How to Wash Office Chair Seat Cushions

Last Updated on by Artem

Poor maintenance of even absolute best office chair cushions leaves them looking old, worn out, stained, and smelly. You can give them a brand new look by simply washing off the dirt, spills, stains, and dust.

In this article, we outline all you need to know about washing and cleaning your seat cushions.

You will also learn how to remove the drips and spills.

Read along and discover more!

Washing Your Seat Cushions

Understand your Cushion’s Fabric

The first and most fundamental factor you’d want to know before washing your chair’s cushion and the cover is the fabric.

Fabrics vary depending on softness, breathability, drape, weight, durability, construction, and water repellency levels.

The diversity means that each cushion fabric needs special attention depending on its nature. Let’s take time and understand the different fabric types;

  • Canvas – super-strong fabric, suitable for printed designs. The canvas wraps over time with heavy use if it is cotton made. Such cushions are ideal for moderate use.
  • Velvet – this fabric comes with dense cut piles, giving it a luxuriously soft feel and look. It can withstand heavy-duty usage and remains a common and attractive choice for many households. This fabric cleans quite well when you tend to the stains or spills immediately.
  • Basketweave and Tweed – Basketweave and tweed are textured woven fabrics that can hide stains. They have an aesthetic appeal and wear well.
  • Chenille – it is a suitable pick home-usage. Like velvet, chenille has a cut pile that keeps it comfortable and abrasion-resistant.
  • Faux suede, Ultrasuede, and microfiber – these 3 are polyester multi-weave fabrics, with sueded piles to mimic genuine suede. Their surfaces come with an abrasion treatment, making them look all fuzzy and fabulous. The cushion fabrics are super strong, easy to clean, and abrasion-resistant and would be an excellent choice for heavy use in families with pets and kids.

Note: Some cushion fabrics are not machine-friendly due to their fibre weaving. The danger of placing such in a washer may damage or discolour the cushion or its casing. Others are delicate and could potentially elongate or stretch, making your pillow look old and worn out.

Understand your Cushion’s Fibers

The fibres of the fabric can be blended or be 100%, and this affects their overall performance and washing conditions. The most common fibre types for a seat cushion includes;

  • Acrylic: super durable, easy to clean, colourfast, heavy-use for upholstery
  • Nylon: easy to clean, super durable, high abrasion resistance
  • Olefin: super durable, easy to clean, colourfast, suitable for heavy-use upholstery
  • Cotton: comfortable, breathable, but low fade resistance
  • Linen: super strong, classic, breathable, but more minor stain and fade resistant. Not so suitable for heavy-use
  • Wool: excellent texture, luxurious, great feel, maintains its shape, less stain resistant
  • Silk: super strong, elegant, but not suitable for everyday use
  • Viscose: not durable but adds softness if blended with different fibres

Let’s begin the washing process…

Understand the Washing Process of Each Piece

Upholstery refers to the materials that make up the soft coverings of your sofa, chair, and any other furniture. They include the fabric, webbing, padding, battling, cushion covers, etc. Each has a unique washing mechanism.

In this section, you will understand how to wash various things.

Read along!


Before washing your cushion in a washing machine, be sure to read its label and understand the cleaning instructions. Pillows filled with feather, cotton, fiberfill, and down are machine-friendly using warm water and on a gentle cycle. Wash them at least twice so that they don’t get tossed around so much.

Notably, foam pillows should never go into the machine because the harsh agitation from the machine might break up the padding. If you have foam pillows, consider washing its removable cover first according to the cleaning instructions on the label, then vacuum clean the foam inside.

See also – best car seat cushion for long drives.

Padded Chair Cushions

The method you will employ in cleaning your padded chair cushion will depend on the nature of the dirt. Is it dust, pet hair, or dander? If yours falls into this category, vacuum cleaning is the way to go! Vacuuming will remove the odours and debris, making your chair cushion clean like never before.

If you’re working with stains, the cushion will require more special treatment.

  • Step 1: Remove the cushion cover
  • Step 2: Wash the cushion on a gentle cycle using a mild detergent
  • Step 3: Hang the cushion to air dry or dry on low heat

As stated earlier, this will only work for machine-friendly chair cushions.

Couch Cushion Covers

Use low heat or cold washing cycles when washing your couch cushion cover(s) in a washing machine. These cycles are friendly and will ensure the fabric is not damaged by all means. If your cushion fibres are likely to contract when in cold water, consider washing the seat cushions on a cold water cycle to avoid shrinkage.

Cushion foam

If you’ve noticed that you need to clean your whole foam cushion, we still got you covered! This can easily happen to best cushions for hemorrhoids and other conditions.

From the above explanation, you have understood how to clean the cushion. Now let’s focus on the cushion foam!

Remove the cushion cover and toss the foam in a bathtub full of warm water and soap. The water should be sufficient to allow you to submerge the foam for easy cleaning. Soapy water helps remove all the dirt, spills, and stains. Gently wash the form while squeezing it in your hands.

Repeat the procedure a few times until you’re satisfied with the washing.

Alternatively, remove the cushion from the chair, and separate the cover from the foam. Place the cushion foam flat on a clean surface and vacuum it on both sides while turning from one side to another.

This process ensures all the dirt embedded inside comes off. Treat any stains or strong odours, and spritz the foam with a cleaning solution. Rinse the foam with clean water and remove any excess moisture. Air-dry and hurray…your foam is all clean.

Note: You should never put foam in a dryer or washing machine. Even the sizable front-loading washing machines produce agitations that can easily damage the cushion foam.

Upholstery fabric

Set your machine to its cold water cycle setting. This setting is safe for upholstery fabrics with synthetic fibres that have low melting points. Pour your non-dyed pod or detergent into its compartment detergent and begin the washing.

Confirm that they are on the cold wash and rinse water cycle setting to avoid damaging or melting the upholstery fabric. If you’re working with synthetic fibres, no need to dry them for long hours. The dryer setting should also be on low heat to prevent damages.

Let the casings dry to a slightly damp feel, making it easy for you to put the foam back on. Allow the fabric and the foam to dry completely before allowing anyone to use them.

Note: While most removable upholstery fabrics are machine washable, some will demand professional cleaning. In such cases, it is advisable to consult pro-cleaners to confirm if your fabric is colorfast and preshrunk.

Let’s take it deeper to deep cleaning.

What is Deep Cleaning?

Deep cleaning is different from regular cleaning because it aims at reaching the deep dirt and grime in your upholstery. Ideally, deep cleaning covers the deeper areas which are not traditionally covered by regular cleaning.
Here’s how to deep clean your upholstery furniture;

  • Step 1: First up, remove the cushion cases and give them a thorough washing. You can wash them warm/cool to allow them to fluff up when in the dryer. The heat from the dryer will kill germs and freshen them up.
  • Step 2: Use a nozzle attachment for dirt removal from your furniture but if the furniture has pills, go for de-fuzzing. After this deep cleaning, sanitise your furniture to freshen it up and kill germs while getting rid of odours.
  • Step 3: After you’re done following the deep cleaning and sanitising procedure, put everything back, fluff up your cushions and enjoy your clean and neat upholstery.

General Information

Frequency of Washing

At the very least, your cushion should have a thorough wash every 3-4 months. This cleaning consistency ensures that the pillow maintains its brand-new look and remains healthy for use. And even though regular washing is necessary for cleanliness, it is equally important to know when to replace the cushions.

Pods and Detergent to Use

Many customers report that even though their cushion’s label instruction allowed machine washing, the cushions looked stained after the cleaning. The number one reason this could be happening is that the detergent or pods you use have dyes.

Always consider pods and laundry detergents that have no dyes. The advantage of non-dyed laundry detergents is that they can never stain your cushion or upholstery covers.

Such will work super well in standard front-loading washers, high-efficiency top-loading, and top load washers. If you’re using a pod, be sure to place it directly in the washer’s drum but not in the dispenser drawer. But if your washer has an automatic fabric softener or laundry detergent dispenser, go for these.

Amount of Laundry Detergent

Are you working with down or feather cushions and pillows? If yes, put the cushions in your washing machine, use cool water, pour in a mild detergent, and dry the seat cushions on low heat. High temperatures are not advisable for they can be damaging to the down.

Alternatively, you can first vacuum dust the cushion, use a damp cloth to spot clean it while applying as little mild laundry detergent amount as possible. After you are satisfied with the cleaning, lay the cushion flat to air dry. This second procedure is mainly advisable for pillows that are not machine friendly.

Drying your Seat Cushions

When you’re done with the washing processes, the next thing you will want to think of is drying them. If you were using a washer, be sure to choose the lowest heat dryer setting. Drying should last for a shorter duration.

Drying synthetic and natural fibres can be pretty tricky. For synthetic fibres, you will be risking damaging or melting the material if you place it in a drier. On the other hand, natural fibres tend to shrink when in the drier. To solve the issue, choose the low heat dryer setting and let it last for the shortest period possible.

Alternatively, you can go for the simple, traditional way of drying your cushion. If your foam is dried up, but your cover is yet to dry, put the clean, slightly damp casing back on the cushion and air dry the cover. Ideally, it is easier to insert the foam into the cover when it’s slightly damp.

If you’re using this traditional procedure, ensure your seat cushions are completely dry before placing them back on the sofa. This way, your family, pets, visitors, and friends will feel comfortable jumping back on the couch.

Remove Stain out of Your Bar Stool Cushions

Did you know that baking soda can do more even outside its core function of baking? If your bar stool cushions have stains, it’s time to try out baking soda; and an effective stain removal solution!

Sprinkle the baking soda over the stool’s fabric area or cushion and use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the target area. This procedure will remove odours and also loosen stains. Alternatively, you can wait till all the baking soda fully absorbs the stain, then vacuum the bar stool cushion using a brush attachment.

Remove Mould out of Cushion Foam

Pour 1/2 cup of household bleach into a gallon of water. Pour the mix into a squirt bottle, then spray the foam area where the mould has attacked. Air-dry the foam outside (in any sunny area), and when dry, the cushion foam will look as new as before.

Cleaning Cushions that Cannot Be Washed

Soak a damp sponge in a small amount of non-dye detergent and use it to rub over your seat cushions. Repeat this multiple times until you feel satisfied. Another way of cleaning a pillow that cannot be washed is by giving it a quick spray. You can use quality air freshener products to do so.

All the best cleaning, washing and cleaning your seat cushions!