Can You Wash Throw Pillows?



Can You Wash Throw Pillows

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The answer is, it depends. While some throw pillows can be safely washed, others may require a different cleaning method or could be spot cleaned only. It’s essential to check the care label or manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning guidelines before attempting to clean your throw pillows.

In general, many throw pillows with removable covers can be machine washed, but caution should be exercised to avoid damaging the fabric or the pillow’s filling. Spot cleaning with a mild detergent and water may be a safer option for pillows with delicate fabrics or those that are not machine washable.

Next, we’ll explore different types of throw pillows and their recommended cleaning methods to help you keep your pillows clean and in good condition.

Types of Throw Pillows

When it comes to throw pillows, there is a wide variety of materials and fillings used. Understanding the different types can help you determine the best way to clean them. Here are some common types of throw pillows:

Different Materials and Fillings

1. Cotton: Cotton throw pillows are a popular choice due to their durability and softness. They can be easily cleaned and are machine washable in most cases.

2. Synthetic Fabrics: Throw pillows made from synthetic fabrics such as polyester or microfiber are often resistant to stains and can be cleaned by spot treating or machine washing.

3. Wool: Wool throw pillows add warmth and texture to a space. They can be spot cleaned with a mild detergent or dry cleaned if necessary.

4. Down and Feather: Down pillows are filled with the soft plumage from underneath bird feathers, while feather pillows are filled with a combination of feathers and down. Both types can be machine washed or dry cleaned, depending on the care instructions.

Cleaning Recommendations for Each Type

It’s important to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer for cleaning throw pillows. Here are some general cleaning recommendations:

  • Always check the care label on the pillow for specific instructions.
  • Most cotton and synthetic pillows can be machine washed on a gentle cycle with mild detergent.
  • Wool pillows should be spot cleaned with a mild detergent or dry cleaned if necessary.
  • Down and feather pillows can be machine washed on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent, but it’s important to ensure they are thoroughly dried to prevent mold or mildew growth.

Remember to always remove the pillow cover before washing and avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach. Proper care and maintenance will help ensure that your throw pillows stay fresh and clean for years to come.

Washing Machine vs. Hand Washing

When it comes to washing throw pillows, you have two main options: using a washing machine or hand washing. Each method has its pros and cons, so it’s important to consider which one is best for your specific situation.

Pros and Cons of Each Method

Washing Machine:


  • Convenient and time-saving.
  • Can handle large pillows and multiple pillows at once.
  • Provides a thorough and deep clean.


  • May cause pillows to lose their shape or become lumpy.
  • Some materials may not be suitable for machine washing.
  • May require additional steps, such as using a wash bag or gentle cycle.

Hand Washing:


  • Allows for more control over the cleaning process.
  • Less likely to damage pillows or alter their shape.
  • Better for delicate materials or pillows with intricate designs.


  • Time-consuming.
  • May not be as effective at removing tough stains or odors as machine washing.
  • Requires more effort and physical labor.

Step-by-Step Guide for Washing Throw Pillows

No matter which method you choose, here is a general step-by-step guide for washing throw pillows:

  1. Check the care label: Before washing, always check the care label on your throw pillows. It will provide specific instructions and recommendations for cleaning.
  2. Remove pillowcases and covers: If your throw pillows have pillowcases or removable covers, take them off before washing. These can usually be washed separately.
  3. Pre-treat stains: If your pillows have any stains, pre-treat them with a stain remover or mild detergent before washing.
  4. Machine washing:
    • Place the pillows in the washing machine. If using a top-loading machine, it’s best to wash two pillows at a time to maintain balance. For front-loading machines, you can wash multiple pillows.
    • Use a gentle or delicate cycle and cold water. Avoid using hot water, as it can damage certain materials.
    • Use a mild laundry detergent. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals.
    • If desired, you can add a few extra rinse cycles to ensure all detergent residue is removed.
  5. Hand washing:
    • Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and a small amount of mild detergent.
    • Submerge the pillows in the water and gently agitate. Avoid harsh scrubbing or twisting, as this can damage the pillows.
    • Rinse the pillows thoroughly with clean water until all detergent is removed.
  6. Drying:
    • For machine-washed pillows, place them in the dryer on a low heat or air-dry setting. Adding a few tennis balls or dryer balls can help fluff the pillows.
    • For hand-washed pillows, gently squeeze out excess water and reshape them. Place them on a flat surface or hang them to air dry. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can cause fading.

That’s it! By following these steps, you can effectively clean your throw pillows and keep them looking fresh and inviting. Remember to always consult the care label and adjust the cleaning method accordingly.

Restoring Fluffiness and Shape

After washing and drying, your throw pillows may need some TLC to restore their fluffiness and shape. Here are some tips to bring them back to life:

  1. Fluff by hand: Gently knead and massage the pillows to distribute the filling evenly. This will help the pillows regain their original shape.
  2. Beat and shake: Give the pillows a good shake and fluff by beating them against a flat surface. This will help to remove any remaining moisture and fluff up the filling.
  3. Sun and air: If the weather permits, place the pillows outside in the sun and fresh air. The natural elements will help to further fluff and freshen the pillows.
  4. Use a fabric brush: For pillows with fabric covers, use a fabric brush to gently brush and fluff the fibers. This will give them a fresh and clean appearance.

By following these proper techniques for drying and fluffing your throw pillows, you can ensure they remain clean, fresh, and in great shape for continued use.

Spot Cleaning and Stain Removal

Dealing with Spills and Stains on Throw Pillows

Accidents happen, and throw pillows are no exception to spills and stains. Whether it’s a food stain, pet accident, or a spill of your morning coffee, it’s essential to act quickly to preserve the beauty of your throw pillows. Here are some steps to deal with spills and stains on throw pillows:

  1. Blot, Don’t Rub: When a spill or stain occurs, use a clean cloth or paper towel to blot the area gently. Avoid scrubbing or rubbing, as it can spread the stain and damage the fabric.
  2. Use Mild Cleaning Solutions: Depending on the type of stain and fabric, you can use mild cleaning solutions like dish soap mixed with warm water or a fabric stain remover. Always test the cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the stain.
  3. Follow Care Instructions: Check the care label of your throw pillows to ensure you’re using the appropriate cleaning method. Different fabrics may require different cleaning techniques to avoid damage.

Tips and Tricks for Effective Spot Cleaning

  • Act quickly: The sooner you address a spill or stain, the better chance you have of removing it successfully.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals: Stick to mild cleaning solutions to prevent discoloration or damage to the fabric.
  • Blot gently: Patting the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel helps absorb the liquid without spreading it further.
  • Work from the outside in: When treating a stain, start from the outer edges and work your way towards the center to prevent spreading.
  • Air dry: After spot cleaning, allow the throw pillows to air dry completely before putting them back on display.

Remember, if you’re unsure or dealing with a delicate fabric, it’s always best to consult a professional cleaner to avoid any potential damage. By taking the necessary precautions and acting promptly, you can keep your throw pillows looking fresh and clean.

Conclusion and final thoughts 💭

In conclusion, washing throw pillows is possible, but it’s essential to consider the type of pillow, the fabric, and the recommended care instructions. While some throw pillows are machine washable, others may require spot cleaning or professional dry cleaning. Here are some key points to remember:

1. Check care labels: Always check the care labels on your throw pillows for specific washing instructions. This will ensure that you clean them properly and avoid any damage.

2. Determine fabric type: Different fabrics require different cleaning methods. For example, some fabrics may be more delicate and need gentle hand washing, while others can withstand machine washing.

3. Spot cleaning: If your throw pillows cannot be machine washed, consider spot cleaning them instead. Use a mild detergent and a soft cloth or sponge to gently remove any stains or dirt.

Remember that prevention is key when it comes to keeping your throw pillows clean. Use pillow protectors or removable pillow covers that can be easily washed or replaced. By following proper care instructions and taking preventive measures, you can keep your throw pillows clean and fresh for a long time.

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