Updated at: 30-09-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

A throw pillow may be washed in two simple steps to keep it fresh. Despite the fact that we often refer to throw pillows as “decorative pillows,” it is critical that we take adequate care of them. The longer we take care of our throw pillows, the better they will look and last.

Using a machine to clean throw pillows is similar to how you clean body pillows and other bed pillows. However, if you want to keep your throw pillow safe, you’ll need to know the dos and don’ts of using a washing machine. Follow the steps in the following paragraphs to give your throw pillows a well-deserved bath.

How To Clean A Throw Pillow In The Washing Machine

Step #1. Preparation


Check the care directions on your throw pillow before you do anything else. Your throw pillow should come with a tag that lists the manufacturer’s suggestions for proper care. Keep in mind that washable materials used in the construction of throw pillows might vary widely.


Before putting your pillow back in its case, be sure you’ve checked its tag. Cleaning instructions for these items may differ from those for the pillow. Pre-treat any stains on the throw cushion insert with a moderate stain remover.

How to Clean Throw Pillows | Living Spaces


Allow the solution to sit on the stains for 15 minutes or more, as directed on the label. After that, you can put the pillow in a laundry bag and wash it in the machine. Washing multiple pillows or adding towels to your throw pillow in the washing machine is recommended by some throw pillow makers.

Step #2. Washing and drying


A front-loading washer without an agitator is ideal for washing toss pillows. Select the gentlest cycle possible, then use warm water and a mild detergent to wash your clothes. Throw pillows can be damaged by bleach and other harsh chemicals, so avoid using them.


The earlier idea about washing many pillows in a washing machine with an agitator is a good one to try. As a result, the burden is more evenly distributed, and you also get the most sensitive cycle. Your throw pillow can be air-dried outside or in a well-ventilated area after washing.


To finish drying your pillow, place it in the dryer on the no-heat or tumble-dry setting after it is about 75% dry. Allow the tennis balls to sit inside the throw pillow until it is completely dry before removing them. The warmer and tennis balls will fluff and restore the throw pillow’s form, as well as prevent clumps from forming in the first place.

Complete Guide For Cleaning Throw Pillows Safely

Odor removal

Remember that some throw pillows, like silk, suede, wool, and leather, are not meant to be washed or even cleaned with water. Use a washable cover and replace it every now and then to keep them clean. Vacuuming is an alternative if you don’t have access to a washing machine and the material has become soiled.

Pour some baking soda on the surface of the pillow and let it to sit for a few minutes to refresh it. After that, vacuum it up to get rid of any remaining debris and to aerate the pillow on the outside. This will remove odors from the pillow without the need to wash it.

Dry cleaning

Dry cleaning may be the sole option for some throw pillows. Wipe the cushion in a circular motion with a sponge dipped in the solution for these goods. Once the cushion is dry, wipe it with a towel to remove any remaining moisture.

Spills and stains

A sponge or towel can be used to mop up any surplus liquid and prevent it from soaking into the throw cushion. Soak a sponge in water and mild soap and use it to clean the stained area. Before using a hair drier or the sun to dry the pillow, blot the afflicted area with a moist towel and wipe it clean.

Foam inserts

What about foam inserts for decorative pillows? Foam materials, it is safe to assume, are not designed to be washed in a washing machine. Instead, thoroughly clean them by soaking them in a sink full of warm water and a light detergent.

Remove the inserts from the dryer and rinse them in a second sink of water without wringing.

Throw pillow covers

Cleaning throw pillow covers are no different than cleaning the pillows themselves. This means you have to follow the label instructions if you must wash the material by hand, machine, or if it requires dry-cleaning. For machine washing, only select the delicate cycle and follow the detergent and water recommendations.

Throw pillow covers can be cleaned just like the pillows they cover. If the material needs to be hand-washed, machine-washed, or dry-cleaned, you must follow the recommendations on the label. Only use the delicate cycle when using a washing machine and follow the detergent and water instructions.

How Often Should You Wash Throw Pillows?

Throw pillow coverings can be cleaned just like the pillows themselves. If the material needs to be hand-washed, machine-washed, or dry-cleaned, be sure you follow the recommendations on the label. It’s best to use the delicate cycle on a washing machine with detergent and water recommendations.

How to Clean Decorative Pillows

When it comes to cleaning your throw pillows, it is important to know what kind of pillows you have at home. In order to protect the fabric and/or ornamentation of some pillows, machine washing is not an option; instead, they must be washed by hand.

Dry-cleaning is required for pillows made of delicate materials like silk and wool, as well as those filled with down feathers. Hand-washing or machine-washing is an option for those constructed of foam or other washable materials. To keep your throw pillows looking and feeling their best, it’s important to know how to properly care for their textiles.


  • The Care Instructions are on the Label – In order to know how to clean your throw pillows, check the manufacturer’s instructions. It is possible that your decorative pillows will require dry cleaning, hand washing, or spot cleaning. If the label on your decorative pillows does not include advice on how to wash them, simply look up the fabric they are made of and follow the directions on how to clean it.
  • The fabric of your pillow or pillowcase should always be tested for safety prior to cleaning with any chemical treatment. A white towel and an appropriate cleaning solution can be used to achieve this effect. Apply some pressure on the pillow with the white cloth and cleaner for 30 seconds. After that, inspect the towel to see if the color of the pillow has been transferred to it. Wait for your pillow cover to dry before inspecting it for any signs of fading or discoloration.
  • Using a Sponge to Clean Does the Trick – For some throw pillows, a gentle sponge cleaning may be all they need. Start by scrubbing the stains out of the cushions with a high-quality upholstery shampoo and a sponge. Cleaning the ornamental cushions’ trim, decorations, and other accents should be done in a circular motion. When you’re finished, use a clean white towel to blot the spots until they are almost dry.
  • The foam inserts in many throw pillows today are comprised of a solid piece of foam. If your pillows have foam inserts, they will not come out of the washing machine clean. The foam insert should be placed in a big sink or bathtub with warm water and a little amount of mild detergent once the pillow cover has been removed. Rinse completely, then gently squeeze out any remaining water and allow the foam to air dry. Afterwards, properly clean the foam.
  • If the care label on your decorative pillows says that they should only be dry washed, keep this tip in mind. Dry-cleaning solution for cloth can be dipped into a sponge that is clean and dry. Clean the pillow in a circular motion. Blot the surface with a fresh white towel to remove any remaining moisture.
  • Don’t Wash Suede, Leather, Silk or Wool Pillow Covers – These types of fabrics cannot be cleaned with water.

Washing Throw Pillows

Decorative pillows that don’t require particular care, on the other hand, can be washed at home without difficulty. Washing is actually a simple activity that almost anybody can accomplish, despite the fact that it may appear frightening at first. If you want to ensure that your throw pillows come out perfectly every time you wash them, here are a few recommendations!


  • It’s time to get rid of your pillow sham. In order to thoroughly clean these covers, you will need to follow our Tips for Cleaning Decorative Pillows guide above.
  • Using a sponge, apply a cleaning solution to any stains on the pillow.
  • To get the greatest results while washing pillow inserts, use a front-loading machine without an agitator. For the greatest results, use warm water and a light detergent. Pillows can be placed on each side of the washing machine to evenly distribute weight and use a moderate cycle if you must use an agitator.
  • In a well-ventilated place, hang the pillow inserts until they are 75% dry after washing.

It’s time to fluff the pillows once they’re practically dry. To get the greatest results, use a ‘no heat’ option. Dryer balls can also assist to restructure the pillows and bring them back to their original shape.

Throw Pillows Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

  • Choosing the right pillow cleaning procedure is the first step. Make sure to look for a manufacturer’s care label on your mattress. Pillows can be dry cleaned or hand washed with a light detergent, depending on who you ask. Others will tell you to only clean the areas that need it.
  • Determine the fabric type if no care label is provided. Dry cleaning fluid is often required for silks and velvets. Using water to wash other textiles, such as cotton or polyester, is safe.
  • Use a white cloth and the appropriate cleaning solution to do a spot test on the fabric. For 30 seconds, blot it against the throw pillow. After that, check the towel for color transfer, let it dry, and then check it again to make sure the color hasn’t faded away.
  • Some throw pillows can be cleaned with a sponge. With a good upholstery wash and a high-quality sponge, you can clean them. Circular motions are best for applying the foam wash to the pillows, with extra attention paid to piping and other crevices. Clean white towels can be used to remove the surplus water from the hair before shampooing.
  • If dry cleaning is required, work the dry cleaning solution into the piping, creases, and folds of the cushion with a dry sponge dipped in the solution. Again, use clean white towels to wipe it.

How to Disinfect Throw Pillows (Tips for Washing Throw Pillows)

Throw pillows may be washed easily, however they must be totally dry before they can be used again. As a starting point, here are some pointers:

  • In order to begin, remove any coverings from the cushion and wash them separately.
  • A sponge can be used to apply a pretreatment solution for stains.
  • Using a front-loading washer on the delicate cycle, wash in warm water. Use a moderate dishwashing liquid.
  • Hang dry in a ventilated area until most of the way dry.
  • The garment should be hung up in a well-ventilated area to dry.

How to Keep Your Throw Pillows Clean Longer

Throw pillows that are regularly dusted or vacuumed in conjunction with your upholstery will require less frequent cleaning. Throw pillow covers with complementary colors also make it easier to clean them frequently, especially if they are machine-washable – because you won’t have to worry about dark dyes mixed in with lighter whites. Finally, keep hard-to-clean throw pillows out of the reach of pets, children, and people’s feet by placing them above ground and out of the reach of pets, children, and people’s feet.

The Easiest Way To Clean Slipcovers & Throw Pillows | The Laundress

How to Wash Throw Pillows

It’s imperative that you know how to properly clean your decorative pillows. Cleaning pillows is recommended every three to six months, depending on how frequently they are used. To ensure that the pillow may be washed in the washing machine, always read the care instructions included on the tag attached to the pillow. Pillows filled with down or sensitive textiles may require dry-cleaning.

Step One: Remove the Cover

If you live in a household where you frequently need to wash your pillows, removable covers are a great option. They come in a wide range of sizes and may be washed, dried, and back on the couch by lunchtime. They also make it simple and cost-effective to decorate for a given style or season. For some great examples of how to achieve this, see our entries on Boho Throw Pillows and Beach-Themed Throw Pillows.

You can remove the pillow coverings if you have them, then wash the filler pillow according to the care instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Step Two: Pre-treat Deep Down Dirt and Stains

If you don’t have pillow coverings, you’ll have to wash the entire pillow. However, you must first treat any stains or filth that has been embedded in the carpet. This is critical, as the pillows must be washed on a soft cycle. These stains may not come out even if you use pre-treatment, and your pillows will be permanently blemished.

In order to pre-treat, use a sponge and an excellent stain remover to thoroughly soak the stain. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for letting the solution soak into the fabric.

Try Dreft, a delicate yet efficient stain remover that won’t fade your fabric, for removing stains.

Machine Wash on Gentle Cycle

If the pillow tag indicates that the pillow is machine washable, the next step is to wash your cushion. Use a mild detergent and warm water on the delicate cycle to clean your clothes. This should remove any accumulated dirt and debris from the pillow’s surface.

Hang to Dry

Ideally, throw pillows should be hung to dry so that the stuffing doesn’t get clumpy. However, low-heat drying in the dryer may be possible. Check the pillow’s washing directions, as certain pillow stuffing may melt at higher temperatures. To preserve the pillow’s shape, stuff it with a couple dryer balls.


Hand fluff your pillow back to its original shape and return to your couch or bed after it’s entirely dry.

How to Spot Clean Non-Washable Pillows

Some throw pillows made from a washable fabric but stuffed with non-machine washable filling. In these cases, the best option is to spot clean any dirt or stains on the surface of the pillow. For deeper stains or odors, take the pillow to a dry cleaner, or you may need to replace the pillow altogether.

There are certain throw pillows that are machine washable, but the filling is non-machine washable. Spot cleaning any dirt or stains on the pillow’s surface is the best solution in these situations. Dry cleaning is the best option for more serious stains or odors, otherwise you may need to buy a new pillow.

Can I Put a Throw Pillow in the Washing Machine?

Throw pillows made of washable fabric but filled with non-washable stuffing are available. It is preferable to use a spot cleaner to remove any dirt or stains from the surface of the cushion in this situation. Dry cleaning is the best option for more serious stains or odors, otherwise you may need to buy a new pillow.

There are several washable textiles used to make pillows. Care instructions should be double-checked before use.

Can I Put a Throw Pillow in the Dryer?

Throw pillows that can be washed in a machine dryer are generally safe for use in the dryer. To prevent the filling from clumping, use a low or no-heat setting and add dryer balls.

Do not use a dryer to dry down pillows made of feathers. Aside from the fact that they stink, they’ll cluster together.

How to Wash Polyester Throw Pillows

There is one major difference between washing polyester pillows and washing down pillows. This sort of fill can hold on to soap, so just use a tiny amount of detergent while cleaning with it. It only takes a tsp or two of liquid detergent to get the job done. Before allowing them to dry, ensure sure they’ve been well rinsed. If you don’t thoroughly rinse your pillows, soap residue can build up and become rancid, resulting in a musty odor.

How to Wash Couch Pillows

Depending on the fabric used to cover the pillows, couch pillows and throw pillows can be cleaned in a similar manner. Couches, on the other hand, are typically upholstered in materials like suede, leather, microfiber, and woven upholstery fabric that cannot be machine washed.

Couch Pillows with Removeable Covers

To clean your couch pillows, all you need to do is remove the covers and machine wash them. Rinse the blankets in warm water on the gentle cycle after turning them inside out. To avoid shrinkage, try to dry your garments on a hanger.

Couch Pillows with Non-Removeable Covers

Handwashing or spot cleaning are the only options if your pillows do not have removable coverings.


You may wash couch cushions in a large tub, sink, or bathtub if they are composed of materials that can be submerged in water, such as polyester or cotton.

  1. Like in a washing machine, use warm water and a small bit of soap.
  2. To remove stains and debris from the surface of your pillow, use a sponge to gently scrub it.
  3. Drain the tub of the filthy water.
  4. More warm water should be used to fully rinse the dish. Drain the tub again.
  5. Squeezing out the water as you roll your pillow like a toothpaste tube can help you remove as much of it as possible before drying. Avoid damaging the filler by being cautious.
  6. Dry out of direct sunlight in a well-ventilated location. Once they are dry, do not put them back on the couch.

Spot Cleaning Delicate Fabrics

If your couch cushions are made of a non-washable material such as leather, suede, or upholstery, you should treat them with extra caution.

Pillows made of leather or upholstery should be lightly brushed and vacuumed to remove any loose dirt. Then use warm water and a tiny amount of mild soap to spot clean the area. Remove any soap residue by blotting the place with a clean wet cloth.

After brushing with the grain to remove any loose dirt, vacuum the suede to finish cleaning. The only method to get rid of really difficult stains from suede is to use a suede cleaner designed for this purpose. In order to ensure that the product won’t leave a blemish, always perform a spot test first.

Why You Need to Wash Throw Pillows

If you’re like most people, you keep your pillow cases spotless. They are more likely to exhibit dirt and stains than the pillow itself. Even so, those cushions might use some TLC as well!

Dust, dry skin, and sweat build up on pillows over time. Pillows may smell or lose their shape because of this build-up. As much as one-third of the weight of your pillow may be dead skin, bugs, and dust mites, according to a Dow Polyurethanes study. Isn’t that disgusting? In addition, the study indicated that 10% of the population and 80% of allergy sufferers are allergic to dust mite proteins. Your health and the lifespan of your pillow will both benefit if you wash it on a regular basis.

How Often Should You Clean Throw Pillows?

Every two to four weeks, depending on how frequently you use your pillow covers, you should wash them. Throw pillow inserts, on the other hand, should be cleaned anywhere from two to six times per year, depending on how frequently they are used. Pillows of all kinds fall under this category.

How Often Should Throw Pillows be Replaced?

Every one to two years, it’s a good idea to get a new bed pillow. Depending on the materials and design, some pillows can endure up to ten years or more. You can replace foam pillows every 18 to 36 months.

Due to their infrequent usage, throw pillows can survive much longer than this. When will you be able to tell if they need to be replaced? Here are some warning indicators to keep an eye out for:

  1. The foam or filling materials have noticeable bumps.
  2. Body oil and perspiration stains that won’t wash out
  3. Sneezing due to dust mites or other allergens is a common occurrence for you.
  4. To achieve a good night’s sleep, you have to keep fluffing your pillow over and over again (this really only applies to feather pillows).

Useful Tips and Tricks when Washing Throw Pillows

Throw pillows are more frequently used than our sleeping pillows, despite the fact that they are merely decorative. While lounging on the couch, watching TV, or reading a book, they’re commonly used to provide neck and head support. They must be cleaned on a regular basis because of the amount of wear and tear they receive.

Best Way to Clean Throw Pillows without Removable Covers

As far as washing couch cushions that have been discolored or stinky, spot cleaning is the ideal method, provided that the care instructions say that they may be washed in the washing machine.

For those that can be washed in a machine, use a moderate washing detergent and a cold water soft cycle. Use no or low heat to dry according to the instructions.

Dry cleaning solution can be used to spot-clean pillows made of silk, velvet, or other delicate textiles, as well as memory foam or microbead-filled ones. Stains can be cleaned with a sponge or white cloth soaked in cleaning liquid. Make sure you have a clean white cloth ready to blot out any remaining stains.

How to Clean Throw Pillows Made of Foam

Yes, memory foam pillows may be machine washed. As long as you don’t use the washing machine, yes, you may wash memory foam! Spot cleaning is an option if your pillows are made from a solid block of memory foam or another form of foam.

How To Clean Throw Pillows (Washing Tips) - Designing Idea

Foam pillows should never be dried in a dryer since the foam is flammable. The drying process is aided by squeezing it between two towels or placing it outside in the sun.

Foam Pillow Cleaner Recipe

  • Dishwasher liquid
  • Water that’s at least room temperature
  • Buckets/tubs

Remove the cover from a solid foam cushion and wash it separately before washing. Add some mild laundry detergent to a pail or container of warm water. Take care not to overdo it with the soap.

Allow the foam to absorb the soapy water by submerging it in the bucket. Soak it for at least 30 minutes in the bucket. Rinse the foam under warm running water to eliminate any remaining detergent residue, then squeeze out any remaining water.

Allow it to air-dry before pressing it dry. Instead of using a bucket or tub, consider using a large sink or bathtub.

Washing Throw Pillows in a Washing Machine

To quickly and easily clean your cushions, place them in a washing machine and follow the care label’s recommendations. Use a moderate laundry detergent and hot water to get the best results. Wash your clothes on the longest cycle possible, following the care instructions to the letter.

A second rinse cycle in your washing machine may be available; if so, use it to get rid of any remaining residue. If an additional rinse isn’t available, you can still get great results by running it through a rinse-only cycle. Machine cleaning pillows made from fiber, down, or other feathers is generally safe.

You can soak top-loading machines up to an hour in the drum after ten minutes of soaking time. Run a normal washing cycle without bleach thereafter.

Tips for Cleaning Pillow Covers

In most cases, ornamental pillows come with a pillowcase and an interior pillow. The backs of some coverings resemble sham covers, while the zippers on others are concealed. Remove the covers if you can, and follow the care label’s directions for machine washing.

Always use a mild laundry detergent, whether you’re using a machine or doing it by hand. Every week, remove the pillow’s removable cover and wash it. Dry cleaning is the sole option for ornamental pillows whose covers are manufactured from a delicate fabric like wool, silk, or velvet.

Smaller stains can be removed with spot cleaning, but it’s best to test a tiny section of the cloth first to see which procedure is most effective. Make an inconspicuous spot test by rubbing the material with a damp sponge and wiping it clean with an old towel.

The cloth can be washed by hand or in a washing machine if there is no dye transfer. Use only a professional dry cleaner or dry clean it yourself at home if dye transference occurs.

Best Advice for Drying Throw Pillows

You should always follow the label’s directions while drying covers and throw cushions. It’s generally acceptable to dry the pillow cover if the pillow and case may be machine washed. Drying cotton and denim is safe, but silk and wool will shrink if you use a high heat setting.

When in doubt, air dry or tumble dry on low or no heat. Dryer balls or tennis balls can be used to keep the pillow’s shape while it’s drying. Heavy-duty clothespins work well for drying pillows.

If possible, leave it outside or in a well-ventilated place to dry. Ensure that the interior is totally dry before using it or putting it back on the furniture you previously used. Mildew and mold growth are facilitated by any moisture remaining in the pillow.

You can let it air dry for a few more hours or use a dryer to complete the drying process. Using a fan to dry your cushion is a great way to speed things up. Pillows can lose their shape no matter how carefully you wash and dry them.

When it’s dried, reshaping is often required. Push and pull the interior fibers apart with your hands in the manner of an accordion.

The top and bottom of the cushion, as well as both sides, should be done in the same manner. Everything within is loosened up and returns to its normal shape when you reshape it this way.

Spot Cleaning Your Favorite Throw Pillows

When washing older pillows with weak seams, the agitator bursts them even on a delicate cycle, therefore spot cleaning is necessary. Some are machine washable, while others need to be cleaned by hand on a regular basis. With just a few stains, this is the finest approach to wash your body pillow.

Pour one spoonful of laundry detergent into a dish of warm water and use that to spot clean your entire pillow.

Use the cleaning solution to moisten a clean towel, then blot any stained areas with the towel. To eliminate any remaining residue, put a second rag into new water, squeeze out the excess, and blot the area again. Add a few drops of vinegar to the mixture if the discoloration is very obstinate.

Can I Pre-Treat Stains on My Throw Pillows?

Stains must be pre-treated before washing machine-washable throw pillows and covers. Stain remover sprays are available commercially, or you can produce your own using the following instructions. Stain remover should never be used on wool, velvet, upholstery, or silk pillows since it permanently destroys these materials.

Shake the spray container to combine the three components. Wait a few minutes after spraying the solution on the spot before washing as usual. Turn the cover inside out before washing to protect the fabric’s texture.

Tips for How to Clean Suede Pillows

Clean suede cushions using a dry cloth to avoid leaving water stains, which are difficult to remove. A soft-bristle brush is the greatest tool for cleaning suede, as long as you use it to brush it away from the grain. If you don’t want to risk damaging your suede, try using a new toothbrush or a manicure brush.

Brush the pillow with a vinegar-soaked brush to remove minor spots. To remove oil stains, use cornstarch or another absorbent powder. For particularly difficult stains, use a suede cleaner.

How Can I Freshen Up My Pillows?

Fluffing your pillows on a daily basis will help keep them smelling fresh and clean. Any dust or dirt that has accumulated over time can cause a musty odor if it isn’t removed. Commercial and home-made deodorizing sprays both work to eradicate offensive scents.

Pillows that have been cleaned and disinfected retain their fresh scent. Spraying cheap vodka on your pillows cleans the surface and evaporates rapidly, so mold and mildew aren’t a concern. Mattress pads, covers, etc. can also be sanitized with vodka.

How Can I Keep My Pillows Clean Longer?

While it’s nice to have clean throw pillows, washing them every week isn’t something you want to do. Keep pillow washing to a minimum, perhaps only a few times each year. Washing clothes on a regular basis wears out sensitive fabrics faster, necessitating more frequent replacement. Pillows may be kept cleaned for longer with a few simple tricks.

Vacuum or dust the pillows every week while you’re in the rooms where they’re located. There are many ways to remove dander and other loose particles that accumulate in cushions and on their covers: vacuuming. Keep unwelcome bugs at bay with a homemade bed bug killer spray.

Throw pillow coverings are always a good idea. Covers can be washed in the washing machine by simply removing them.

To avoid separating before washing and the risk of the darker colors fading the lighter ones, choose colors of the same hue. To avoid daily use, keep delicate pillows out of reach or in settings that are rarely used.

Thanks for reading our tips on how to clean throw pillows. The best way to help other people learn how to wash throw pillows at home is to spread the word about our cleaning solutions on social media.


Keeping our throw pillows clean, even if we don’t use them as frequently as our bed pillows, is essential to their longevity. Checking the label for manufacturer recommendations and washing the pillow according to those directions is all it takes to learn how to clean a throw pillow. Before you begin cleaning, remove all of the covers.

Make sure that the pillow has been pre-treated for stains if there are any and then wash it in the most delicate cycle. Avoid the use of harsh chemicals and make sure the load is well distributed. Finally, let your throw pillow dry out in the sun and then use tennis balls to fluff it up in the dryer.