumble cleaning method could destroy the backing, shrink, or otherwise damage the upholstery fabric. Zippers on furniture cushions are installed only for the manufacturer’s benefit. They should not be expected to work as normal garment zippers and may not open and close properly.

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