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 fair share of wear and tear over the past 4 years… including some stains.

How to refresh and rejuvenate your couch cushions

If you came over to see it though, I’m confident you would think it looks pretty 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 couch cushions. 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! #notgood

How to Clean Couch Cushions

Before the big clean, the cushions are a little sad and dingy.

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 pillowcases (covers)First, carefully remove the covers from your cushionsRemove the covers from each of your cushions

My covers have been removed and are all set to be washed.

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.

2. Wash the casesWash and sanitize your cushions in your washing machine- READ YOUR CARE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY FIRST

Then I take the pillowcases 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 caseDry the cases in your dryer, but again, check your care instructions first

I dry my pillowcases in my dryer, but I would advise you to look at the labels on your pillowcases 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 pillowcases smell extra fresh after they’re clean!

4. Stuff the pillows back in the pillowcasesInsert the cushions back into the cases, and your couch looks like new again!

Like I mentioned, drying my pillowcases shrinks them a tiny bit. I actually like when this happens because it makes the pillow inside of the covers look a lot plusher 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 couchPlace the cushions back on the couch, they may seem stiff, but it'll make the couch feel new again

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 eating 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.

Before & After – Clean Couch Cushions

Add all your accent pieces back, and the couch feel brand new again!
The couch- before cleaning
And after- it's like a new piece!
Everything is reassembled and good as new

Here’s a photo line-up of the before, during and after so you can have more of a reference:

And from a different angle:

Family room couch- prior to refreshing the cushions
And after- the couch looks new again

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.How to clean couch cushions in your washing machine


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.