How to Wash a Throw Pillow

Most people have throw pillows on their beds, on their sofas, and in other areas around the home. Many of the pillows that are out there have delicate fabrics or intricate work on them, which can make them a little difficult to clean. You are not going to want to put most types of throw pillows into the washer.

However, you can’t simply let them stay dirty either. In some cases, such as with those throw pillows make of silk or wool, or stuffed with down, the pillows will have to go to a professional dry cleaner. Other materials, such as cotton, should be washable. It is always a good idea to consult the cleaning instructions on the pillow tag. The last thing you want to do is assume that you have a machine washable pillow only to find out that it most definitely was not machine washable when you take it out of the machine.

Here are some tips to helping you wash some of the throw pillows that you have around the house. While you might not be able to wash the dry clean only pillows at home, you should be able to clean some of the throw pillows that you do have.


Step #1. Remove the Cover

If you have a throw pillow with a removable cover, you will want to take it off, as you should always wash the cover separately. If it does not come off, you may still be able to wash it in a machine – just remember to check the tag for the instructions.

Step #2. Pre-treat the Cover

If you have areas on the cover that have any stains on them, it is a good idea to pre-treat them with a prewash spray. Make sure that it is a color safe spray. Use a sponge or a clean rag to rub the spray into the area of the stain. This helps to ensure that the spray gets to work and that the stain will be gone when you finish washing.

Step #3. Wash the Case/Pillow

Add the case, or the entire pillow, to the washing machine and wash it on a gentle cycle in warm water. Make sure that you are using a mild detergent only with your throw pillows.

Step #4. Drying the Case/Pillow

As soon as the wash cycle is complete, take out the pillow or pillowcase and allow it to dry. Most of the time you are going to want to air-dry them. However, if the tag allows for drying, you can put it in the dryer. You are only going to want to tumble dry it on low heat. When it is dry, fluff the pillow to help maintain its shape.

More Tips for Cleaning Throw Pillows

If you have a pillow with filler made from solid foam, you will want to wash this separately, as long as the case comes off. You can soak the pillow filler in warm water with a bit of detergent right in the bathtub or a large plastic container that you can put in the bottom of the tub. Rinse the filler completely and ring out the extra water. Then let it air dry. You never want to put foam into the dryer.

Spot cleaning is the way to go when you have only a few dirty areas on the pillow. You don’t have to wash the throw pillows fully each time you are doing laundry. Instead, clean the throw pillows a few times a year, or whenever they are truly dirty. If your pillows are very old and the stains simply won’t wash away anymore, it might be time to buy new pillows.

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