Can You Wash Foam Cushions in the Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Foam Cushions in the Washing Machine

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It is generally not recommended to wash foam cushions in a washing machine due to the risk of damage. However, if the cushion cover is removable and machine washable, it can be washed separately. If the entire foam cushion needs cleaning, follow a different method to ensure the foam’s safety.

Foam cushions are a common choice for providing comfort and support in various furniture pieces, from sofas and chairs to mattresses and pillows. Over time, these cushions can accumulate dirt, stains, and odors, leading to the question: Can you wash foam cushions in the washing machine? The straightforward answer is no. Washing foam cushions in a washing machine can be risky as the agitation and heat can potentially damage the foam. However, there are alternative methods for cleaning foam cushions while ensuring they remain in good condition.

In this article, we will guide you through the dos and don’ts of cleaning foam cushions and provide step-by-step instructions on how to do it safely.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Foam Cushions in the Washing Machine


  • Check the Cushion Cover: First, check if the cushion has a removable cover. If it does, remove the cover and check its washing instructions. If the cover is machine washable, you can clean it separately without risking damage to the foam.
  • Use Cold Water and Low Heat: When washing a removable cushion cover in the machine, always use cold water and a low-heat setting. This helps prevent any shrinkage or damage to the fabric.
  • Spot Clean for Stains: For small stains or spills on the foam itself, opt for spot cleaning. Use a mild detergent and water to gently clean the stained area. Avoid using excessive moisture, as it can damage the foam.
  • Hand Wash for the Entire Cushion: If the entire foam cushion needs cleaning, it’s best to avoid the washing machine altogether. Instead, choose a hand washing method, which we will discuss in detail in the following section.


  • Don’t Use the Washing Machine for Foam: Avoid putting foam cushions directly into the washing machine. The agitation can easily damage the foam, and the heat from the dryer can cause it to lose its shape or integrity.
  • Don’t Use Harsh Chemicals: When spot cleaning foam cushions, refrain from using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners. Stick to mild detergents to avoid damaging the foam or leaving behind residue.
  • Don’t Submerge the Foam: Never submerge the entire foam cushion in water, as it can become waterlogged and take a long time to dry. Extended exposure to water can also lead to mold or mildew growth.
  • Don’t Skip Rinsing: Whether spot cleaning or washing the cushion cover, always ensure proper rinsing to remove all traces of detergent. Leftover soap can attract dirt and cause the foam to deteriorate over time.

How to Wash Foam Cushions the Right Way: Steps by Steps

If you find that your foam cushions need cleaning, follow these steps to do it safely:

Step 1

Remove the Cover (If Applicable): If your foam cushion has a removable cover, carefully unzip or unfasten it and remove it from the foam core.

Step 2

Check the Cover’s Washing Instructions: Examine the care label on the cover to determine if it’s machine washable. If it is, follow the recommended washing instructions, which usually involve using cold water and a low-heat setting.

Step 3

Spot Clean Stains (If Needed): If the foam itself has stains, use a mixture of mild detergent and water to gently spot clean the affected areas. Dab the stain with the solution, avoiding excessive moisture, and blot it with a clean cloth.

Step 4

Hand Wash the Foam Cushion (If Necessary): If the entire cushion needs cleaning, avoid the washing machine. Fill a bathtub with enough warm water to submerge the cushion, and add about 1/4 cup of laundry detergent to the water.

Step 5

Clean and Rinse: Gently agitate the water to create suds, then place the cushion in the bathtub. Gently squeeze and knead the foam to work the detergent through. Be careful not to press too hard or twist the foam, as this can damage it.

Step 6

Thoroughly Rinse: Drain the soapy water and refill the tub with clean water. Rinse the foam cushion several times until all traces of detergent are removed. Squeeze out excess water by gently pressing the foam between clean towels.

Step 7

Dry Properly: To dry the foam cushion, place it in a well-ventilated area. It’s essential to ensure the foam is completely dry before returning it to the cover. This can take some time, so be patient. You can also use fans or open windows to aid in the drying process.


Can I use a washing machine with a delicate cycle for foam cushion covers?

Answer: Yes, if the cushion cover is removable and machine washable, using a washing machine with a delicate cycle and cold water is acceptable. Always follow the care instructions on the cover.

What if my foam cushion doesn’t have a removable cover?

Answer: If the entire foam cushion needs cleaning, use the hand washing method described in this article. Do not attempt to wash the foam in a washing machine.

Can I use a vacuum cleaner to clean foam cushions?

Answer: Yes, you can use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to remove surface dirt and debris from foam cushions. It’s an effective way to maintain their cleanliness.

Are there special detergents for cleaning foam cushions?

Answer: While there are foam cleaner products available, it’s best to stick with a mild, unscented detergent for spot cleaning foam cushions. Harsh chemicals can damage the foam.

How often should I clean my foam cushions?

Answer: The frequency of cleaning depends on usage and exposure to dirt and stains. In general, aim to clean them as needed when stains or odors become noticeable.

Final Words:

While washing foam cushions in a washing machine is generally not recommended due to the risk of damage, there are safe and effective alternatives. Always check the care instructions for removable cushion covers and follow them meticulously. For cleaning the foam itself, use the hand washing method outlined in this article. With proper care and attention, your foam cushions can remain clean, comfortable, and in excellent condition for years to come, enhancing the overall appeal of your furniture and living spaces.

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