People have been known to remove sofa and chair cushion covers and wash them in a
washing machine. “That’s the reason for the zipper is on the back of the cushion,” they
think. Then they find it impossible to get the covers back on the cushions, or that the fabric
texture has somehow changed, or that the colors have been altered, never to match the frame
No. The reason for the zipper is to make cushion covers fit more perfectly. In fact, some
manufacturers staple cushion-cover zippers shut permanen7tly.
Cleaning agents designed for washing machines often contain chemical additives that upholstery
cleaners do not contain. These differences can produce fabric appearance differences
Upholstery fabrics sometimes contain fiber blends (such as rayon and cotton) that furniture
labels don’t explain. The rayon content is almost certain to cause shrinkage when
washed in water.
Both cushion and frame fabric on upholstered furniture should be cleaned by the same
method after testing for shrinkage and color fastness. It’s advisable to leave the task to a
trained, certified professional. Doing so could easily prove far less expensive.