Now is the time of year I am frequently asked “Can you make washable slipcovers?” Well the answer is “Of course I can!” However, fabric choice should be your first design consideration, and your cleaning style should influence your fabric choice. Most decorator fabrics are labeled “dry clean only”, and if that is your cleaning style then you are good to go. If the fiber content is cotton or a cotton/linen blend, then chances are the fabric will machine wash and wear beautifully. Truthfully, the only way to know is to do a wash test, as machine washing can alter the hand of the fabric as well as change the color. Certainly you will want to prewash fabric in order to preshrink the fabric if your goal is to be able to machine wash your slipcover. So the next question I get is "So if I machine wash my cover, what kind of cleaner do I use?" I use FOREVER NEW fabric care wash both in the prewashing of fabric as well as cleaning my own slipcovers. The granular formula is biodegradeable and is made from a natural base of multiple sodas and citrus. I have been using this product for about 5 years now and currently stock the line of cleaners and stain removers. I discovered this product at the Bra Patch, here in Raleigh NC. And in case you did not know, the Bra Patch is an East Coast destination for custom fit bras. www.thebrapatch.com . I purchased my first bottle of FOREVER NEW at the Bra Patch and use in handwashing all my delicate undergarments. And for washing slipcovers.
There are some wonderful cottons and linens available in a wide price range, many of which are made from organic fibers as well as domestically grown fibers. It is best to consult with your slipcover artisan before purchasing fabric, especially if you plan to machine wash your slipcovers.