how to wash velvet couch covers

How To Wash Velvet Couch Covers

Maintaining velvet couch covers isn’t a big deal. Good news is that sometimes you don’t even need water. A mild cleaning solution of dish soap and water can tackle even set-in stains that form on your velvet covers! 

Let’s go through all the ways you can maintain velvet couch covers to keep them at optimal quality! 

How To Wash Velvet Couch Covers

Read the fabric care label

When it comes to velvet, you should always check the fabric care label first before attempting to wash it. Velvet comes in a variety of fabric fibers, from natural to synthetic, or even a blend of them. Therefore, there’s a huge variation in the way that it is washed. 

Most velvet couch covers that are removable are typically machine or hand washable, and are made from durable fibers like cotton. 

Silk velvet and those made from delicate materials cannot be submerged in water, and are mostly recommended to be spot cleaned. The reason in this case has more to do with the fibers’ intolerance to water or agitation as opposed to the delicate construction of the velvet.

For velvet made with durable fibers such as polyester, and cant be washed, the problem really isn’t about submerging them in water, or the agitation of the washer, because the fibers can withstand that. The problem is about the nap/pile in the fabric construction, and also the finishing or style of weaving or knitting employed. 

When a nap or pile gets crushed due to excessive agitation of the washer, the angle becomes altered, and pressure marking (which is the false look of dye inconsistency) becomes evident. 

Trying to revive a damaged pile can be next to impossible. So you’ll have to bear with the pressure marking for as long as you’re keeping that fabric on the couch.

Test an inconspicuous area

For velvet that can be washed, test an inconspicuous area first to determine what’s going to happen in the washer or during washing. 

Sometimes, it is the detergent that will cause the damage. Other times, it is the water temperature. So test an inconspicious area of the fabric first and try to see what happens after rinsing and drying. If nothing happens to the velvet fabric, you can go ahead and put it in the washing machine or wash it by hand. Otherwise, you should take it to the dry cleaners or spot clean it.

As for the choice of detergent to use on your velvet covers, use mild detergents and avoid all the heavy duty products that can cause damage to the naps or the nature of weaving.

Avoid using special products like boosters, stain remover and bleach too. 

Wash all velvet couch covers nap side in

The nap on your velvet is the tiny hair-like strands that make it feel soft and fluffy. When you’re washing velvet, always try as much as possible to minimize crushing of the naps or pile especially when you’re using the washing machine. Turn the covers inside out to achieve this. 

Aside from them getting crushed, the piles on velvet are also quite fond of lints. When you have leftover lints in your washer from towels, they’re likely to collect in the piles and be difficult to remove. So it’s always a good idea to wash velvet couch covers inside out.

When washing velvet in the washer, use the delicate cycle and make sure to opt for cold water. The delicate cycle offers little agitation and slow spin speed which is perfect for delicate materials like velvet. Cold water is naturally friendly on fabrics too, so you don’t have much to worry about in the washer.

When you’re done with washing, rinse and put it in the dryer to tumble dry. Use a low temperature so you don’t burn up the naps. The heat and tumbling will help restore the velvet’s softness and fluffiness. 

If you’re washing by hand, go as gently as possible. Rely more on soaking than scrubbing. And don’t wring. 

Always wash velvet covers alone

When washing velvet covers, do them alone. Washing them with rough clothes can cause destruction of the naps which is an annoying problem to deal with. You can also have lints collected on them which can be difficult to remove.

Never place iron directly on pile

Heat is velvet’s worst enemy. It will crush the pile and make your fabric look unevenly dyed. 

If you must iron out wrinkles on velvet couch covers, use a steam iron and place the garment on a thick turkish towel or thick cloth. Hold the iron over the surface of the fabric (turned pile side down) and let steam penetrate the cloth and release wrinkles.

Do not press iron directly on velvet as that can crush the pile and leave a permanent impression on the fabric. 

Best way to wash velvet without care label

Your velvet couch covers may not necessarily come with a care label, or, cannot be removed. In that case, how do you get them clean and revived? 

Brush using a soft or velvet brush and vacuum weekly

Velvet skinned to your couch should not be soaked in water. Because they cannot be removed, it’s a solid indication that the manufacturer never wanted water on them in the first place. 

Water aside, your best bet to keep velvet looking alive is to brush and vacuum clean. And do so weekly. 

With velvet, pressure marking is bound to happen. Pressure marking is when velvet naps fall flat, thereby giving the overall fabric an uneven look.

Brushing weekly helps to minimize this problem as well as remove dirt and lint that may have collected on the fabric. 

Always brush in the direction of the nap or pile and go gently. If you find that brushing doesn’t do much to restore the nap positions, and thus your fabric is looking uneven, steam it lightly. That should raise the piles up with time and restore your velvet’s natural look. 

If brushing doesn’t work to revive back the flat fibers, place a damp cloth over the velvet cover overnight. The moisture should help raise the flat fibers. 

Vacuuming will also help remove dust that may have collected on the fabric. Vacuum using a soft brush attachment and in the direction of the pile to avoid shifting them. 

Treat stains as they form

Stains are bound to happen on your velvet couch, and when they do, knowing how best to tackle them will ensure you’re taking care of your velvet the right way! 

When you have fresh liquid stains on your velvet couch covers, use a paper towel to blot the liquid out. Use as much paper towel and avoid scrubbing hard which can shift the positioning of the naps. Because the construction of velvet naturally repels water, you can easily blot away the spill without having any residue in there. But take note of hot spills, as they move faster into the fabric and set. So you have to act quickly. 

After removing as much liquid as possible from the spot, dry the spot using a hairdryer at no heat setting. You can brush in the direction of the pile as you do this, to prevent matting. 

For solid stains, use the blunt edge of a knife to lift off this stain as gently as possible. 

If you have grease or ink, make a solution of ¼ teaspoon of liquid dish soap, two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, and 500ml of water. 

Put it in a spray bottle that diffuses water over a wide area (as opposed to one that jets out water to a narrow spot) — to prevent water from sinking deep into one area of the couch foam, then spray onto a cleaning cloth and use the cloth to rub gently over the stain area. Work it lightly on all sides to release the stain from the surface of the velvet and transfer it onto the cloth. 

Take stubborn stains to the dry cleaners or professional upholstery cleaner

If you have a stubborn stain like ink or a set-in stain, always take it to the dry cleaners or professional upholstery cleaner to prevent damage to the velvet cover. 

Final Thoughts

To clean velvet couch covers, first determine if they can be washed, because not all velvet materials can be washed. Mostly, velvet covers that can be removed are machine or hand washable, and those that cannot be removed cannot be washed. 

For washable covers, use the delicate cycle of the washer and make sure to wash the cover inside out. If washing by hand, rely more on soaking to release the dirt and soiling. 

For non removable covers, brush them weekly and vacuum using a soft brush attachment. 

Treat fresh liquid stains by blotting them with absorbent paper. For set-in stains, use a solution of dish soap, rubbing alcohol and water.

Your velvet covers will thank you for that!