Spills, rain and general life happen to the best of our furniture. Cushions can take spills or become worn from wear and tear over time. You can machine wash many fabric covers from your furniture, but not the foam cushion innards. Putting any soaked object into the dryer isn't safe or practical, and dryers can melt foam -- so that method's out. Drying out foam cushions takes a little time and a little patience, since the material is made to absorb.
Wash Foam Cushions If Needed
Cushions that are dirty or have taken a spill that will leave a stain will need a washing. The squishing effect of foam acts like a sponge. It draws liquids in and pushes liquids out, but it's quickly sucked back in and stubbornly held by foam's soaking power. This makes it easy to wash but longer to dry. Toss foam cushions in a bathtub and squeeze sudsy warm water through the stain or dirty areas. Rinse with clear water until no soap bubbles are left.
Dry in the Bathtub
Place wet cushion in an empty bathtub. (If you have washed cushions, make sure to drain the bathtub completely after you rinse your foam cushions.) Place a thick towel on top of your cushions to absorb excess water. Push on the foam cushions to squish as much water as possible out and down the drain. The towel will keep you from getting too wet and help sop up liquids from the top. Repeat pressing down several times until no liquid comes out. Flip the cushion over, grab a clean towel, and repeat the process while pressing on the other side of the cushion. Spread a clean towel on the floor and leave cushions to air dry when finished.
Dry on the Bathroom Floor
This method involves several clean towels to absorb liquid, and is best for cushions that are not completely soaked. Lay a couple of towels, one on top of the other, on the exposed bathroom floor. Place a cushion on the layered towels. Fold the towels around the cushion. Press down on the wrapped cushion to extract water from it, transferring some moisture to the towels. Remove the cushion and wring the water from the towels, holding them over the bathtub or sink drain. Repeat the wrapping, pressing, and towel wringing processes, until the cushion is free of liquid.
Air Dry Outdoors
Got outdoor space? The sun and air can dry your cushions for you. Prop the cushion on one edge outdoors in a well-ventilated area where it can air dry. Dry the foam cushions out of direct sunlight; the sun's ultraviolet rays and heat can cause foam to break down or deteriorate. Every couple of hours, turn the cushion end over end and back to front to encourage drying from all angles. If you dry it indoors, place it in front of a fan.
To dry fixed foam cushions, such as a sofa's seat, arms and back, lightly steam clean or spot clean them to remove stains or excess liquid. (Run the steam-cleaning machine's water extractor over them numerous times to remove as much water as possible. ) Direct air toward the cushioning, using a fan or two. Put the covers back on the foam cushions only after the foam is completely dry to prevent mold growth. It can take a few days for dense foam to dry fully. Always refer to the manufacturer's care guidelines before washing or drying any foam cushion to avoid damage. Do not put the cover back on an even slightly damp foam cushion.
Lorna Hordos is a home-flipping business owner and freelance writer. She writes friendly, conversational business, home and lifestyle articles for Bizfluent, azcentral, Daltile, Marazzi, Lowes, Philips Lighting, WordPress.com and numerous other publications.