Can You Wash Upholstery Fabric in the Washing Machine?

Do you need to prewash your upholstery fabric? Why do you need to do that? And how do you prewash? Let’s take a closer look at each question below.

Do you need to prewash upholstery fabric?
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Upholstery fabrics come in many types, colors, textures, and patterns. They are made of various materials, including cotton, polyester, wool, silk, linen, rayon, and others.

They cover couches, chairs, beds, headboards, ottomans, armchairs, love seats, recliners, and even car interiors.

Do you Need To Prewash Your Upholstery Fabric?

Yes. If you want to keep your upholstery fabric looking new and fresh for longer, then you should wash them before using them.

There are three main reasons why you need to prewash them.

  • First, dirt and stains may accumulate over time if you use the material regularly. Dirt and stains can cause discoloration, fading, and shrinkage. These problems can be avoided by washing before using it.
  • Second, some fabrics require special care after being washed. For instance, some materials contain chemicals that could damage your skin if exposed. Therefore, you need to clean carefully.
  • Third, some fabrics might not dry properly if they aren’t washed. Some materials absorb moisture quickly, causing them to become soft and lose their shape. Washing helps prevent this problem.

Why Do You Need To Prewash Upholstery Fabric?

There are three main reasons why we need to prewash.

  • First, it prevents staining. Stains are usually caused by food spills, pet accidents, oil, grease, wine, coffee, tea, ink, paint, blood, grass, mud, and other things. When you clean, you remove any stains that may appear on it. However, sometimes you cannot delete stains. That’s why you need to prewash. It removes all traces of stains and keeps it stain-free.
  • Second, it protects the textile against fading. Fading happens when light hits certain parts and causes those areas to fade. Over time, sunlight exposure can cause the material to shrink. Prewashing protects it from fading.
  • Finally, it preserves the original color of your upholstery. Many fabrics change color when they get wet. This is especially true for natural fibers. Cotton, linen, and wool are examples of natural fibers. They tend to turn yellowish when they get wet. Prewashing prevents this problem.

How To Prewash Upholstery Fabric

The process is straightforward. All you need is water and soap. Follow these steps.

  1. Prepare the area where you plan to wash your upholstered fabric. Make sure there is enough room to move around freely while working. Also, ensure that no one else will walk into the area while you work.
  2. Fill a bucket with hot water and add soap. Mix the soap thoroughly until it dissolves. Then pour the mixture in a circular motion. Use a sponge or brush to apply the solution evenly across the surface.
  3. Allow the fabric to soak for 10 minutes. After washing, rinse the cloth under running water. Repeat the process two times.
  4. Dry using a lint roller or vacuum cleaner.


  • Keep the fabric away from direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can fade the material quickly.
  • Wash only once per week. Washing too frequently can cause it to wear out faster.
  • Please don’t put it near heat sources. Heat can warp the fabric permanently.

Related Questions

How Do You Clean A Fabric Couch?

Cleaning a fabric couch is not difficult but requires patience and care.

  • The first step is to remove all cushions and pillows.
  • Next, vacuum up loose debris such as hair, dust, and lint.
  • Then use a damp cloth to wipe down the furniture.
  • Finally, apply a small amount of cleaning solution (such as vinegar) to the couch’s surface and sit for several minutes before wiping clean again.

Where Do You Put Vinegar In A Washing Machine?

Put vinegar in the top rack of your washing machine. It will clean out all the gunk built up inside the washer.

Do You Add More Detergent After The Prewash Cycle?

Yes! I add more detergent after the prewash cycle because I want to be sure that all the soap scum has been removed before I start washing clothes.

What Happens If You Don’t Prewash fabric?

You risk shrinking the material because of the build-up of lint and dirt. The best way to prevent this is to wash your fabrics separately so they don’t mix.

How Do You Prewash Fabric Without Fraying?

Prewashing fabric without fraying is easy! Just follow these steps:

  1. Wash your fabrics before cutting them up into smaller pieces.
  2. Cut your fabric into strips no longer than 4 inches wide.
  3. Lay out all of your cut-up fabric on top of one another, so they don’t overlap.
  4. Fold down the edges of the material so they’re not hanging off the edge of the table.

How Do You Prepare Fabric Before Sewing?

The first thing I do when preparing fabric before sewing is to wash it. Wash all fabrics separately in cold water (not hot) and rinse well. Then lay them out flat to dry. Next, iron them. Ironing will remove wrinkles and give the fabric more body.

Next, cut the fabric into the size pieces you need. For example, if you want to sew a skirt, cut two rectangles of cloth roughly 10 inches wide by 20 inches long.

Then, fold the fabric along the selvage edges to meet at the center point. Press the seam allowances open.

Now, you’re ready to start sewing!

How Do You Preshrink Fabric?

Preshrinking fabric is not complex at all. It just takes practice and patience. First, wash your fabric in cold water. Then lay the fabric flat on a clean surface and iron it dry.

If you don’t want to use an iron, you can hang the fabric up to air-dry.

How Often Should You Wash Couch Cushion Covers?

You should wash couch cushion covers at least once per month. Cleaning them more often will extend their life and remove dirt and stains.

Wash your cushions in cold water and mild detergent. Do not use fabric softener or bleach.

How Do You Clean Fabric Chair Seats?

If you want to clean fabric chair seats, you should use a cleaning solution that removes all stains without leaving any residue behind.

The best way to do this is to mix one part vinegar with two parts water. Then add a little bit of dish soap to the mixture. Use a spray bottle to apply the mixture to the stain. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before wiping away the excess liquid with a dry cloth.

How Do You Get The Smell Out Of A Fabric Couch?

Several different types of odor neutralizers are available—some work by absorbing odors, while others work by masking bad smells. So, go ahead and buy a couple of these odor-neutralizers and see which one works best for your fabric couch.


Upholstery Fabric

Upholstery fabric covers furniture such as sofas, chairs, beds, etc. It comes in different types like cotton, polyester, wool, linen, etc. Upholstery fabrics are available in various colors and patterns. They are usually made out of synthetic materials but can also be made of natural fibers.

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