How to Clean Throw Pillows (Because Yours Could Use Some TLC)

how to clean throw pillows

Not only do throw pillows provide excellent support for your back and neck, but they're also great for tieing a room together in an aesthetically-pleasing way. Oh, and another thing these multitaskers are good at? Collecting wine spills, food splatters and whatever random gunk your two-year-old happens to be playing with at the moment (Play-doh, maybe?). Here's how to clean throw pillows without a trip to the dry cleaners.

Check the manufacturer’s care label

Some labels will say to machine wash the pillows with a mild detergent while others will recommend spot cleaning only. If no care label is available, consider the fabric type. Delicate threads like silk and velvet typically require special treatment (more on that below) while materials like cotton or polyester can be washed with water.

Option 1: Hand-wash the pillow

To hand-wash your throw pillow, you're going to want to do a spot test first using a white towel and the proper cleaning solution for the fabric. For delicate materials this could be a dry cleaning solution while hardier pillows can handle upholstery shampoo. Blot the towel onto the pillow and then inspect it for any color transfer. Allow the pillow to dry and then check again to make sure that no color has faded from the fabric. If everything looks good, use a clean sponge dipped in the cleaning solution or shampoo to clean the fabric. Use gentle, circular motions and make sure to get into the piping and any other creases. Blot out the excess moisture with clean white towels.

Option 2: Machine-wash the pillow

If your throw pillow can handle it, tossing it into the laundry machine is the easiest method. Remove the covers and wash them separately from the cushions. Using the delicate cycle and mild detergent, wash the pillows in warm water. Hang them up to dry in a well-ventilated area until they're almost completely dry. Add the pillows to the dryer without any heat and use a few dryer balls to fluff and reshape the pillows.

Help! My Washing Machine Smells

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Alexia Dellner

Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...
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