Are You Cleaning Your Couch Covers Enough?

Couches are a staple furniture item in almost every home, offering a place to comfortably relax and rest. There are many different available materials for couches, including leather, faux leather, linen, and fabric. However, these materials are not invulnerable to things like spills, scratches, and messes from children and pets. For this reason, many people opt to cover their couch with a slipcover. Plus, as Slipcover Shop notes, slipcovers offer an affordable and easy way to change up your couch's appearance without having to get an entirely new one.

Slipcovers are also great due to how much easier they are to clean than a regular couch — you just have to remove and wash the covers. However, many people may not be cleaning their slipcovers often enough. You likely do after a big spill or if there's a build-up of dirt or hair, but did you know that a 2013 study conducted by Unicef and Domestos found that sofas are dirtier than toilets and fridge handles (via the Daily Express)? If you have a couch slipcover, you may want to increase how often you clean it.

Wash at least once or twice a year

Couch slipcovers act identically to the actual surface of your couch, meaning they accumulate all the normal dirt, bacteria, germs, etc. that your couch usually would. As such, you should be deep cleaning your couch covers just as often as you would get your upholstery deep cleaned.

According to Kent Clean, the average person without pets or children should get their upholstery deep cleaned once a year. Those who have children and/or pets, though, should aim for at least twice a year. This is where having a slipcover is incredibly convenient, as instead of having to hire a professional or rent a heavy-duty steaming machine, you can usually just toss it in the washer.

A good way to check if it's time to wash your couch cover is by grabbing any white piece of fabric, ideally one made of cotton, and rubbing it on the cover. If the cloth is dirty, so is your couch cover. Of course, any visible blemishes can also indicate it's time to clean your couch cover.

How to properly wash couch cover

Washing couch covers is a lot easier and hassle-free than having to steam clean your upholstery. However, it isn't just as simple as tossing it into your washing machine. You need to take the necessary precautions to make sure your slipcover doesn't shrink or get misshapen in the process, in which case it may not fit on your couch afterward.

Before washing your slipcover, Rowe Furniture recommends running either an empty or cleaning cycle on your washing machine so there isn't any leftover dye or bleach that could stain it. You should also zip up the zippers so nothing gets snagged or ripped during the cycle. Ideally, you should separate the cover into two loads — the body and the pillows.

As for the cycle settings, consult the tag or manufacturer's label to know exactly what gentleness and temperature to wash it on. However, most couch covers will do best with a cool, delicate cycle with a gentle detergent. When the body is dry, put it in the dryer on tumble only for a few minutes — do not use any heat, and don't let it dry completely. While it's still damp, stretch it back out onto the couch and let it air dry to the shape of the couch. Do the same with the cushions and pillow covers.