Can You Wash Vinyl Fabric In The Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Vinyl Fabric In The Washing Machine

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Yes, you can wash vinyl fabric in a washing machine. However, it’s important to follow the proper care instructions to ensure that you avoid damaging the fabric. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines before proceeding.

Vinyl fabric, known for its durability and versatility, has become a popular choice for upholstery, clothing, and various accessories. Whether you’re dealing with vinyl-covered furniture or vinyl clothing, the question of whether this synthetic material can endure the washing machine cycle is one that arises frequently. In this article, we’ll explore the dos and don’ts of washing vinyl fabric in a washing machine, providing you with a comprehensive guide to help you keep your vinyl items clean and looking their best.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Vinyl Fabric In The Washing Machine


  • Check Care Labels: Before you consider washing vinyl fabric in a washing machine, check the care label on the item. Some vinyl fabrics are labeled as machine washable, providing you with the green light to proceed.
  • Use Gentle Cycle: If your vinyl item is suitable for machine washing, always opt for the gentle or delicate cycle. This minimizes the risk of damage during the wash.
  • Cold Water: Stick to cold water for washing vinyl fabric. Hot water can cause the vinyl to warp, crack, or lose its shape.
  • Mild Detergent: Use a mild detergent that is suitable for delicate fabrics. Harsh chemicals can potentially weaken the vinyl material.
  • Protect Zippers and Hooks: If your vinyl item has zippers, hooks, or any metal elements, consider placing the item in a pillowcase or a mesh laundry bag to prevent them from coming into direct contact with the vinyl, which could lead to scratching or damage.
  • Air Dry: After the wash cycle is complete, allow the vinyl fabric to air dry. Avoid using a dryer, as excessive heat can distort or melt the material.
  • Store Properly: Once your vinyl item is clean and dry, store it away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures to maintain its quality and prevent fading.


  • Ignore Labels: If the care label specifically advises against machine washing, it’s important to heed the instructions. Attempting to machine wash vinyl items not designed for this method could result in irreversible damage.
  • Use Aggressive Settings: Avoid using heavy agitation or spin settings, as these can stress the vinyl fabric and cause it to crack or tear.
  • Hot Water: As mentioned earlier, hot water can deform vinyl fabric. Stick to cold water to ensure the material’s integrity.
  • Overcrowd the Machine: Overloading the washing machine can lead to inadequate cleaning and potential damage to the vinyl item.
  • Fabric Softeners: Do not use fabric softeners when washing vinyl fabric. They can leave a residue on the material’s surface and compromise its appearance.
  • Ironing: Vinyl fabric should not be ironed, as high heat can cause it to melt or warp. Instead, smooth out wrinkles using a cool iron or by gently stretching the fabric.
  • Abrasive Scrubbing: Do not scrub vinyl fabric vigorously, as this can scratch or damage the material. Use gentle wiping motions for cleaning.

Steps to Wash Vinyl Fabric in the Washing Machine

Step 1

Check Care Label: Ensure that the care label indicates that the vinyl fabric is machine washable.

Step 2

Prep the Item: Empty pockets, remove detachable elements, and fasten zippers or hooks.

Step 3

Place in Bag: If your vinyl item has metal parts or delicate embellishments, place it in a mesh laundry bag or a pillowcase.

Step 4

Select Gentle Cycle: Choose the gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine.

Step 5

Add Mild Detergent: Use a mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrics.

Step 6

Start the Cycle: Allow the washing machine to complete the cycle without interruption.

Step 7

Air Dry: After washing, let the vinyl fabric air dry away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

Alternative Washing Methods for Vinyl Fabric

  1. Hand Cleaning: For vinyl items that are not machine washable, clean them by gently wiping the surface with a damp cloth and mild soap.
  2. Spot Cleaning: Treat stains promptly by using a damp cloth and a mild cleaner specifically designed for vinyl surfaces.
  3. Professional Cleaning: Consider professional upholstery or fabric cleaning services for valuable or delicate vinyl items.


Can I wash my vinyl-coated tablecloth in the washing machine?

Answer: Yes, you can wash vinyl-coated tablecloths in the washing machine if the care label allows it. Follow the recommended steps for gentle machine washing.

Is it safe to machine wash a vinyl raincoat?

Answer: Some vinyl raincoats are designed for machine washing. Check the care label, and if it’s permissible, use the gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent.

Can I iron wrinkles out of vinyl fabric?

Answer: Avoid using a hot iron on vinyl fabric, as it can melt. If needed, use a cool iron with a cloth between the vinyl and the iron to gently smooth out wrinkles.

Can I wash vinyl fabric with intricate embroidery in the machine?

Answer: Vinyl fabrics with delicate embroidery should be treated with extra care. Hand washing or spot cleaning is recommended to avoid damaging the embroidery or the vinyl material.

Should I use a specific vinyl cleaner for machine washing?

Answer: A mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrics is sufficient for machine washing vinyl. If you’re spot cleaning or hand washing, using a cleaner designed for vinyl surfaces can be beneficial.

Final Words:

Washing vinyl fabric in a washing machine can be a viable option for certain items, but it’s essential to proceed with care and follow the care label instructions. The durability of vinyl makes it a versatile choice, but improper care can lead to irreversible damage. Always prioritize gentle methods to preserve the quality and appearance of your vinyl items.

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