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How To Wash Sofa Covers Without Shrinking?

How To Wash Sofa Covers Without Shrinking?

Sofa covers are crucial in preserving your furniture's aesthetic appeal and longevity. They act as a protective shield against spills, stains, and everyday wear and tear. However, the challenge arises when it comes time to clean these covers. Many people have faced the frustrating issue of sofa covers shrinking after a wash. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the reasons behind sofa covers shrinking and provide step-by-step instructions on how to wash sofa covers without encountering this problem.

Why Do Sofa Covers Shrink When Washed?

Understanding why sofa covers shrink is essential to prevent this issue in the future. Most sofa covers are made from fabrics that can shrink when exposed to heat or moisture. Factors like the type of fabric, washing method, and water temperature all contribute to the potential for shrinkage. Common materials used for sofa covers include cotton, polyester, and blends of these fabrics. Cotton, in particular, is known for its tendency to shrink if not handled properly during washing. Shop sofa protector covers at Inspire Homeware.

How To Wash Sofa Covers By Hand?

Washing sofa covers by hand is a gentle and effective method to prevent shrinkage. Follow these steps to ensure your sofa covers remain in pristine condition:

  1. Read the Care Label: Check the care label on your sofa covers before washing. It provides valuable information about the recommended washing method, water temperature, and special instructions.
  2. Remove Excess Debris: Shake or brush off any loose dirt or debris from the sofa covers before washing. This helps prevent these particles from embedding themselves in the fabric during washing.
  3. Prepare a Gentle Cleaning Solution: Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a mild detergent. Avoid harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can damage the fabric and contribute to shrinkage.
  4. Soak and Gently Agitate: Submerge the sofa covers in soapy water, ensuring even coverage. Gently agitate the covers with your hands, paying extra attention to stained or soiled areas. Allow them to soak for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Rinse Thoroughly: Drain the soapy water and rinse the sofa covers under cool running water until all detergent is removed. Press out excess water without wringing or twisting the fabric.
  6. Air Dry: Lay the sofa covers flat on a clean, dry towel and reshape them to their original dimensions. Allow them to air dry completely before putting them back on the sofa.

How Do You Wash Sofa Covers by Washing Machine?

If you prefer the convenience of a washing machine, follow these steps to ensure your sofa covers stay shrink-free:

  1. Check the Care Label: As with hand washing, check the care label on the sofa covers for specific washing instructions.
  2. Zip-Up Zippers and Fasten Buttons: Before placing the covers in the washing machine, zip up any zippers and fasten buttons. This prevents snagging and damage during the wash.
  3. Use a Gentle Cycle: Select a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine to minimise agitation. Additionally, use cold water to reduce the risk of shrinkage further.
  4. Mild Detergent Only: Add a small amount of mild detergent to the washing machine. Avoid using excessive detergent, as it can be challenging to rinse out completely.
  5. Air Dry After Washing: Once the washing cycle is complete, remove the sofa covers from the machine promptly. Do not leave them sitting in the machine, as this can contribute to wrinkles and shrinkage. Air dry the covers as described in the hand-washing method.

Can You Put Sofa Covers In The Dryer?

While it's tempting to speed up the drying process using a dryer, it's generally not recommended for sofa covers. High heat can cause fabrics to shrink and lose their shape. Use a low-heat setting if the care label explicitly states that the sofa covers can be tumble-dried. However, air drying remains the safest option to maintain the integrity of the fabric.


Preserving the life and appearance of your sofa covers requires careful consideration during washing. By understanding why sofa covers shrink and following the appropriate washing methods, you can keep your covers looking fresh and vibrant for an extended period. Whether you wash by hand or use a washing machine, the key is to be gentle and attentive to the specific care instructions provided by the manufacturer.


How Often Should You Wash Your Sofa Covers?

The frequency of washing depends on usage and the presence of stains or spills. Generally, it's recommended to wash sofa covers every 1-2 months for regular maintenance.

How Long Does A Sofa Cover Last?

The lifespan of a sofa cover varies depending on the quality of the fabric and how well it is maintained. With proper care, a good-quality sofa cover can last for several years.

Can All Sofa Covers Be Machine-Washed?

Not all sofa covers are suitable for machine washing. Always check the care label for specific instructions. Some delicate fabrics may require hand washing to prevent damage.

What Should You Do If A Sofa Cover Shrinks?

If a sofa cover shrinks, stretch it gently while damp to regain its original shape. If the shrinkage is significant, consider repurposing it for a smaller piece of furniture.

Are There Any Alternatives To Traditional Washing Methods?

Dry cleaning is an alternative for sofa covers labelled as dry clean only. Vacuuming and spot cleaning with a fabric cleaner can also help maintain cleanliness between washes. Always follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer.

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