The last few weeks I've been having a ton of fun as acting interior decorator! My daughter's previous apartments have always been partially furnished student housing supplemented with the usual mismatched collections that roommates scrounge together. This time she's moving into her own unfurnished apartment but on a very shoe string budget. Since I have about a million decorating ideas floating around in my obsessed brain I offered my role as interior designer. Between Craigslist, second hand stores, thrift sales and our attic/basement/garage we've managed to come up with almost everything she needs. Most of it has needed some TLC. I've been making good friends with paint brushes and spray paint, my sewing machine and the family moving van. The next few posts will highlight some of the projects that have been undertaken.
I really had my doubts that I'd be able to make the covers look presentable and was
Your first step is to unzip and remove the foam inserts. This needs to be done carefully. Don't just tug at them because more than likely you'll tear the foam. I reached in and kind of folded the foam corners down and carefully rolled the pieces out. I didn't attempt to clean the foam but I did give them a good airing on the clothesline for several hours. They weren't stinky and didn't have any signs of mildew so I felt comfortable with that. If they had I probably would have bought new foam instead of trying to clean it. Foam is expensive so I'm glad I was able to avoid it.
I then turned to dealing with the covers which are a padded quilted construction with an attached headrest. Following some advice I'd found online about how to remove mildew stains I made a paste of granular oxygen cleaner (I used Oxiclean), water and ammonia. I applied it liberally to the stains. The liquids immediately soaked into the padding and left me mostly with the undissolved Oxiclean so I used a soft brush and more water to work it into the fabric. Then I folded the pad in half with the treated areas inside (I mainly needed to treat the seat area) to keep things moist and let it sit for at least half an hour.
Next I ran the covers, one at a time, through a rinse cycle on my washer using a full load setting. I have a large capacity washer and wanted to be sure there was plenty of room for the cushion to move around. It's bulky and heavy when wet so two cushions together would have been hard on the washer I think. After a spin I took the cover out and refilled the machine with tepid water, laundry detergent and a cup of bleach. The washing instructions on the cushion say not to use bleach but I decided I'd risk it with the natural covers. Obviously you wouldn't use bleach if you have colored covers. Once the bleach was well diluted I submerged the cover and let it soak for a half hour again before running it through the complete wash cycle with a double rinse to get rid of as much of the bleach as possible.
A word of warning: DO NOT put these into the dryer! They're constructed of cotton and have a synthetic backing of some kind that would most likely shrink with heat. Hang them to line dry and if at all possible hang them outside in the sun. We had a breezy sunny day yesterday so the conditions were ideal. There were still some telltale traces of the stains when I hung the cushions outside but by the time they had dried and further bleached in the sun the stains were gone! It was amazing! They look as good as new. They do still have a faint lingering bleach odor but another day of airing outdoors should take care of that.
Many people have complained about the near impossibility of getting the foam pieces inserted back into the covers. Personally I didn't have any problems with it. You need to take your time and not try to slide the cushion in. It won't work. I folded the foam into thirds lengthwise and then it was fairly easy to just position the foam inside as far as it needed to go and carefully unfold it, tucking the corners into place and smoothing everything out. I hope that makes sense. It took about two minutes. Easy peasy.
So there you have it. Tomorrow the moving starts and when I've had a chance to catch my breath again (literally...5th floor apartment) I'll fill you in on a few of my other projects.