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how to wash velvet cushion covers.

Keep your luxe velvet cushions looking the part with our guide.

Velvet has been synonymous with luxury for centuries, and you wouldn’t want to dull its shine by letting it get dirty. It might seem like an intimating fabric to look after, but it’s actually pretty easy, so you shouldn't be afraid to layer it in to your cushion selection for your home. While you should always check the label, if your velvet cushion covers are machine washable, then you don’t need any special equipment to wash at home.  

what is velvet?

Velvet is a tufted fabric that has a very short, dense pile. It’s sleek, soft and often has a sheen to it that gives it its luxurious look and feel. Originally, it was made from pure silk, which is another reason why it is associated with opulence – it was super expensive (and super soft)!   

Today, it’s made with all sorts of fibres, ranging from cotton to polyester, making it much more affordable (and easier to wash and keep clean!).

what is our velvet made from?

The material your velvet cushion cover is made from will determine the best ways to wash it, so let’s take a look at the different types of velvet it could be.

polyester velvet.

This is the most common type of velvet on the market. Made from synthetic fibres, it’s ultra-soft to the touch and has a beautiful luxe sheen – and it’s super easy to care for.  

cotton velvet.

Also known as velveteen, cotton velvet has a matt finish and a natural feel. It generally gives a more relaxed aesthetic to the space you’re using it in, making it great for minimal and boho styles.

velvet jacquards.

These are premium velvets, usually blending more than one colour pile to create a unique design. This technique is usually used to create a geometric pattern, perfect for adding more colours, depth and interest.

quilted/embroidered velvet.

Embroidery is used to create a pattern, icon or 3D effect to the velvet fabric. Sometimes metallic or coloured yarn is used to help create a more unique look. These extra elements sometimes mean that the velvet is a little more delicate to wash. 

before you wash your velvet cushion cover.

check the label.

This will tell you, firstly what your velvet cushion cover is made from, and secondly, how best to care for it. If it tells you ‘dry clean only’ then that’s what we’d recommend that you do. Machine washing or hand washing a dry clean-only cushion cover may result in bagginess, shrinkage or the colours running – all of which would leave your cushion cover unusable. Take our advice and leave it to the professionals!

We’d always recommend following the instructions on the label first and foremost, as that will be the best possible way to clean your cushion cover. 

take the cushion cover off the cushion.

It seems obvious, but making sure that you take your velvet cushion cover off its insert will make sure that it gets cleaned properly.  

handwashing velvet cushion covers.

If your label says to hand wash your cushion cover, then we recommend using a clean bath or basin. First, you’ll need lukewarm water. If the water is too hot, you may damage the velvet. Then, dissolve a small amount of mild detergent in it. Soak your cushion cover and gently move it around to clean any dirt. Don’t twist or scrub the fabric, as this could ruin the pile or the shape of the cushion.

Drain the bath or basin and refill it with clean, cool water. Rinse your cushion cover until the water is clear of soap. You may have to repeat draining the bath and refilling it. 

Try not to squeeze your velvet cushion to get rid of excess water. Instead, gently press it out. Lie flat to air-dry in a spot away from heat sources and direct sunlight.    

machine washing velvet cushion covers.

Similarly, if you’re able to machine wash your velvet cushion cover (as indicated by the care label), then generally speaking you should use a gentle cycle, a mild detergent and a cool water temperature. 

Don’t wash anything else with it, and especially not anything cotton. Fibres from other fabrics can gather and create lint on velvet, which is the opposite of what you want!

If your velvet cushion has some embellishments, it may be best to turn the cover inside out, so those elements don’t catch or pull on anything else.

drying velvet cushion covers.

Drying velvet cushion covers is something of an art. Because the pile is so delicate, you need to be careful how it dries and in what position. 

First, gently remove excess water without twisting or squeezing too hard (that’s how you end up with a shoddy-looking crushed velvet!). Try pressing instead. 

Then, you can either hang your cushions on your washing line, or somewhere that has great ventilation. Just make sure that they’re hanging vertically, and the wind doesn’t blow them and cause them to fold over. Avoid direct sunlight (so maybe choose a cloudy day if you’re drying your cushion covers outside) and heat sources. 

Alternatively, lie them flat on a table on top of a clean dry towel or two.

Avoid using a tumble dryer. Even on low heat, it could damage the fibres. The nature of a tumble dryer also means that you may get creasing, which is not what you want.

keeping velvet cushion covers clean.

Regular checks, spot cleans and steam cleaning are sometimes all you need to keep your velvet cushion covers clean, so you don’t need to give them a full wash. 

spot cleaning.

If you can, always tackle spills and accidents straight away. This gives you the best chance of getting it off your cushion completely. If it’s just happened, press a paper towel to soak up any excess liquid. Then, soak a soft clean cloth in a mild detergent-water solution (only needs a tiny amount), wring it out and gently dab at the stain until it is gone. 

If it’s a dried-on stain, blot it with your solution and leave it to air-dry. Once dry, use a soft brush to restore the pile. 

steam cleaning.

For a freshen-up, consider steam cleaning your velvet cushions. It helps avoid (and reverse) any compression to the pile of your velvet, and is relatively quick and easy to do. A hand-held steamer is the best option, but you could use a steam iron too, as long as it was on its lowest heat setting and you didn’t let the iron rest anywhere on the cushion cover.  

vacuum cleaning.

Day-to-day maintenance is gently hoovering your velvet cushion covers. That way any loose dirt or grime doesn’t get worked into the fabric, eventually becoming a stain or a mark that you have to get out!