Cleaning upholstery is kind of hard. So you may want to wash it in the washing machine. But can you? Read on to find out the answer.
Various types, hues, textures, and patterns are available for upholstery fabrics. Cotton, polyester, wool, silk, linen, rayon, and other materials are used to make them. They include covering the interiors of cars as well as couches, chairs, beds, headboards, ottomans, love seats, and recliners.
You might be wondering, “Can you wash upholstery fabric in the washing machine?” Upholstery fabrics that are marked with a W or WS can be safely washed in a washing machine, as long as you choose the correct settings and use the right laundry detergent.
You should be aware of a few things before removing the covers and running them through a cycle.
Can You Wash Upholstery Fabric in the Washing Machine?
As long as the care label permits it, most upholstery fabrics can be machine washed. You may want to avoid machine washing if the same fabric is used to cover the padding, foams, and cushions on the inside as the interior stuffing may not be machine washable.
You can choose to machine wash them if the fabric is removable or if you can separate the fabric from the interior stuffing. If the fabric is not removable or if it cannot be separated, spot cleaning is the best option.
Common Wash Codes for Upholstery Fabric
The following codes are used by the majority of furniture manufacturers.
- W – Water is a suitable cleaning agent for this material. A shampoo or upholstery foam cleaner with a water base is another option. Use a professional cleaning service for larger, difficult-to-remove stains and avoid over-wetting the furniture. To avoid general soiling, use a cleaning service.
- S – You’ll need to buy a cleaner with a solvent base because there is no water. Never use water to clean a spot; only spot-clean! It might be necessary to use a metallic brush or shaver if the fabrics seem to be piling up. Clean the outside of the spill first, then move inside to avoid circling or a soil ring. To help stop general soiling, contact a furniture cleaning service for larger stains.
- WS – On this furniture, you may use water or a cleaner with a solvent base. It is not advisable to use steam cleaning or hot water extraction. Cushion covers shouldn’t be taken off and laundered or dry cleaned. When cleaning up a spill, blot the liquid or solid substance as soon as possible. To avoid water or soil rings, first, remove stains or spots from the outside before working your way inside. For larger, more bothersome stains and to stop general soiling, use an upholstery cleaning service.
- X – Using only a vacuum or a non-metallic, stiff bristle brush, lightly brush the surface. Use only non-solvent or water-based cleaners. To avoid long-lasting stains and general soiling, use an upholstery cleaning professional.
Ask Your Furniture Manufacturer Or Furniture Store
Anything labeled with the code X or S should never be washed in the washing machine. To assist you in cleaning your furniture, I recommend giving a professional upholstery or furniture cleaning a call.
When you see the code WS or W, I would still inquire about the suitability of washing them in the washing machine by calling your furniture manufacturer or retailer.
You will be questioned about the type of furniture, the fiber content, and the cleaning code that we previously covered. They may even advise hiring a professional upholstery cleaner so you can avoid damaging your fabrics.
Cleaning upholstery fabrics needs some tips, and it is important to clean upholstery fabrics before using them for the first time, but don’t worry, we have provided you with a Upholstery Fabric Cleaning Guide. It can tell you how to clean different types of upholstery fabrics.
How to Wash Upholstery Fabric in the Washing Machine?
Because internal fillings are typically not water-friendly, not all upholstery fabrics may be suitable for a machine wash.
With that said, if the care label recommends machine washing, you can go ahead with the process; otherwise, you may need to detach the fabric from the furniture frame and wash it separately.
Although most of the time it can be machine-washed, just because a piece of fabric can be removed from furniture does not mean that it can also be machine-washed. Simply check the care label to see if the fabric can be machine washed.
Follow the instructions below to wash your upholstery fabric once you’ve determined that it can be machine washed.
Step 1: Pretreat the Fabric
Pretreat the stains with a mild stain remover that is suitable for the job or a mild detergent diluted in water after you have detached or separated the fabric from the furniture.
Simply dip a soft microfiber cloth in the detergent solution and blot the stained areas, and then gently rub the stains using a soft brush in a circular motion. After that, dab the blotted area with a fresh microfiber cloth or a paper towel.
Step 2: Add Mild Detergent to the Washer’s Detergent Tray
The next step is to fill the detergent tray of your washing machine with a mild detergent. Use a vinegar solution (vinegar diluted in water) instead of a detergent if the care label forbids the use of any.
Step 3: Select the Right Wash Cycle
As high-temperature washing can harm the fabric, switch the washer to a gentle wash cycle and cold water.
These are the best wash settings.
- Wash Type: Delicate
- Pre-Wash: Not required as pretreating is recommended
- Detergent Type: Mild (Refer to the care label)
- Spin Speed: Normal
- Soil Level: Low
- Dryer: Not Recommended, instead air dry the fabric naturally
Step 4: Hit the Start Wash Cycle Button
Start the washing cycle right away, and then wait for it to finish.
Step 5: Air Dry the Upholstery Fabric Naturally
Remove the fabric from the washer without wringing it. Instead, hang them to allow the fabric to dry out. After the extra water has been drained, hang the items to dry naturally on a clothesline.
Note: The upholstery fabric should not be dried outside in the sun because it will fade.
Although it can be difficult, removing stains from upholstery is not impossible. Here are some guides you can follow to clean different stains from upholstery:
Final Thoughts: Wash Upholstery Fabric in the Washing Machine
Thank you for reading our blog post on washing upholstery fabric in a washing machine. The easiest fabrics to clean are those marked with a W because water and water-based detergents can be used safely on them.
Having said that, not all fabrics are created equal, so before choosing to wash them, make sure you read the care label. If you are unable to identify the fabric type or if you are unsure of the cleaning procedure, speak with the furniture manufacturer.
How Often Should You Wash Couch Cushion Covers?
At least once a month, you should wash the covers for your couch cushions. Increased cleaning will increase their lifespan and get rid of stains and dirt. Wash your cushions in cold water with a gentle detergent. Use only water; do not bleach or soften clothing.
Does Upholstery Fabric Shrink When Washed?
Even if washed in cold water and air dried, your fabric will likely shrink a certain amount. This shouldn’t be a major problem if you’re ready for it and bring a little extra. It will shrink but in different amounts.
Can You Wash Dry Clean Only Upholstery Fabric?
Dry Cleaning / Code “S” Upholstery fabrics labeled as Code “S” must be dry solvent cleaned only. For delicate or non-colorfast fabrics that can be harmed by water-based cleaning techniques, dry solvent cleaning is the preferred method.