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How To Clean Couch Pillows (Including The Foam Cushion)

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

Couch pillows are an integral part of our living spaces, providing both comfort and style. That means it gets a lot of visitors and foot traffic. From children covered in chocolate to adults drinking their evening wine, couches see it all.

Regular cleaning of couch pillows, including foam cushions, is crucial to maintain their cleanliness and extend their lifespan. In this guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of cleaning couch pillows, ensuring they are fresh, odour-free, and inviting.

By following these techniques, you can restore the beauty and comfort of your couch, creating a welcoming environment for relaxation and enjoyment.

Cleaning Your Couch Pillows & The Foam Cushion

You can either hand wash or machine wash your couch pillows. To do it by hand, fill a large basin with lukewarm water and mild detergent. Allow it to soak and gently agitate with your hands. To clean the couch cushion, you shouldn't submerge in water. Carry on reading to find out how to clean couch foam as it's too tricky to summarize.

Assessing Pillow Materials

Before beginning the cleaning process, it's important to assess the materials used in your couch pillows. Different materials, such as cotton, synthetic fibres, or memory foam, require specific cleaning methods. This step will help you choose the appropriate cleaning technique for your pillows.

Preparing for Cleaning

  • Check Manufacturer's Instructions: Read the care label or manufacturer's instructions on the couch pillows. They may provide specific guidance on cleaning methods and recommended products.

  • Removing Pillow Covers: If your couch pillows have removable covers, unzip or unfasten them and remove them for separate washing. Check the care label on the covers for specific cleaning instructions.

  • Spot Cleaning: Inspect the pillows for any visible stains or spills. Spot clean these areas using a gentle detergent or stain remover suitable for the pillow material. Test the cleaning product on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn't cause any discoloration or damage.

Cleaning Techniques

  • Hand Washing: If your couch pillows are small and have removable covers, you can hand wash them in a basin or sink. Fill the basin with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Gently agitate the pillows in the soapy water, focusing on stained areas. Rinse thoroughly and squeeze out excess water. Allow the pillows to air dry.

  • Machine Washing: Machine washing is suitable for larger pillows or pillows without removable covers. Check the care label to ensure the pillows are machine washable. Place the pillows in a front-loading washing machine, add a small amount of mild detergent, and set the machine to a gentle or delicate cycle. Use cold water to prevent shrinkage or damage. Once the cycle is complete, remove the pillows and squeeze out excess water. Allow them to air dry completely.

Foam Cushion Cleaning

Foam cushions require extra care as they cannot be submerged in water. They can however be deep cleaned with other types of chemical cleaning but should only be carried out in cases such as if you have urine in your couch foam.

The reason you can't submerge foam in water is that you will almost certainly create a mouldy cushion. If you use a strong chemical like bleach though, this isn't a problem.

Spot cleaning is the safest method for foam cushions.

Mix a small amount of mild detergent with water to create a gentle cleaning solution. Dampen a clean cloth or sponge in the solution and gently blot the stained areas. Avoid scrubbing vigorously to prevent damage to the foam.

The great thing about a foam cushion is that you can really push down on the stain, this makes getting to the deeper parts of the cushion possible.

Once the stains are removed, blot with a clean, damp cloth to rinse. Allow the foam cushions to air dry thoroughly before placing them back in the pillow covers.

Drying and Fluffing

Air Drying: After cleaning, it is crucial to allow the pillows to air dry completely. Lay them flat on a clean towel or drying rack in a well-ventilated area. Rotate the pillows periodically to ensure even drying. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources, as they can damage the pillow's fabric or filling.

Read our 'how to dry your couch pillows' for a full guide.

Fluffing and Reshaping: Once the pillows are completely dry, fluff them by gently kneading or squeezing them. This helps to redistribute the filling and restore their original shape and loftiness. Give them a good shake to further fluff up the pillows.

Maintaining Freshness

To keep your couch pillows fresh between cleanings, consider the following tips:

  • Regular Vacuuming: Use a soft brush attachment or upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris from the surface of the pillows.

  • Pillow Protectors: Invest in pillow protectors to keep your pillows clean and shield them from spills and stains. These protective covers are easy to remove and wash separately.

  • Odour Removal: To eliminate odours, sprinkle baking soda on the pillows and let it sit for a few hours. Vacuum the baking soda off the pillows to remove any trapped odours.


Regular cleaning of couch pillows, including foam cushions, is essential for maintaining a clean and inviting living space.

By following the step-by-step techniques outlined in this guide, you can effectively remove dirt, stains, and odours from your couch pillows.

Remember to assess the pillow materials, spot clean as needed, choose the appropriate cleaning method, and allow ample time for drying.

With proper care and maintenance, your couch pillows will not only look fresh and clean but also provide optimal comfort for relaxing and enjoying quality time on your couch.

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