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How to clean cushion inserts

Posted on June 12 2017

Having to clean cushion inserts can be a necessary evil. Cushions are often the prime target for Tea/Coffee and juice spills or dinner upsets. As such, there will often come a time where washing your cushion cover just won’t cut it and you need to wash the entire thing to have any hope of salvaging it (of course losing a cushion cover is also a great excuse for buying a new one!) Well, never fear, we have put together a thorough guide for cleaning your cushion insert.

How you clean cushion inserts depends on the material they are made of. Cleaning a cushion insert made from feathers or down is a very different process than cleaning a foam insert. If you are unsure what material you are dealing with and there is no label, it’s pretty easy to find out from a simple squeeze test. If your cushion feels a bit like elastic when you squeeze it, and it springs back out, then it’s a safe bet that you have a foam insert. Feather inserts usually don’t have any give and they definitely won’t have an elastic feel to them.

How to clean cushion inserts made of feathers or down

If your cushion insert is made of feathers or down then washing it is best avoided. While these fillings are washable, the process can damage the feathers and you may end up with a lumpy sub-par cushion. Depending on how dirty your inserts are, you can either dry clean them or use the vacuum cleaner. If your cushion insert has been soaked in Tea/coffee/juice then dry cleaning is definitely the way to go.

If the state of your cushion insert is not quite so drastic then you may get away with using the vacuum cleaner. Most vacuum cleaners have an upholstery attachment and you should use this for best results. Give them a good vacuum to remove any surface dirt, hair or fur and then use a damp sponge that has been soaked in detergent to give them a once over. Dry them outside in the sun while you wash the cushion covers.

How to clean foam cushion inserts

Inserts made from foam are a bit more hardy and can be washed with water without damaging them. The best place to do this is probably the bathtub as it gives you a lot of space to get your hands dirty. Fill the tub with warm water and some mild detergent and then submerge your foam cushion insert. Work it around until you get the water inside and you can see the dirt and muck exit the foam.

Refill the tub with clean warm water with no detergent this time and go through the same process. This time you are trying to rinse out the detergent from the foam insert so keep rinsing until no detergent bubbles are visible. A good technique is to squeeze the insert down into the bottom of the bathtub and then let go and let it fill up with water. You may need to empty and refill the bath a few times until you are sure your cushion insert has been rinsed thoroughly.

When you are ready, drain the bathtub and, once again, squeeze your cushion insert against the bottom of the tub to drain the water from it. Do this a few times until it is as dry as you can possibly make it, and then put it in the sun to dry. Do not place your foam cushion insert in the dryer! That’s a great way to ruin it.

Once you have washed and rinsed your couch cushion you will have to dry it completely before putting it back in the couch. A common drying method is wringing out as much water as possible and then setting the cushion out in the sun to air dry.

Another option is to wring out the water until the cushion is damp and then set it in front of a heater or use a hair dryer to finish the job. Be careful to not create a fire hazard while doing this. Don't leave focused, continuous heat on the cushion for to long, especially if it is foam.

If the cushion is being stubborn and refusing to dry you can try a more active method. Get a large batch of clean, dry towels. Place one under the cushion and another on top. Squish the cushion by lying or standing on it. Replace the towels when they get too wet to absorb more water. Repeat the process until the cushion is damp enough to dry with a heater or in the air.

Your final step is to prepare for the future. If you want to waterproof the foam or batting in your cushions, put it in a plastic bag fitted to its size, then put the cover over it. A plastic bag also comes in useful if you are trying to fit foam back in its cover. Simply put it in the bag, squeeze out all the air so that it becomes vacuum packed, then put the cover over it and let the air back in. The plastic layer will protect your cushion from future spills and accidents.

If you have done all of the above and your cushion insert still has an odour then you can try to sprinkle some baking soda on it to soak up the smell. Apply this while the cushion is drying and brush or vacuum it off before putting the insert back into the cover.

Now you are done cleaning your inserts, it’s time to clean your cushion covers!

Painter, designer, and author Neeti Jain launched RANGRAGE in 2012 in Muscat. Her design philosophy: combines vibrant colors and patterns to create a kaleidoscopic collection of tableware, furniture, and decorative accessories that epitomize "tradition with a twist." . RANGRAGE is dedicated to bringing style, craft, and joy to life.

RANGRAGE {Gifts & Decor for creative Types}




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