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how to clean your decorative cushions: covers + pads.

a pink velvet sofa with lots of velvet cushions on it, including a big red/orange cushion with a bird pattern on it. In the foreground there is a bunch of flowers.

Keep your cushions looking top with these tips.

After choosing the perfect selection of cushions for your sofa or bed, next up comes the aftercare. Now, we’re not saying cushions are high maintenance, but they do need a little TLC here and there to keep them looking beautiful and stylish for years to come (and smelling fresh!). Keep reading to learn the best ways to clean and care for your cushions.

what type of cushion are you cleaning?

Cushions are an essential part of our homes. They provide comfort and support, as well as that pop of joy when you see something that looks beautiful in your home. Cushions come in a variety of materials and designs, each with its own unique cleaning requirements. Here are some of the most common types of cushions:

decorative cushions.

Decorative cushions can be made from various fabrics like silk, velvet, and cotton. Different fabrics have different cleaning needs, and they must be handled with care. Silk pillows should be dry-cleaned, while velvet pillows can be spot cleaned with a damp cloth. Cotton pillows can be machine washed on a gentle cycle and dried on low heat. It's important to check the care label before cleaning decorative cushions.

outdoor cushions.

Outdoor cushions require a bit more care since they are exposed to harsh elements like sun, rain, and dirt. They are typically made from water-resistant materials like polypropylene, which is designed to withstand the elements. Outdoor cushions should be cleaned regularly with mild detergent and water. It's important to avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the fabric. If the cushions are heavily soiled, they can be hosed down and left to air dry in the sun.

floor cushions.

Floor cushions are designed for lounging and relaxing. They come in various shapes and sizes and require special attention when cleaning, as they can accumulate dirt and other detritus. Floor cushions can be made from a variety of materials, such as cotton, wool, or microfiber. It's important to check the care label before cleaning floor cushions. Some cushions can be machine washed, while others need to be dry cleaned. It's also important to fluff the cushions regularly to maintain their shape and prevent them from becoming lumpy.

cushion pads or inners.

If you have a cushion, you probably have a cushion pad inside it. They can be made from a variety of materials, such as feathers or polyester. Feather cushions are soft and fluffy, while polyester cushions are durable, hypoallergenic and easy to care for. Each material requires different cleaning techniques. Feather cushions should be fluffed regularly to maintain their shape. You shouldn’t machine wash feather cushion inserts in any way unless you really have to. They may become lumpy, uncomfortable and even mouldy!

Polyester cushion inserts, on the other hand, can be machine washed on low heat, a gentle cycle and only a small amount of mild detergent. To dry in a dryer, fluff it up as best you can, and set it on a low heat. Add in dryer balls to help break up the filling.

By understanding the different types of cushions and their unique cleaning requirements, you can keep your cushions looking and feeling great for years to come.

prepare your cushions for cleaning.

Before you start cleaning, you need to prepare your cushions carefully. Here's what you need to do:

read the care label.

Your cushions should come with a care label and directions for cleaning. Always read these instructions before cleaning. The care label will provide you with information on the type of fabric, washing instructions, and any special care that the cushion needs. If you don't have a care label, you can check the manufacturer's website for recommendations.

It's important to follow the care label instructions to avoid damaging the cushion. Some fabrics may require specific cleaning solutions or methods, and not following the instructions could cause the fabric to shrink, fade, or even tear.

remove cushion covers.

It's essential to remove the cushion covers before starting any cleaning process. This will allow you to clean the cover and the cushion separately, ensuring that both are cleaned thoroughly.

If you're not sure how to remove the cover, check the care label or manufacturer's website for instructions. Some cushion covers have zippers, while others may require you to remove the cover by hand. Some cushions are ready-filled, which means that the insert or inner is sewn in. These types of cushions are likely to be dry clean only – leave it to the professionals!

vacuum and spot clean.

Before washing, vacuum the cushions thoroughly to remove loose dirt and debris. Use a handheld vacuum or the upholstery attachment on your regular vacuum cleaner to remove any dirt, dust, or pet hair from the cushion's surface.

Spot clean any stains with a gentle cleaning solution suitable for the fabric type. Always test the cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the cushion first to ensure that it doesn't cause any damage or discolouration.

If you're dealing with a particularly stubborn stain, you may need to use a specialized stain remover. Follow the instructions carefully, and avoid using too much of the product, as this could damage the fabric.

pre-treat stains.

For stubborn stains, pre-treat with a stain remover that’s recommended for the fabric type. Apply the remover and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before washing.

Make sure to follow the instructions on the stain remover carefully. Some products may require you to rinse the cushion before washing, while others may need to be left to soak for a certain period.

By preparing your cushions carefully before cleaning, you can ensure that they are cleaned thoroughly and without any damage to the fabric. Remember to always follow the care label instructions and test any cleaning solutions on a small area first.

which cushion cleaning method is the right one?

machine washing.

Machine washing is an easy way to clean cushion covers and inserts made from polyester. Use a gentle cycle, low heat and a mild detergent. Place the cushion cover in a pillowcase to prevent it from snagging during the washing cycle.

As mentioned above – avoid washing feather-filled cushions in the washing machine unless it’s an emergency.

hand washing.

Hand washing is the best method for cleaning delicate cushion covers. Fill a basin with warm water, add a mild detergent, and agitate gently. Rinse with clean water and let air dry.

dry cleaning.

The care label may direct you to dry clean your cushion, especially if it’s a particularly detailed or intricate design. We recommend following these instructions to get the best results – if you try and wash it yourself you may end up with shrinkage or a baggy cushion cover (not ideal).

steam cleaning.

Regularly steam cleaning your cushions will mean that you don’t have to machine wash them as often. A handheld steamer is an easy way to freshen up your home’s soft furnishings as it kills bacteria and loosens any shallow dirt. A quick spritz of fabric spray and voila, fresh and clean cushions.