How to properly clean your throw pillows

Throw pillows can transform any place and spice up any interior design. They come in a wide variety of styles, colours, sizes, shapes and patterns. While throw pillows are surely a favourite ornament for interior designers, housekeepers cannot say the same thing. They are constantly used and often in need of cleaning. However, their washing is not too easy.

According to cleaning professionals, cleaning decorative pillows depends on their structure and materials from which they are made. Do not forget to check the tags and pay attention to any special instructions. In this article however, you will be able to see a few common ways in which you can clean your throw pillows.

Depending on how  often you use  your throw pillow, you may need to wash them more often or not so much. If your couch is busy all the time, you have pets or you eat on it a lot, you will need to wash your pillows once a month at least.Of course, this can also be done by professional upholstery cleaners. However, if the pillows are in an area of your house that is rarely used, you may get away with washing them just once every two months.

For cleaning throw pillows at home you will need a sponge (for spot treatment) and a washing machine. Also be prepared with a mild dish soap, upholstery shampoo and a dry cleaning solution.


How to machine wash a throw pillow

If your pillows have fabric covers, they would be durable enough to toss in the washing machine. Just in case, check the care label to see if this type of cleaning is suitable for the particular pillow. That way you will be able to avoid damage. If the label says the pillow can be machine washed, follow the instructions below:

  1. Remove the covers and wash
    Remove the cover from your pillow and place it in the washing machine along with the pillow itself. Use mild detergent and cold water on the gentle cycle.
  2. Treat for stains
    If you are trying to remove a stubborn stain, opt for treating it with a natural stain remover prior to washing. Avoid harsh chemicals in order to prevent potential damage to the fabric of the covers or the pillow.
  3. Air dry the cover
    Once it is washed, take the cover out and hang it to air dry. Do not put it in the dryer since the heat might deform it.
  4. Machine dry the internal pillow
    While the cover is drying, throw the pillow in the dryer. Use a low heat cycle in order to prevent damage to the pillow. If you want to fluff the pillows up, add a few dryer balls. If the pillow is bigger, let it air dry completely before you put it back to use. Put a new cover on it and enjoy a fresh, clean pillow.


How to spot clean a throw pillow
If your pillow’s tag says you shouldn’t machine wash it, you can try spot treatment instead. Grab a sponge and some mild soap and get to work.

TIP: Make sure you are not using a harsh, scrubber sponge. If you scrub your pillow’s fabric too harshly, you will cause damage to its surface. Use a gentle, soft sponge instead.


  1. Get the sponge soapy
    Make the sponge slightly wet and add a drop of soap on it. Squeeze so it foams up. Dish soap works wonders here, in case you don’t have upholstery shampoo.
  2. Work it into the fabric
    Work the soap or shampoo into the fabric very gently. Work in small sections and small motions, in order to prevent the stain from spreading.
  3. Blot and let it dry
    Let the soap sit for a few minutes, blot it with a damp towel, then let it air dry. You may have to repeat the steps if you are working with a stubborn stain that doesn’t want to go away.


When to Dry Clean your throw pillows?
If your pillows are too dirty and you don’t know how to clean them,  or the care label shows they are made of gentle fabric and you are not able to properly clean them at home, go to the dry cleaners. They will know how to clean your pillows in the most efficient way without damaging them.


Tips on how to keep your pillows clean for longer:

Vacuum – Regular vacuuming will get rid of most of the dust and grime. It will also prevent stains from setting and make them easier to clean. You can use a hose with an upholstery attachment and make sure you do that at least once a week. Be careful when you vacuum beaded pillows or ones with sequins all over them.

Pillow Covers – Find pillow covers that are easily removable and machine washable. Get more than one so you can easily replace them when it is time to wash.

Keep them clean – Keep your pillows away from pets and children. Don’t allow your pets on the couch too often. You will reduce the amount of hairs and grime on your pillows.