sofa cover removed from sofa ready to wash without shrinking

How to Wash Sofa Covers Without Shrinking

Sofa covers are an essential aspect of home decor, not only adding aesthetic value but also providing a layer of protection against spills, dirt, and daily wear and tear. Over time, these covers naturally gather dust and stains, necessitating a proper wash. The dilemma often faced is how to sofa covers without shrinking or damage.

Washing sofa covers without shrinking them requires a blend of careful techniques. Use cold water with a mild detergent in a gentle cycle, hand wash with precision, or opt for professional dry cleaning. For best results, always check labels and avoid excessive heat during drying to maintain the cover’s original size and texture.

With the techniques listed below, you can ensure that your sofa covers remain pristine without the threat of shrinking.

Washing Sofa Covers in the Washer Without Shrinking Using Cold Water

Cold water paired with a mild detergent provides a gentle but effective way to wash fabrics. But only do this if the care label allows washing. This method ensures that your sofa covers are cleaned without much risk of shrinkage.

  1. Preliminary Check: Examine the cleaning instruction tag on your sofa cover. If it advises against machine washing, consider another method.
  2. Preparation: Remove the covers from the cushions.
  3. Machine Setup: Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle using cold water.
  4. Detergent Selection: Opt for a mild detergent. Refrain from using bleach or other strong chemicals.
  5. Load Machine Sensibly: Place the sofa covers in the washing machine without cramming them in. An overcrowded machine can cause uneven washing.
  6. Rinsing: After the cycle finishes, check the covers. If there’s any soapy feel or visible detergent, run a rinse cycle again.
  7. Drying Recommendations: Let the covers air dry, or if you must use a dryer, choose the lowest heat setting or a no-heat air fluff option.

Following these steps will help maintain the size and texture of your sofa covers while ensuring they’re thoroughly cleaned.

Stop Sofa Covers Shrinking By Hand Washing

Hand washing offers precision and control, especially for delicate fabrics or those with specific cleaning needs. This method ensures a gentle yet thorough cleaning of your sofa covers without shrinking. Always check the care label in case the sofa covers are dry clean only.

  1. Gather Supplies: Have a large tub or basin, cold water, and a mild detergent ready.
  2. Preparation: Detach the covers from the cushions.
  3. Water and Detergent: Fill the basin with cold water and mix in a small amount of the mild detergent until it’s dissolved.
  4. Soak and Clean: Immerse the sofa covers, gently moving them through the water to ensure they’re properly cleaned.
  5. Extended Soaking: Let the covers rest in the soapy solution for about 30 minutes. This helps in lifting dirt and stains.
  6. Rinsing Process: Empty the soapy water from the basin and refill with clean cold water. Submerge the covers, agitating them to remove detergent. Repeat this until the water runs clear and free of soap.
  7. Removing Excess Water: Press the covers against the side of the basin to remove excess water. Avoid wringing as it can distort the fabric shape.
  8. Drying Technique: Place the covers on a flat surface away from direct sunlight. Turn them occasionally to ensure even drying.

With patience and gentle care, hand washing can yield excellent results, preserving the integrity and longevity of your sofa covers.

Dry Cleaning to Stop Sofa Covers Shrinking

Entrusting your sofa covers to professionals can be a wise decision, especially for fabrics that require specific care. Dry cleaning offers a deep and thorough cleanse without the use of water, making it a top choice for many materials. It’s a perfect cleaning method to remove the risk of sofa cover shrinkage.

  1. Read Labels: Before proceeding, inspect the care label on your sofa covers to confirm they’re safe for dry cleaning.
  2. Select a Reputable Cleaner: Do some research or seek recommendations to find a trusted dry cleaner in your area.
  3. Discuss Concerns: When dropping off your covers, communicate any specific stains or areas of concern. Ensure the cleaner is aware of the importance of avoiding any shrinkage of the sofa covers.
  4. Stain Pointers: If there are particular stains, it’s beneficial to point them out. Some stains require special treatment or pre-treatment before the standard cleaning process.
  5. Pick-Up Timing: Inquire about the time it will take for the cleaning process to be completed so you can plan your pick-up accordingly.
  6. Post-Cleaning Inspection: Once you retrieve your covers, inspect them for any missed spots or issues before leaving the establishment. This gives you a chance to address any concerns immediately.
  7. Storage and Return: Wait until the covers are fully dry, even after the dry cleaning process, before placing them back onto the cushions. This helps prevent any unwanted moisture buildup.

By choosing the dry cleaning method, you’re ensuring that your sofa covers receive the care they deserve, all while preserving their original form and charm without shrinking.


What temperature should I wash my sofa covers at to avoid shrinking?

Always wash your sofa covers in cold water, either by hand or using a washing machine’s cold setting, to minimize the risk of shrinkage.

How to dry sofa covers without shrinking them?

The best method is to air dry by laying them flat. Avoid direct sunlight, which can fade colors. If you’re using a dryer, opt for the lowest heat setting or a no-heat air fluff option.

How often should I wash my sofa covers?

For general upkeep, washing sofa covers once every 2-3 months is recommended. However, if there’s a spill or stain, immediate cleaning is advisable.

Should I wash my sofa covers separately from other laundry items?

Yes. Washing them separately reduces the risk of color bleeding and ensures a more thorough cleaning.


Maintaining the pristine look of sofa covers without risking shrinkage is a concern for many. By employing methods such as cold water washing, hand washing, or seeking professional dry cleaning services, this task becomes manageable.

Regular care and attention to the specific needs of the fabric will ensure longevity and an ever-fresh appearance for your sofa covers.