how to wash throw pillows

How to Wash Throw Pillows to Keep Them Smelling Fresh

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Although considered decorative pillows, we tend to overuse throw pillows, making them get soiled easily. This means you have to wash them frequently. What if you don't know how to wash throw pillows? Don't worry about that; we have written a step-by-step guide for you. Whether your pads have removable covers, you can easily wash your throw pillows to keep them clean and enhance your interior design.

However, it is important to check the caring instruction label before washing any throw pillow, no matter how washable it looks. There are different ways of washing a pillow; you can machine wash, hand wash, and even simply dry clean. The cleaning method you use depends on the materials used to make the throw pillow.

It is critical to check the materials used so that you clean them appropriately and do not damage them in the process. So, in this guide, you will learn how to was throw pillows made of different materials.

Now let's get started!

How to Wash Throw Pillows

Step One

If your throw pillows have removable covers, remove them and wash them separately. This washing method is ideal for cotton or foam-filled throw pillows and polyester throw pillows.

Step Two

Fill a large basin or sink with warm water. Add a mild detergent and tangle with your hand.

Dip in the foam-filled throw pillow and gently squeeze till the pillow gets soaked. Keep doing this till all the dirt comes out. If the water becomes dirty before your pillow gets clean, drain the water and repeat the process until you get satisfactory results.

Step Three

Drain the dirty soapy water and refill the basin or sink with warm water. Dip the pillow and gently squeeze to remove the detergent residue.

Repeat the process until the throw pillow is clean and free from any more detergent.

Step Four

Remove the excess water by gently squeezing the throw pillow between two clean towels. Be keen not to squeeze the pillow on a tight knot as it will damage it.

Step Five

Lastly, you need to dry your pillow. So, how do you dry it? It is simple. Air-dry it for up to 72 hours or until you feel it is completely dry. Remember that replacing throw pillows before they are dry to the inside may lead to mold and mildew.

Ensure the place has a free airflow for effective and fast drying.

Machine Washing Throw Pillows

For machine-washable decorative pillows, it is necessary to pre-treat them before washing. For example, you can use a commercial stain remover or a homemade one and clear all the stains on your throw pillow before machine washing it.

Be careful not to use a stain remover on velvet, silk, or wool pillows as the chemical can damage the throw pillows.

Use this procedure to pre-treat throw pillows before machine washing them.

Add two cups of water o one cu of hydrogen peroxide and mix. Then, add a cup of washing soda to the hydrogen peroxide solution and mix well.

Pour the cleaning solution into a spray bottle and spray it onto the pillow. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wash it in a front loading washing machine.

Step One

Fill the machine with warm water, then add a mild detergent.

Step Two

Put two pillows in the machine and let them wash in a gentle cycle for up to ten minutes. Repeat this step if you feel the throw pillows aren't clean enough.

Step Three

Change to rinse cycle and use warm water to rinse them. Rinse the pillows three times to eliminate all the detergent residues and all grime.

Step Four

Set the machine to the dry cycle and hang the throw pillows to dry on a low heat setting. Allow two to three hours for the cushions to dry, or until the stuffing are totally dry.

To prevent the fillings from clumping, fluff the pillows every 30 minutes throughout the dry cycle. Alternatively, you can use a few dryer balls to reshape them in a dryer without heat.

Spot Cleaning Throw Pillows

If your decorative pillows are covered with delicate fabrics like suede, leather, or upholstery, you will need to clean them in a special way.

Leather and Upholstery

Brush the throw pillows carefully and vacuum any debris for leather and upholstery. Then use a soft cloth and warm water to spot clean with a gentle soap. After cleaning the filth, dab the area with a clean damp cloth to eliminate any soap residue.

Once the pillows are clean, air dry to let them dry completely and replace them as needed.


To clean suede, lightly brush it against the grain to remove debris, then vacuum it. If you have any stubborn stain that won't come out that manner, you should always use a suede cleaner designed for this purpose.

Always do a spot test in an inconspicuous place to ensure there will be no discoloration.

Dry Cleaning Throw Pillows

If your pillow is made of a delicate fabric, you may need to dry clean them instead of washing the whole throw pillow in water.

If you choose to dry clean throw pillows, be keen to do it in an open and well-ventilated area, away from open flames. This is because dry cleaning fluid is flammable and can cause a fire.

Also, put on protective chemical-resistant gloves and a mask when working. Many solvents dissolve rubber and latex gloves.

Step One

Using a clean and dry terry cloth towel, wipe down a pail, then pour dry cleaning fluid into it.

Step Two

Wring out a clean, dry sponge after dipping it into the dry cleaning solution. Dry cleaning fluids, unlike water-based solutions, are solvents that do not produce suds or foam.

Step Three

In a circular motion, work the solution into the fabric. Pay close attention to the pillow's folds and contours, especially if there is piping. Then, blot the dry cleaned section with a clean white towel.

Step Four

As you clean, keep dipping the sponge into the dry cleaning solvent. Each time, wring away the extra liquid. Finally, place the throw pillow on a clean white towel to absorb any remaining dry cleaning fluid.

Tips for Cleaning Throw Pillows

a). Read the Care Label

Checking the manufacturer's care label on your throw pillows is the simplest approach to figuring out how to clean them. Your decorative pillows may require dry cleaning, hand washing with a mild detergent, or spot cleaning.

If the label doesn't say how to wash your decorative pillows, look for the sort of fabric they're made of and follow the cleaning directions for that fabric.

b). Spot Test the Fabric

Before using a chemical product to clean your pillow or pillowcase, run a spot test on your pillow or pillowcase. You can accomplish this by using a white towel and an approved cleaner solution for the sort of fabric you're cleaning.

For 30 seconds, blot the white towel and cleaner on the cushion with some pressure. Then inspect the towel for any color transfer from the cushion. Allow your pillow cover to dry completely before checking it for any fading or discoloration.

c). Remove Foam Pillow Inserts

Many modern throw pillows are built from a solid piece of foam. If you have foam pillows, you won't be able to wash them adequately in the washing machine.

Place the foam throw pillow insert in a big sink or bathtub filled with warm water and mild detergent after removing the pillow cover. Thoroughly clean the foam, then rinse well and carefully press out any extra moisture before allowing it to air dry.

d). Sponge Cleaning Works

Some throw pillows that can't be put in the washing machine could use a little sponge cleaning. So get a decent grade upholstery shampoo and a damp sponge, and start removing spots from the cushions with the cleaner.

Cleaning the trim, embellishments, and other highlights on the decorative pillows should be done circularly. Then, blot the areas with a clean white cloth until they are almost dry.

How to Keep Your Throw Pillows Clean for Long

Decorative pillows get overused, and this makes them collect dirt easily. They are also not supposed to be cleaned weekly, as that can damage them, lower their lifespan, and make them full of lint.

vacuuming fiber filled throw pillows

Image: Designing ideas

a). Vacuuming and dusting your throw pillows regularly as you vacuum your upholstery will keep them clean.

b). It's also easier to clean throw pillow covers in matching colors, especially if they're machine-washable because you won't have to worry about dark dyes interfering with lighter whites.

c). keep it difficult to clean place pillows above ground and in hard-to-reach areas where dogs, cats, children, and people's feet are less likely to soil them.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Wash Throw Pillows

1. Can you wash a whole pillow?

Yes, you can wash an entire pillow. However, it is important to ensure it is completely dry before using it again. This will prevent the growth of mold and mildew, and unwanted odors.

2. Can I dry throw pillows in the dryer?

Most machine washable standard throw pillows are safe to put in the dryer. However, ensure you use a low or no heat cycle and dryer balls to help prevent clumping after you machine wash them.

                                                                                                                  Image: Pinterest

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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