Can You Wash Decorative Pillows in the Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Decorative Pillows in the Washing Machine

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Yes, you can wash decorative pillows in the washing machine. The method of washing depends on the type of fabric and filling of the pillow.

Decorative pillows add a touch of charm and personality to any living space. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, making them a versatile choice for interior decoration. However, over time, these decorative pillows can accumulate dust, dirt, and odors, leaving you wondering how to keep them fresh and clean. The good news is that you can indeed wash decorative pillows in the washing machine, but it’s essential to do it correctly to ensure they retain their shape and beauty.

In this guide, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to wash your decorative pillows effectively and maintain their aesthetic appeal.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Decorative Pillows in the Washing Machine


  • Check the care label: Always begin by checking the care label on your decorative pillow. If it indicates that the pillow is machine washable, you’re good to go. If not, consider dry cleaning as an alternative.
  • Remove the cover: If your decorative pillow has a removable cover, take it off before washing. The cover should be washed separately according to the care label instructions.
  • Choose the right cycle: When using your washing machine, select a delicate cycle with warm water and a mild detergent. This gentle approach helps protect the delicate fabric and decorative elements on the pillow.
  • Use a laundry ball or tennis ball: To maintain the fluffiness of your decorative pillow, add a laundry ball or tennis ball to the washing machine. These items help redistribute the filling evenly, preventing clumping.
  • Dry thoroughly: After washing, dry your decorative pillow thoroughly in the dryer. Use a low heat setting and pause the machine periodically to shake the pillow insert. This ensures that the filling spreads evenly throughout the pillow, preventing lumps.


  • Ignore the care label: Always adhere to the care label’s instructions. If it says “dry clean only” or provides specific washing guidelines, follow them diligently to avoid damaging your pillow.
  • Overload the machine: Avoid washing too many decorative pillows at once, as overcrowding the machine can lead to inadequate cleaning and uneven distribution of the filling.
  • Use harsh detergents or bleach: Stick to a mild detergent to prevent damage to the fabric and decorative elements. Avoid using bleach or any harsh chemicals.
  • Use high heat: High-temperature settings can cause the filling inside your decorative pillow to melt or clump. Stick to a low heat setting when drying.

Now that you’re aware of the dos and don’ts let’s go through the step-by-step process of washing decorative pillows in your washing machine:

Steps To Wash Decorative Pillows In The Washing Machine:

Step 1

Check the care label: Begin by inspecting the care label on your decorative pillow. If it indicates that the pillow is machine washable, proceed with confidence. If not, consider other cleaning methods or consult a professional cleaner.

Step 2

Remove the cover: If your decorative pillow has a removable cover, take it off carefully. Most covers are designed to be machine washable, so check the care label on the cover for specific washing instructions. Wash the cover separately according to these guidelines.

Step 3

Prepare the pillow: Before placing the pillow insert in the washing machine, give it a gentle shake to fluff up the filling and distribute it evenly. This step will help ensure an even wash.

Step 4

Select the right cycle: Set your washing machine to a delicate cycle with warm water. The gentle cycle is essential to protect the fabric and decorative elements of your pillow. Add a small amount of mild detergent to the machine.

Step 5

Add the laundry ball or tennis ball: Drop a laundry ball or tennis ball into the washing machine. These items will help prevent the filling from clumping during the wash cycle and maintain the pillow’s fluffiness.

Step 6

Wash the pillow: Place the decorative pillow in the washing machine and start the cycle. Be sure to monitor the machine during the wash to ensure everything is progressing as expected.

Step 7

Dry the pillow: Once the washing cycle is complete, remove the decorative pillow promptly and place it in the dryer. Set the dryer to a low heat setting. To prevent clumping, pause the machine periodically and shake the pillow insert to distribute the filling evenly.

Step 8

Final inspection: After drying, check the decorative pillow for any remaining damp spots. If you find any, let it air dry until fully dry to prevent mold or mildew growth.

Now that you know how to wash decorative pillows in the washing machine effectively, you might be wondering if there are alternative methods to clean them. Let’s explore some alternative cleaning methods for decorative pillows:

Alternative Washing Methods For Decorative Pillows:

  • Spot cleaning: For minor stains or spills, consider spot cleaning your decorative pillow with a mixture of mild detergent and water. Use a clean cloth or sponge to gently dab the stained area. Avoid rubbing vigorously, as this can damage the fabric.
  • Hand washing: If your decorative pillow is particularly delicate or has intricate embellishments, you may opt for hand washing. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Gently agitate the water and immerse the pillow, pressing it lightly to allow the soapy water to penetrate. Rinse thoroughly and press out excess water before drying.
  • Professional cleaning: When in doubt or dealing with valuable and delicate decorative pillows, it’s always a good idea to consult a professional cleaner. They have the expertise and equipment to clean your pillows without risking damage.
  • Steam cleaning: Steam cleaning can be an effective method for refreshing and disinfecting decorative pillows. Using a steam cleaner with a fabric attachment, carefully go over the surface of the pillow, following the manufacturer’s instructions for the device.
  • Freezing: If your decorative pillow has an odor issue, consider placing it in a plastic bag and freezing it for a few hours. This can help eliminate odors caused by bacteria or other contaminants. Allow the pillow to thaw and air out before use.


Can I wash all types of decorative pillows in the washing machine?

Answer: Not all decorative pillows are machine washable. Check the care label to determine whether your pillow can be safely washed in the machine.

What if my decorative pillow doesn’t have a care label?

Answer: If your decorative pillow lacks a care label or washing instructions, it’s best to consult a professional cleaner or opt for a gentle cleaning method, such as spot cleaning.

Can I use a fabric softener when washing decorative pillows?

Answer:: It’s best to avoid using fabric softeners, as they can leave residue on the fabric and potentially affect the pillow’s appearance.

How often should I wash decorative pillows?

Answer: The frequency of washing depends on usage and exposure to dirt and odors. As a general guideline, consider washing decorative pillows every 2-3 months or as needed.

Can I use a dryer sheet to prevent static when drying decorative pillows?

Answer: While it’s a common practice, using dryer sheets may leave a residue on your decorative pillow. To prevent static, you can add a few tennis balls or a clean, dry towel to the dryer.

Final Words:

Decorative pillows are a wonderful addition to your home decor, but they require proper care to maintain their beauty. Washing them in the washing machine is a viable option for cleaning, but it’s essential to follow the dos and don’ts mentioned in this guide to ensure a successful outcome. Remember to check the care label, remove the cover if applicable, use a delicate cycle with mild detergent, and dry the pillow thoroughly with the help of a laundry ball or tennis ball. With these steps, you can keep your decorative pillows fresh and vibrant, enhancing the aesthetics of your living space for years to come.

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