Futon covers break down into four different overlapping categories. The materials futon covers are made of break down into two groups. You will find futon covers in Natural Fibers: cottons and linens; or Synthetics: polyesters, nylons, rayons, and so on. When it comes to care there are washable covers and dry clean only covers. In terms of durability, Synthetic Fibers definitely have the upper hand, but they sometimes aren’t as comfy as a Natural Fiber. Let’s go over some of the common futon cover materials.

Here are the Natural Fibers:
Cotton is a Natural Fiber; it generally has a comfy, soft feel. Cotton has a good life span but it can show signs of wear over time.
Linen is another common Natural Fiber found in futon covers today; it is more durable than cotton but isn’t quite as soft.

And here are the Synthetic Fibers:
Polyester is one of the most common Synthetic Fibers used in futon covers today. Polyester is highly durable and takes vibrant dyes well, so the range of colors is very wide. Polyester isn’t quite as soft against the skin as a cotton or a linen.
Nylon is stronger than most fibers on the market today without the bulk because of it’s light weight design. Nylon is a versatile Synthetic that is often washable as well as durable.
Rayon has many of the same qualities of cotton, but is more durable. Rayon has a smooth, silky feel to the touch , and you’ll often find it in many “faux silk” covers.
Olefin is one of the most durable Synthetics on the market today. You may frequently see Olefin used in covers designed for weather resistancy in mind. Olefin is often used as a component in blended fabrics, as it can be a bit stiff on its own.

Washable fabrics vs. dry clean only fabrics are pretty self-explanatory. Washable covers have the potential to save you a lot of money in the long run, as long as you follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. I almost always recommend a washable cover to anyone with pets or children. My Great Dane Jay loves lounging at home on our futons, so needless to say, the washable covers save us time and money. If a cover that requires line drying goes into a machine dryer, it could be too small to fit the mattress when it’s done, so be careful. The same goes for dry clean only covers, they are listed as such for a reason and could be ruined in household washers and dryers. Ok, we’ve discussed the most common fabrics used in the futon cover industry today, as well as washable fabrics vs. dry clean only fabrics, and now there is one other point to think about when purchasing a futon cover.

Is the fabric in my cover upholstery “grade”? If the website or store you’re shopping at doesn’t specify, ask and if they don’t know, don’t buy it. Upholstery grade fabric is designed to be used as a seating surface and as such should wear better and longer than non-upholstery grade fabrics.