Can You Wash Throw Pillows: Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide

Last updated on April 2, 2024

Learn the proper techniques to clean throw pillows and ensure they stay fresh and vibrant.

Key takeaways:

  • Regular cleaning of throw pillows extends their lifespan.
  • Check the manufacturer’s label for washing instructions.
  • Identify the type of pillow inserts and fabrics for appropriate cleaning.
  • Spot clean or machine wash with care for pillows without removable covers.
  • Regular maintenance includes fluffing, vacuuming, rotating, and protecting pillows.

Table of Contents

Why Is Cleaning Your Throw Pillows Important?

Regular cleaning of throw pillows is essential for several reasons. In living spaces, these decorative elements are often subject to daily wear and tear. Dust, pet dander, and various allergens can easily accumulate on the pillow surfaces, potentially affecting air quality and cleanliness.

Additionally, oils and dirt from human skin can transfer to the fabric, leading to stains or unpleasant odors. Frequent cleaning not only extends the life of your throw pillows by keeping materials in good condition but also ensures a hygienic and inviting environment.

For those with allergies or sensitivities, maintaining clean throw pillows is particularly crucial as it helps in mitigating allergy symptoms and enhancing overall wellness.

Check the Manufacturer’s Label

Before attempting to wash your throw pillows, it’s crucial to consult the manufacturer’s label. This tag typically contains essential information including:

  • Fabric content: Identifies materials like cotton, polyester, or velvet.
  • Washing instructions: Specifies if machine washing, hand washing, or dry cleaning is recommended.
  • Water temperature: Advises on using cold, warm, or hot water.
  • Drying procedure: Provides details on air-drying or machine drying conditions.
  • Warnings: Highlights any actions that could damage the pillow, such as bleaching or ironing.

By adhering to these guidelines, you’ll ensure the longevity and appearance of your throw pillows. Ignoring the label’s instructions may lead to shrinkage, color fading, or fabric damage. If the label is missing or unreadable, proceed with caution, opting for a gentle hand wash or consulting a professional cleaner.

Determine the Type of Pillow Inserts and Fabrics

Identifying the materials used in your throw pillows is crucial for selecting the appropriate cleaning method. Pillow inserts commonly consist of polyester, foam, down, or a down-alternative, each requiring different care procedures. Polyester and foam can often withstand gentle machine washing, whereas down-filled pillows should be laundered with care to maintain their loft.

The fabric enveloping the insert equally dictates the cleaning process. Cotton and linen covers can usually handle machine washing, while materials like silk, velvet, or upholstery fabric might need dry cleaning to preserve their texture and color. Moreover, embellished or embroidered pillow covers are typically more delicate and should be spot-treated or professionally cleaned to avoid damage.

By understanding the makeup of your throw pillows, you can confidently approach cleaning while preserving the integrity and longevity of these decorative elements.

Care Instructions for Throw Pillows Without Removable Cover

For throw pillows that lack a removable cover, gentle spot cleaning is often the best approach. Utilize a mild detergent mixed with water, then apply with a soft cloth or sponge, focusing on stained areas. Avoid saturating the pillow to prevent water from seeping into the filling, which can create mildew.

To tackle odors, sprinkle baking soda on the pillow’s surface, let it sit for an hour, then vacuum it off thoroughly. If the pillow is small and the care label permits, you can machine wash it on a delicate cycle using cold water, followed by air drying completely to maintain shape and avoid mildew growth.

For more intensive cleaning, consider a professional dry-cleaning service, particularly for delicate fabrics or pillows with intricate embellishments.

How to Maintain Throw Pillows

Regular maintenance extends the lifespan and preserves the appearance of your throw pillows:

  • Fluffing after use keeps them in shape and prevents clumping of materials inside.
  • Avoid direct sunlight to protect fabric colors from fading.
  • Light vacuuming with an upholstery attachment can remove dust and allergens.
  • Rotate and flip the pillows periodically to ensure even wear.
  • Keep them away from pets to prevent damage from claws and teeth.
  • Use a lint roller to remove pet hair and debris for those with fabric that attracts lint.
  • Treat stains promptly using a mild cleaning solution and a soft cloth to dab, not rub, the affected area.
  • Refresh the pillows by airing them outdoors on a breezy, dry day away from direct sunlight.
  • Employ pillow protectors under decorative covers to shield from dirt and oil.

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