How to Clean Couch Cushions

Our couch sees A LOT of traffic. It’s really the only place in our house where we can kick back and relax. We sit on it to watch TV, Matt lies on it to take naps, and sometimes we bring our plates over and eat dinner on it. Needless to say this couch has seen its far share of wear and tear over the past 4 years… including some stains.

Cleaning_Couch_Cushions_Family_Room_AfterIf you came over to see it though, I’m confident you would think it looks pretty darn good partly because of these subtle tricks I use to hide some of the imperfections and partly because I clean it regularly.

Today we are diving into the details on how I clean my couch. This trick will definitely not work with all couch materials so PLEASE CHECK YOURS BEFORE TRYING THIS AT HOME. You don’t want to put your couch covers in the washing machine or dryer only to find that they all shrunk and now you need a new couch! #notgoodCleaning_Couch_Cushions_Family_Room-before-no-pillows

If this will work for your specific couch I highly recommend looking into this trick because the process is super easy and really does make a difference, even if it’s hard to capture in these photos. Here’s how I clean my couch covers in about 2 hours… total!

1. Remove the couch’s pillow cases (covers)Cleaning_Couch_Cushions_removing-pillow-casecouch_cleaning

My couch has zippers, which allows me to remove the pillows from the casings very easily. I usually do a few at a time so I can keep the pillows straight while they’re washing/drying.Cleaning_Couch_Cushions_Family_Room-wash-machine

2. Wash the casesCleaning_Couch_sanitize

Then I take the pillow cases and wash them in our washing machine using regular laundry detergent. I typically only put about half of the cases in at a time so it doesn’t get overstuffed. I also use the SANITIZE option on my washing machine so that they get the deepest clean possible, especially since I don’t clean the cushions as often as I probably should.

3. Dry the caseCleaning_Couch_Cushions_laundry_sanitation

I dry my pillow cases in my dryer, but I would advise you to look at the labels on your pillow cases before taking this step. My cases do shrink up a tiny bit in the dryer, which I like but that could be extremely problematic if your cases shrink too much. Please read your label before attempting this step.

I use a dryer sheet so the pillow cases smell extra fresh after they’re clean!

4. Stuff the pillows back in the pillow casesCleaning_Couch_Cushions_Family_Room-no-pillows-after

Like I mentioned, drying my pillow cases shrinks them a tiny bit. I actually like when this happens because it makes the pillow inside of the covers look a lot more plush and “perky”. It’s harder to get the pillow inside the cover, but over time they go back to normal. It’s hard to photograph the fabric for this project, but you can tell how much “perkier” the cushions are in the photo above.

5. Put the couch cushions back on the couch — you’re done!Cleaning_Couch_Cushions_Family_Room-no-pillows

See, I told you this was easy! Life happens and I don’t want to be living in a house where we can’t do things like eat pizza on the couch during movie night because we’re afraid to ruin the couch. Those nights are too fun to skip… especially for something so trivial like making a stain. But don’t get me wrong here… I’m not excited or totally unfazed when a stain appears, but I’m a lot more chill knowing it’s most-likely temporary.

Photo Storyboard

Here’s a photo line-up of the before, during and after so you can have more of a reference:Cleaning_Couch_Cushions_Family_Room_AfterCleaning_Couch_Cushions_Family_Room-before-no-pillowsCleaning_Couch_Cushions_Family_Room-no-pillows-afterCleaning_Couch_Cushions_Family_Room-coffee_table-fiddle

And from a different angle:


I will do a few things differently when I buy my next couch (more thoughts about that in this post) but one thing I will do exactly the same is buying a couch where the fabric/cushions can be cleaned. Especially if there are kids in the mix someday, a washable couch is a necessity on my couch wish list.Cleaning_Couch_Cushions_Family_Room-after-2


  • So funny, I was just looking online at sofas as we are in the market for a new sectional. And as I was browsing, my main criteria was removeable/washable slipcovers. Then I jump over to my fave blog and your post is about just that very thing! #youreadmymind. We currently have the IKEA ektorp sectional and it has been good to us, but we are looking for something a little more comfy. I am struggling with sticker shock, IKEA is just so affordable. Any suggestions on where to look?

    • Hahaha, we’re glad we are not the only ones! Thanks so much Kerri, you made our day! We are so happy that searching for “removable/washable slipcovers” is a thing but we totally hear you on the sticker shock. Couches are such an investment and finding a cheap one (that’s comfy/quality) is HARD. We don’t really know where to advise you for cheap couches but we do advise you to wait for a big furniture sale when you do find the one. I got a large percentage off of my couch by waiting until the big sale right after Christmas, maybe they’ll be an end-of-the-summer sale or Labor Day Sale coming up? I’d find out when the next big sale is at the retailer you’re shopping at and have your choice ready for then. It probably won’t be “cheap” but at least it’ll save you some money. Good luck! Let us know where you end up choosing.

  • shawnna griffin

    hey girl- great tips!

  • Ashley

    We have 3 very active dogs and are planning to have kids in the next few years, so we have a large leather sectional. I was a little hesitant about the leather at first, but my husband insisted because of all the dog hair and 2 years later I could not be happier with it! It actually looks amazing and “contemporary” (not like it belongs in a man cave!), is the most comfortable couch I’ve ever sat (or slept) on, and is beyond easy to maintain! Hair is never an issue, and if we spill anything on it wipes right up! We have a pretty dry climate, so I do condition it with leather condition ~ once per month, but overall has barely any upkeep to keep it looking brand new!

    • I do love a leather couch! Thanks for your recommendation, I’m definitely putting this info in my arsenal for future couch decisions.