How to Wash Throw Pillows Without Damaging Them

Keep your throw pillows fresh with our cleaning guide. Learn the best ways to wash throw pillow covers, stuffing, and what to do when they can't be separated.

Throw pillows add atmosphere to your home, but they’re often forgotten when it comes to cleaning. When it comes time to clean your throw pillows, it’s important to wash them correctly to prevent damaging the cover or stuffing.

This article explains how to wash throw pillows best, from doing spot tests to hand and machine washing to cleaning the pillow inserts and covers.

If you need any professional help keeping your throw pillows or home clean, you can always use Homeaglow to find an experienced, affordable cleaner near you.

How to wash throw pillows without a removable cover

If you cannot remove the throw pillow cover, here’s how you can clean it.

Step 1: Check the manufacturer's guide.

Check the manufacturer’s guide to know the type of fabric you're working with or where to start. 

Step 2: Get rid of any surface dirt.

Gently vacuum your throw pillows using a handle vacuum or a vacuum hose with an upholstery attachment. This will aid in gathering any hair, crumbs, or dirt resting on the fabric's surface and make washing simpler, particularly if it will be by hand.

Step 3: Carry out a spot test.

Spot testing is essential for throw pillows with no care instructions on them. It ensures that whichever homemade or chemical solutions you use on it won't damage your entire throw pillow. 

  • Combine a small amount of mild detergent with warm water. 
  • Place a drop of the cleaning solution directly onto the edge of the throw pillow and wipe with a clean, dry white towel. Check to see whether the color bleeds through to the towel. 
  • If there has been no color transfer, hold the towel in place for about 30 seconds before checking again.
  • Finally, let the area dry completely and check for any color fading. If everything seems promising, you can use that cleaning solution on the more significant site of the throw pillow.

Step 4: Hand wash the throw pillow.

  • Mix the same detergent used in step 3 with warm water.
  • Soak a soft sponge in the cleaning solution and wring it till nearly dry. Then, gently clean the fabric of the throw pillow in a circular motion.
  • Work the cleaning solution into the fabric and around the pillow's outside as much as possible. 
  • When you finish, wipe the remaining cleaning solution from the pillows with a fresh towel.

Step 5: Air dry the throw pillow

It’s crucial to eliminate all traces of moisture from your throw pillow. After spot treating and hand washing, place it on a clean surface outside. 

How to wash throw pillows in a washing machine

Before you start, be sure to check the care labels inside your cushion covers. The following steps are suitable for most fabrics, but we recommend caution with very delicate fabrics. 

Step 1: Remove the throw pillow covers and wash

Remove the pillow cover and place it in the washing machine. Next, add mild detergent and cold water and switch to the gentle cycle.

Step 2: Clean stubborn stains

Here's how to remove a tough stain from the cover of your throw pillow.

  • In a spray bottle, combine white vinegar and rubbing alcohol in equal parts. Then, add a few drops of essential oil for a fragrant touch. (Vinegar is a multipurpose cleaning product. It can get coffee stains out of your carpet, clean upholstered chairs, and many more.)
  • Spray the solution over a small inconspicuous patch of the soiled area, then wipe it down with a clean towel. Examine the fabric to see if the stain pulls off without causing damage.
  • If everything looks good, continue cleaning the other soiled areas.

Step 3: Hang dry the throw pillow cover

Remove the cover and hang it to dry when the wash cycle is finished. Avoid using a dryer as this may shrink or damage the fabric.

Step 3: Machine dry the throw pillow

Put the pillow in the dryer on the low or air fluff cycle and add a few dryer balls to give it a lovely fluffy appearance. Finally, reinstall the dried cover in step 3 to restore your pillow to new condition.

How to wash a throw pillow by hand

Step 1: Check the label

Confirm from the label if your throw pillow is hand washable. This should be possible so long as the label doesn’t state dry clean only. For instance, most memory foam and latex pillows are only suitable for spot cleaning and cannot be hand-washed.

Step 2: Pre-treat

For stained pillowcases, pre-treat using the same method used in cleaning stubborn stains above.

Step 3: Handwash the throw pillow

  • Add lukewarm water to a basin or bathtub. Ensure that it is large enough to fit the pillow. 
  • Pour a little mild laundry detergent into the water. Then aggressively stir the water with your hand. The water should start bubbling as a result.
  • Place the pillow in the soapy water, and push it down to absorb the cleaning solution.
  • Next, squeeze the pillow and massage the stuffing with your hands. Keep doing this until the soapy water reaches the pillow's center. Wear gloves if the soap irritates your skin.
  • Squeeze the soapy water out after removing the cushion. When the pillow feels damp, squeeze it again while holding it under a running faucet. Continue the procedure until the pillow no longer feels soapy.
  • Turn off the water and give the pillow a firm squeeze. After that, place the damp pillow on a dry towel. Remove excess water from the pillow by folding a towel over it and pressing it down.
  • Lastly, if you have a dryer and the pillow's care label instructs you to tumble dry it on low heat, do so. Turn on the machine and add dryer balls to speed up the drying process. In the absence of a dryer, lay the pillow over a clothesline outside your home. Be sure to shape it in the form you want to have when dried.

How to wash throw pillow inserts

Step 1: Take off your pillow's cover.

For instructions on how to wash the cover, take a look at the different methods outlined in this guide.

Step 2: Put in the washing machine

A front-loading washer without an agitator is ideal when washing pillow inserts. Use cool or lukewarm water on the delicate cycle for optimal results, and employ a mild detergent.

If you have to use a washing machine with an agitator, evenly distribute the pillows on either side of the machine to balance the load and use a very gentle cycle.

Step 3: Hang out to dry

After washing, hang the pillow inserts in a space with good ventilation until they are almost dry. Then put the pillow inserts in the dryer on the air fluff cycle and add a few dryer balls to give it a nice fluffy feel.

How to wash throw pillow covers

Step 1: Check the manufacturer's guide

Consult the manufacturer's guide on how best to wash the covers. If you don’t have a guide, follow these simple steps.

Step 2: Machine-wash the cover

Place your covers in the washing machine and wash with a mild detergent on a gentle cycle at a low temperature. After cleaning, rinse out the detergent and squeeze out all the water.

Step 3: Air-dry or machine-dry the pillow cover

When possible, air-dry your throw pillow covers. If you must machine-dry them, choose a low heat setting to prevent shrinking.

Throw pillow care tips

  • Run a vacuum over your throw pillow weekly. This helps removes dust and debris from the pillow.
  • Use throw pillow covers. They are easier and faster to wash.
  • Use similar colored pillows. This prevents the probability of the darker shade pillows dying the lighter ones.
  • Fluff your throw pillows regularly. This helps keep your pillows shapely and looking their best.

Keep your throw pillows clean for longer

Dust and vacuum your throw pillows regularly to keep them clean for longer. Another pro tip is to keep difficult-to-clean throw pillows above ground and out of the way so that pets, children's shoes, and people's feet won't stain them.

If you’d like expert help keeping your throw pillows or house clean, book an affordable, professional cleaner on Homeaglow.

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