One of the topics we discussed was how some of their customers remove the cushion covers and wash them in their washing machine, put them in the drier and then have the professional cleaning company clean the body of the sofa/loveseat/chair.
Of course, if you do this the cushions look pretty nice, but there are some dangers to washing cushions yourself. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. When you wash the cushions, there is some danger in shrinkage and dye loss. If this happens, not much you can do to fix it.
2. Shrinkage typically occurs in the drier, so if you are tempted to wash your own cushions, hang them to dry (but remember there is always risk).
3. Dyes are funny things. The dyes on your favorite t-shirt are pretty tough, but on upholstery they can be what professionals call "fugitive dyes" in that they aren't very friendly and can bleed and cause all kinds of problems.
4. Putting cushion covers in the laundry can also cause problems with the integrity of the fabric, such as any latex backing that could be present; delamination, or the separation of the face fiber and backing, can occur.
So while you may do this, remove your cushion covers for laundering, keep these points in mind and be very careful with your valuable furnishings!
P.S. And out of fairness to my fellow cleaning pros, I want to mention that if you do wash your cushion covers, a professional cleaning may not "match" what your cushions look like, for a few reasons. The first is the cushion covers are kept clean while the body of the furniture does wear out a bit and lose its fresh look over time. The second is colors fade a little bit in the washing machine and this can be an illusion of clean... there are other reasons, but please don't blame your cleaning pro if things don't match up perfectly.
Just a few friendly reminders from Jeff Cross, the executive editor of Cleanfax, the magazine and online authority for upholstery and furniture cleaning professionals. Let me know if you have any questions. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org