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How often should you really be cleaning your couch cushions?

It's probably less than you think.

How often should you clean your cushions Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

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A lot of articles that talk about how often you should clean something try to embarrass or scare you. Luckily, we’ve got no such angle for how often to clean your upholstery and cushions. It takes years, if not decades, for a couch to become a biohazard, so you’re probably in the clear.

The rule of thumb is to clean on an as-needed basis—clean when you feel it’s dirty. However, we have some advice on cleaning schedules and techniques to help minimize the headache. If you’re looking for how to clean all your furniture, we’ve got a guide on cleaning everything from glass to steel.

How often should I clean slipcovers?

Aim to wash slipcovers, the removable outer layer of your couch cushions and pillows, once or twice a year. If you wash them too often, you’ll wear them out prematurely.

Before you wash your slipcovers, be sure to check the tag to find out the best way to do so. Here are the popular cleaning codes:

Many eco-detergents are water-based and mild enough for delicate fabrics.
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

Many eco-detergents are water-based and mild enough for delicate fabrics.

W: This means to use a water-based detergent. Many eco-detergents are water-based.

S: Technically, it means spot clean with water-free detergent. For a deep clean, it needs to be brought to the dry cleaners.

WS: Can be dry cleaned or cleaned with a water-based detergent.

O: Stands for organic fabric. These types of fabrics fare best in cold water.

X: Vacuum-only fabric. If you get a stain on this, you have to call a professional to get it out.

How often should I vacuum between the cushions?

If you have pets and kids, vacuuming at least once a week will help keep the mess down.

It depends on your lifestyle. People with pets and small children would benefit from vacuuming between the cushions once a week. You’ll probably find a bunch of missing stuff! Other than that, you can probably get away with vacuuming once a month.

How often should I clean a leather couch?

Leather should be conditioned at least once every other year to keep it soft.

If your leather couch cushions sit in the sun, using a leather cleaner and conditioner once every six months will keep the exterior of your cushions supple. People who keep their leather couches secluded can probably get away with using conditioner once a year to every other year.

How often should I clean outdoor furniture cushions?

Just treat your outdoor furniture with protectant once in a while and it'll be fine.

Every year. Outdoor furniture has the largest potential to develop mold and mildew. While most outdoor furniture comes with a protective coating, it deteriorates over time. Spray outdoor fabric protector every year to help prevent water and stains from seeping into the cushions.

What if I don’t want to clean my cushions?

Get new furniture if you don't want to clean your old stuff.

This isn’t as silly a question as you might think. Recent trends have developed around the idea of buying new furniture for redecorating and renewing a space rather than keeping furniture around forever. If that’s more your jam, we’ve got the skinny on the best places to buy furniture online.

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