Are Futon Covers Washable? We Find Out!


Since washing futons regularly can be strenuous, this begs to the question: are futon covers washable? If you own a futon, then you want to make sure to have a washable futon cover that you can place in a washer and dryer for maximum comfort with minimal effort. 

Most futon covers are washable: futon covers can be placed into washing machines with mild detergent and cold water, or washed gently by hand. Depending on the fabric materials, some futon covers are made to be more washable and durable, with other covers prioritizing comfort and softness. 

If you want to have the best cleaning experience with your futon covers, then make sure your futon covers are washable by checking the cleaning instructions on the labels. Read on to learn more about which futon covers are washable and the best cleaning methods for each fabric type. 

Are Futon Covers Washable?

Like other mattress covers, most futon covers are washable and can be cleaned in the washer with mild detergent. Mild detergents are less corrosive and increase the longevity of the fabric. You can wash futon covers by placing them in a washing machine or wash them by hand in a sink. Make sure to use a gentle detergent.

There are three types of futon covers you can find that require different methods of cleaning, with some being washable and others not. 

  • Washable futon covers: can be cleaned either by hand or washing machine.
  • Dry Clean Only futon covers: must be dry-cleaned using water-free cleaning solvents; these covers are not washable.    
  • Spot Clean Only futon covers: must be spot cleaned using a low-chemical cleaning solvent; these futon covers are too sensitive to handle typical washing or dry cleaning methods. 

If you are using a washer and dryer to clean your futon cover, then you should dry on the lowest setting. Futon covers will shrink after repeated washing and drying cycles, especially if placed in a dryer set on “regular/heavy” or “permanent press.” To avoid shrinkage, use the “delicates” heating setting.

Alternatively, you could wash your futon cover by hand. To do this, you will need a sink or water basin that you can fill with warm water mixed with some mild detergent. This is a more cost-effective way of washing your futon covers if you do not own a washer and do not want to pay the high-fees charged at laundry facilities. 

Keep in mind there are some futon covers that are dry-clean or spot-clean only. If you are unsure about how to clean your futon cover, then refer to the manufacturer’s tag.  The tag will provide instructions that specify the cleaning method you should use for your futon cover.

Which Fabrics are Best for Washable Futon Covers? 

There are numerous fabrics that are used in futon covers for different reasons. Natural fibers like cotton and linen are softer compared to synthetic fibers such as polyester, rayon, and olefin. The natural fiber futon covers prioritize comfortability while synthetic fiber futon covers offer more durability and wrinkle-resistance. 

Each fabric-type has a fiber profile with unique characteristics that differentiate one fabric from the next. Depending on the type of futon cover you are looking for, you will likely find one or more of these fabrics in your futon cover, which ultimately determine whether your futon cover is washable or not. 

Cotton

As one of the most common natural fibers, cotton is often used in futon covers for softness and comfort. Cotton can last a long time after repeated washing and drying cycles, which makes cotton futon cover a safe investment. 

The only downside to cotton futon covers is that they show signs of fading. This is a minor issue considering that you will only see this after many washing and drying cycles. However, some futon covers mitigate this by using polyester and cotton in futon covers together for added durability and to reduce shrinkage and signs of fading.

Linen

A more durable alternative to cotton is linen. Linen is also a natural fiber used in futon covers. Although cotton is more soft than linen, linen has a longer lifespan. If you value durability more than comfort, then consider getting a linen futon cover rather than a cotton futon cover. 

Linen futon covers are less common futon covers, but are worth the investment if you want something more durable than a cotton futon cover. 

Polyester 

Polyester futon covers are broadly used today due to their resilience and the numerous dyes that can be applied to them. Compared to linen and cotton futon covers, polyester is even more durable. 

Most futon covers that are made with synthetic fibers include polyester: polyester is the go-to synthetic fiber for futon covers and other textiles. Usually, when you see polyester used in futon covers they are made with a combination of cotton for softness and polyester for durability.

This is also true for fitted sheets, which are another alternative for futon covers. The majority of fitted sheets you will find in store or online will use either polyester and cotton, or only cotton. 

Nylon 

If you want a stronger and more durable futon cover, then a nylon futon cover is a good option. Despite being durable, nylon is light-weight and is not as dense as other strong fabrics. Nylon futon covers are washable and have a longer life-span, especially compared to natural fiber futon covers made with cotton or linen. 

Although nylon futon covers are hard to come by, if you find a futon cover that is made with nylon, then most of the time you can assume that the cover is durable and washable. 

Rayon

As a synthetic equivalent of cotton, rayon is a synthetic fiber that integrates the softness and comfortability of cotton with additional durability. The smoothness and silkiness of rayon makes for a high quality futon cover that you can rely on without worrying about damage from overuse, fading, or wrinkling. 

When you are searching for futon covers you may come across “faux silk” covers that are made with rayon. Rayon futon covers are more luxurious compared to other futon covers, but are worth the extra money if you want a resilient and comfortable futon cover. 

Olefin

The most durable synthetic fiber you can find is olefin. Out of all the synthetic and natural fibers, olefin is the most sturdy and durable, which makes olefin futon covers the longest lasting covers sold on the market. A major downside of olefin is that the fibers are really tough and make for a stiff futon cover. 

To avoid the overwhelming stiffness of olefin, most futon covers mix other types of fibers with olefin to ensure that the futon cover is /.both soft and durable. Most futon covers that are made with olefin are labeled as weather-resistant since they can endure harsher conditions compared to the average futon cover. 

Gentle Detergents for Washing Futon Covers

Using a gentle detergent on your futon cover is important not only for the longevity of the cover itself, but for you and other family members if they have sensitive skin. Choosing a mild detergent can make the difference when trying to minimize fading, shrinking, and stretching of your futon covers. 

Here are three reliable, gentle laundry detergents that are ideal for washing futon covers: 

  • Woolite Extra Delicates detergent
  • Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin detergent
  • Tide Free & Gentle liquid detergent

Most brand names for liquid detergents offer a gentle or sensitive skin version of their product. Nonetheless, these three gentle detergents give you the most bang for your buck, especially the woolite extra delicates detergent since you can find some bottles for under $5. 

Methods for Washing and Cleaning Futon Covers

There are many methods you could use to wash and clean futon covers. The method you use will depend on the fabric-type of the futon cover and the cleaning instructions provided on the manufacturer tag. 

Here is a list of several kinds of washing and cleaning methods used for futon covers: 

  • Machine laundering 
  • Hand Washing 
  • Sponge Washing
  • Steam Cleaning
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Spot Cleaning
  • Vacuuming 

Some cleaning methods are harsher on fabrics, so the more durable the fabric is, the greater the likelihood that the futon cover is washable. Water is too harsh of a solvent for some futon covers, which explains why some covers can only be dry-cleaned or spot cleaned. 

If you can wash your futon covers, then you have the option of line drying or tumble drying if you have a drying machine available. Line drying enhances the freshness of the fabric, while tumble drying is quicker and efficient by comparison. 

Machine Laundering

Machine Laundering
Machine Laundering

The most common method for cleaning futon covers is machine laundering, which is the technical term used to refer to the cleaning process facilitated by washing machines. Since most futon covers are washable, machine laundering is the most convenient way to wash dirty futon covers. 

Although the machine laundering process is simple on its face, there are still some details you need to pay attention to before washing your futon cover. 

  • Before placing your futon cover in the washer, make sure to check the manufacturer tag to see if the futon cover is washer-friendly
  • Place mild detergent into the designated detergent holder
  • Set the washing machine to “delicates” and press “start” to begin the washing cycle 

Using a mild detergent for your futon covers keeps the fabric in good condition by placing less stress on the fabric. Since hotter temperatures can shrink, damage, or fade some fabrics used in futon covers, the cold wash setting ensures that your futon cover lasts longer. 

Hand Washing 

Not all properties provide washers and dryers on site, and laundry facilities are not always close by. Hand washing is a great alternative to machine laundering, and is easy to do in most settings as long as you have a sink, detergent, and running water. 

Here are a few steps for hand washing futon covers:

  • Fill up a sink or water basin with cold water 
  • Mix mild detergent into the water 
  • Place futon cover into sink and scrub away any stains using different parts of the fabric; apply additional detergent for spots or stains when necessary 

The futon cover will be submerged in a cold water-detergent mixture. Since scrubbing or twisting movements can damage the fabric, gently move the futon cover in the water until the fabric is clean. Hand-washing tools can be helpful, but are not warranted unless you plan on handwashing your futon cover regularly. 

Steam Cleaning 

One way to remove contaminants from futon covers without using water or harsh chemical solvent is steam cleaning. All you need is a dryer and a damp towel. Any contaminants in the futon covers will be removed by the steam that is produced from the damp towel. So, how does steam cleaning work? 

For starters, you will need to place your futon covers in a dryer for 20-30 minutes with a damp towel. If the futon cover is made with durable synthetic materials like polyester or nylon, then you can use the medium-to-high heat settings. Otherwise, use a low heat setting like you would use for delicates. 

After the 20-30 minute heating cycle, you can remove the futon covers from the dryer contaminant-free: minor stains, sweat, or other liquid contaminants are removed from the fabric. Steam cleaning cannot substitute for a deep clean, but is excellent at removing light stains and contaminants from your futon covers. 

Dry Cleaning 

Some fabrics are vulnerable to damage from water—this can lead to unwanted changes in appearance, texture, and fiber damage. Dry clean only futon covers rely on water-free solvents to clean them. As a rule of thumb, never place dry clean only futon covers into washers or dryers, as this can lead to severe damage to the fabric. 

Generally speaking, wool, rayon, silk, and linen fabrics are better off being dry-cleaned rather than washed. Nonetheless, always make sure to refer to manufacturer labels before making hasty decisions about whether a futon cover should be placed in the washer or not—this will save you time, money, and potentially your futon cover. 

The most common solvent used for dry cleaning is a water-free liquid solvent is perchloroethylene, otherwise known as “perc.” For some people this is not a suitable option, since perc Perc is considered a toxic air pollutant that is suspected to have carcinogenic effects. 

If you are living with a large family and concerned about harsh chemicals used in dry cleaning, then do not worry. There are eco-friendly solvents you can use for dry cleaning such as liquid carbon dioxide and decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5). These eco-friendly alternatives are biodegradable and pose less of a health risk. 

Spot Cleaning

Spot cleaning is an effective cleaning method for futon covers that cannot be washed or dry-cleaned. As the name implies, spot cleaning involves cleaning specific spots or stains on a futon cover. To be properly equipped, you will need a mild detergent, sponge, water, clean towel cloth, and a large bowl. 

Here is how the cleaning process works for spot cleaning: 

  • Add and mix two tablespoons of mild detergent to a large bowl filled with water until the detergent dissolves and forms a detergent-water mixture 
  • Soak the sponge in the detergent-water and squeeze out any excess water 
  • Find the spot you want to clean on the futon cover and gently apply the sponge to the area to remove dirt or stains; avoid soaking the futon cover with the fluids from the sponge
  • Wipe off the spot where the sponge was applied with a clean towel to remove leftover detergent and to absorb remaining water from the surface
  • Soak the sponge in clean water (without any detergent) and reapply to the same spot to remove detergent residue 
  • Use clean paper towel to soak up remaining water  
  • Set the futon next to a window with direct sunlight coming through

Remember that some futon covers can only be spot cleaned. Nevertheless, if you own a washable or dry-clean only futon cover, then spot cleaning is still a viable cleaning method. To avoid the hassle of washing or dry cleaning, you can spot clean your futon cover if you find a couple of dirty spots that need to be cleaned.  

Vacuuming

As with any kind of furniture, unwanted crumbs and debris can accumulate on futons over time when they are not routinely cleaned. Vacuuming is an easy way to get rid of dry litter on futon covers without soaking the futon and futon covers with cleaning solvents. 

The great thing about vacuuming is you can do this with any futon cover. Gently vacuuming debris from your futon covers takes little effort and time to do. 

If you do not own a traditional vacuum cleaner, then you can find vacuums online that are well suited for futons and futon covers. This Black+Decker hand-held vacuum is easy-to-use and is much more affordable compared to most vacuums. Using a hand-held vacuum cleaner makes removing debris from futon covers quick and easy. 

Sponge Washing 

Similar to spot cleaning, sponge washing is the use of a damp cloth to specific parts of the fabric which have picked up dirt or other contaminants. The main difference between sponge washing and spot cleaning is that the former (i.e sponge washing) does not require detergent as a cleaning agent whereas the latter does. 

This method is generally used for futon covers that are made with sensitive fabric materials that are not washable and should not come into contact with harsh cleaning solvents. 

Since sponge washing is essentially spot cleaning without detergent, you can think of this cleaning method as a more extreme version of spot cleaning when it comes to preserving the integrity of futon cover fabrics. 

What Can be Used as a Washable Futon Cover? 

In the marketplace you can find futon covers specially fitted to your futon, but can you use other bedding as a futon cover? Well, the most convenient option for most people is to place fitted sheets onto futons to substitute as a futon cover. 

A great feature about fitted sheets when compared to some futon covers is that fitted sheets are washable. You can hand wash sheets or place them in a washer without worrying about damaging the fabric. 

Another alternative to futon covers is to your every-day bed sheets, but oftentimes these sheets do not match the size of futons. For this reason, using fitted sheets is generally your best bet when looking for washable futon covers. 

Can Fitted Sheets Substitute as Futon Covers? 

Finding a futon cover that meets your preferences and fits onto your futon can be difficult. Fitted sheets are a great substitute for futon covers since they are easier to find and sometimes work better than futon covers. 

One advantage fitted sheets have over futon cover is affordability. In the era of online shopping, fitted sheets cost noticeably less compared to futon covers made to fit your futon. You can find fitted sheets online for a third or sometimes half the cost of some futon covers. 

If you do not own fitted sheets that match the size of your futon, then you may have to purchase new sheets. For larger sheets that take up too much space on the futon, you can attach clips behind the futon where the extra fabric can easily be collected and pinched together. 

The clips should also be used for fitted sheets, since they help to keep sheets in place properly on the futon. Without the clips, there is a high probability that the sheets will gradually shrink and not cover all parts of the futon. The clips placed onto refrigerators usually can get the job done. 

Are Fitted Sheets More Washable Than Futon Covers? 

Unlike some futon covers, fitted sheets belong in a washer and dryer. Fitted sheets are more washable and durable when compared to some futon covers. This is because most sheets are made with cotton and polyester, which contribute to the softness and durability of the sheets, respectively. 

To reiterate, cotton gives fitted sheets their absorbency and softness, while polyester helps with wrinkle resistance and durability. These fabric materials are not used in all futon covers, but are highly prevalent in fitted sheets you can find at the store or online. 

What Size Sheets are Best for Futons? 

Before purchasing fitted sheets for a futon, you will need to check the size and measurements of the sheets. For the best possible experience, you want your fitted sheets to match the size of your futon. The size of your sheets will vary depending on the size of the futon. 

Here are the size and measurements you should be looking out for when purchasing sheets for your futon: 

  • Twin-size futons:  39 inches x 75 inches
  • Full-size futons: 54 inches x 75 inches
  • Queen-size futons:  60 inches x 80 inches

As you can see, there are three different sizes for futons. As long as your sheets match the size of your futon, then the process of fitting your sheets onto the futon is easy to do. 

If for whatever reason you cannot get your hands on a sheet that fits onto your futon properly, then make sure to attach clips behind the futon where the extra sheet material should accumulate. This advice only applies if you own a sheet that is too large for your futon. 

Fitted Sheets You Can Use as Futon Covers

Finding sheets that fit onto your futon can be a challenging task, especially since these sheets are made for beds not futons. To make the searching process easier, here are three fitted sheets that fit onto twin-size futons, full-size futons, and queen-size futons.  

If you are trying to save money on bedding for your futon, then consider these fitted sheets sold on Amazon. Fitted sheets are sold at a lower price range compared to futon covers, and are always washable. 

All of these fitted sheets are made with 100% cotton for softness, wrinkle-resistance, and comfortability. These sheets are washable, should be tumble dried on low, and come in a variety of neutral colors. 

How to Fit Your Sheet Onto a Futon

Since fitted sheets are made to fit onto beds and come with elastic bands on the sides, you should place the sheet onto a futon that is flat and in a bed-like position. This simplifies the process of fitting the sheet onto the futon by mirroring the same process used for other mattresses or beds. 

Just like with a bed, cover the front edges of the bed first with the sheet. Once the sheet is secured properly, you can then pull the sheet back to cover the bottom edges of the futon. Afterwards, make sure to look for any parts of the sheet that are not tucked properly underneath the futon. 

Conclusion

All in all, futon covers are washable and there many types of washable futon covers you may encounter. Washable futon covers come in different sizes, fabric types, and color variations. Some washable futon covers are more durable, while others are softer and more comfortable. 

As one last reminder, you can always refer to the manufacturer label to determine whether a futon cover is washable or not. If not, the futon cover may need to be dry-cleaned, hand-washed, or spot cleaned. For minimal effort, find a washable futon cover that you can throw into the washer and dryer without any worries. 

Recent Posts