How To Wash & Clean Throw Pillows

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Functional and beautiful throw pillows, sometimes called decorative pillows, are a crucial part of a home's decor & are often found on living room sofas to give the house a touch of class.

Other than being used for supporting the neck & the head they need to be fresh & clean at every time. In any case, they are often available in bright colors that don't hide stains very well. Luckily, keeping your throw pillows clean and sanitary isn't much of a chore. These pointers show you how to wash throw pillows, keep them clean & keep the colors vibrant without breaking a sweat.

How to Effectively Wash Throw Pillows

How you wash throw pillows depends on what they are made from and the type of fabric. If the covers are removable, be sure to remove them and wash them separately. Typically, throw pillows fall into three broad categories: machine washable, spot clean or hand-washed.

The first step when cleaning throw pillows is to identify the recommended cleaning method. Check the manufacturer's label for directions and be sure to follow them to the letter.

If your throw pillow didn't come with a cleaning label, you need to determine the kind of fabric it’s made from. Velvet and silk throw pillows are often dry cleaned. Silk pillows have a smooth shiny appearance while a velvet felt is shiny and changes color when you run your hand over it. Materials such as cotton or polyester are washable with water and a mild detergent.

Spot Testing

A spot test can help you determine the proper cleaning solution for your pillows. Run a clean, damp sponge on a small inconspicuous spot of the throw pillow and check for color transfer by holding a white towel or napkin on the spot for 30 seconds. If there’s color transfer, you need to dry clean the pillow. If there’s no color transference, you can machine or hand wash it.

You can also perform a spot test to determine the best dry-cleaning fluid.

Rub a small amount of dry-cleaning fluid on a white towel then and hold it against the pillow for about 30 seconds. If the white towel stains or the color on the throw pillow fades, you need to change the cleaning fluid.

Sponge Cleaning

For sponge-cleaned pillows, you need good quality upholstery shampoo and a sponge. Use the sponge to work the foam into the pillow using circular motions. Pay close attention to the crevices and piping. Use a neutral-colored towel to wipe or blot the excess moisture from the pillow.

Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions as that affects the kind of results you get. You can sponge-clean throw pillows made from memory foam and other synthetic fillers.

Spot Cleaning

If the care instructions indicate to spot clean the throw pillows, you only need to clean the soiled spots. You can also spot clean a throw pillow to remove a small stain.

Before you get to cleaning the dirty spots, shake the pillow and smack it a few times with your hands or against a hard surface to remove the dust. Or, you can use the upholstery brush attachment to vacuum the pillow to remove even more debris.

Dip a white cloth into a solution of water and a mild detergent and clean all the dirty spots on the throw pillow. Be sure to wring the white cloth well to avoid making the pillow filler material wet. For large spills or spots, wipe from the edges of the stain going inwards. That keeps from spreading the stain to other areas. Wipe all the spots with a damp cloth to rinse away all the soap residue from the surface.

You can also spot clean your cushions if they come with non-removable, non-washable covers. Or if they’re made from non-washable materials such as memory foam or microbeads.

Cleaning Decorative Pillows

Dry-Cleaning Your Throw Pillows

If dry cleaning is recommended, dip a dry sponge into a dry-cleaning solution and work into the pillow’s fabric using small circular motions. Again, pay special attention to the pillow's creases and folds as they tend to store dirt and dust. Blot away the excess cleaning solution using a dry towel. Never wet a dry-clean only throw pillow as that causes the stuffing to clump up, leading the pillow to lose its shape.

Using A Front-Loading Washing Machine

Fill the washing machine with a mixture of a mild detergent with hot water. Toss in two throw pillows into the front-loading machine and set the spin cycle for eight to 10 minutes. Washing two or more pillows at a go helps to balance the load. If possible, use the rinse cycle to remove all the grime and residual soap.

If you have a top-loading machine, you’re better off soaking the pillows first before washing. Fill the machine with hot water and detergent, then throw in the cushions. Flip the pillows after 10 minutes and then leave them for at least an hour. Then run the washing machine as usual.

Removing Stains From A Throw Pillow

For oil-based stains such as lipstick or butter, you’ll get great results using a pre-wash stain remover. For age-related stains, you should try a rust remover.

Alternatively, you can use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and dish-washing detergent in a spray bottle. Spray the homemade stain remover on the stained spots and let it sit for a few minutes, then hand or machine wash the pillows.

You can also soak the pillows in a mixture of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes and then handwash them. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to eradicate the vinegar’s pungent smell.

Drying Throw Pillows & Decorative Pillows

Due to the decorative pillow’s bulky nature, you need to air dry them in a well-ventilated area. That entails hanging them on a clothesline as that allows the bulk of the water to drain out. Be sure to let the pillows dry completely as that prevents the formation of mold. Popping the throw pillows into the dryer helps to erase any doubts.

Once the pillows have dried completely, you need to fluff them back into shape. Squish each pillow between your hand as if you were playing the accordion. Hold each pillow top and bottom them move to the sides. Doing so loosens the filling, which often clumps together during washing, restoring the pillow to its original shape.

We hope this guide from the team at Piles of Pillows has been helpful to you and please feel free to share your experience or any additional tips on cleaning your throw pillows or safely washing decorative pillows below.

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