Keeping a couch clean and looking good can be difficult, especially if you have pets, children or clumsy guests. The best course of action is to try to prevent the worst of the spills and stains, such as training the dog to stay off the couch and having the kids eat meals somewhere else. When the couch does need cleaning, however, consider these options.
Pillow Cover Fabric
The first consideration is whether the fabric of the pillow cover is washable. See if you can find a tag on one of the pillows. You need to know the content of the fabric. If the fabric is linen, silk, wool or 100 percent cotton, you should take the covers to a dry cleaners. If the covers have a high content of synthetic fiber such as polyester or nylon, they probably are washable. Be certain check for color-fastness by wetting an a hidden spot of the cover and seeing if the color runs.
If the pillow covers are washable and removable, then remove them, close the zippers, and wash in a front-leading washing machine using a detergent for delicate fabrics. You may have to go to the laundromat, depending on what kind of washing machine you have. The agitator in a top-loading washing machine is hard on fabrics, so avoid this kind of machine. If the covers are not removable, you can take out a seam to remove the pillow and then sew the pillow back into the cover later. You also can wash the pillow with the cover on.
When to Wash the Pillow Itself
If whatever happened to your pillow has soaked beyond the pillow cover, you probably have a smelly, soggy mess on your hands. Dealing with it as soon as possible is essential because if mold or mildew has set in, the pillows are ruined. You cannot remove mold or mildew from soft, permeable materials. Washing the pillow itself is a little risky, but the alternative is to replace the couch.
Washing the Pillow
The challenge here is to wash the pillow without damaging it. Use a large-capacity front-loading washing machine. Use the delicate cycle and a detergent made for fine fabrics. You want to let the pillow soak in warm water, rinse and spin. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the washer the stain is urine. If you can't find a washer big enough to accommodate the pillow, you can wash it in the bathtub. Squeeze the soapy water through the cushion several times, let it soak for 10 minutes, then use the shower nozzle to rinse the pillow until the water runs clean. Squeeze out the water. If your pillow is made of foam, air dry it, put it out in the sun, or dry it in front of a heater, keeping it at least 3 feet away. If the pillow is feather or down, dry it in an extra-large capacity dryer with two tennis balls. Remove the pillow and fluff it every 20 minutes—you can fix matted feathers or down.