September 04, 2020 6 min read

If you’re someone with a passion for room decoration, you probably know what a difference the right throw pillows can make to a room’s aesthetics. These small decorative and comfortable items add visual appeal to a room, and you can place them on sofas, armchairs, and even beds and floors.

Throw pillows look absolutely perfect when you first buy them. However, more often than not, these pillows are placed in rooms with many people moving in and out who actually use them, which means that they often don’t retain their new look for long. This is especially true if you have kids in the house. Read on to learn how to clean throw pillows and how to wash couch pillows, so you can keep yours looking beautiful for many years to come.

Types of Decorative Throw Pillows

There are many different types of throw pillows available to enhance your home. Here are the main categories:

Linen Throw Pillows Sabra Throw Pillow
  • Knife-Edge Throw Pillows. These throw pillows are very simple and widely available. Made by sewing two different fabrics together, forming a clean, sharp “knife like” edge, these pillows come in many shapes, such as square, rectangle, and round or may even come in fun shapes like stars and flowers. Their main feature is a single clean seam separating the front and the back. These pillows usually have a zipper closure where you can add or remove the pillow insert.
  • Flange Decorative Pillow. Flange decorative pillows are made with a different type of seam with a flat edge, sometimes 3-4 inches thick, called the “flange.” These items look unique, even when made with a totally solid-colored fabric. You’ll also find them in all sorts of patterned and embroidered fabrics along with simple solid ones, with the flat seams being the main feature. In most cases, they have non-removable covers and come with their own inserts to ensure the shape is filled out correctly.
  • Welted/Corded Throw Pillows. These pillows come with a sharp seam like knife-edge pillows, but with a decorative cord or welting attached to the seam. Welted pillows are one of the most popular types of decorative pillows out there. Most of the beautifully embroidered throw pillows with tassels and other designs are welted throw pillows. Most corded pillows come with a small zipper at the back for taking the insert out. However, some welted pillows with complicated designs have non-removable covers.
  • Neck-Roll Pillow. Neck-rolls are cylindrical-shaped decorative pillows that you may have seen in a magazine. These pillows can balance your room’s entire aesthetic, making it look composed and visually attractive. Most of these pillows come with sewn shut flat sides or have a gathered edge for the pillow insert.

How to Wash Throw Pillows

Wool Moroccan Throw Pillow Handmade Blue Cotton Throw Pillow

Can throw pillows be washed? Most throw pillows come with care labels usually located on one of the corners or edges of the pillow. If it isn’t there, check the back. In some cases, it is placed inside the zipper. The label will mention whether the pillow is “washable”, “non-washable” or “dry clean only.” By reading the label, you’ll determine how to wash decorative pillows.

In case your pillow doesn’t come with a care label, try checking information on the website of the brand your pillow comes from. Chances are they have care instructions for the products listed on the website.

Here are three common methods for how to clean decorative pillows:

  • Wet Cleaning. Can you wash throw pillows? Luckily, most throw pillows are washing machine safe. If the care label has information on how to wash throw pillows in the washing machine, simply separate the pillow cover from the pillow insert and throw it in the washing machine. It is safe to run them through the longest cycle setting in warm water with a mild detergent. This method works best for pillow sham cleaning. If you don’t want to use a washing machine, consider cleaning throw pillows by hand. The important step when wet washing throw pillows is to make sure all detergents have been rinsed out completely. Any leftover detergent can weigh down the pillow or even stiffen it up, taking away the cozy feel. If you’re not sure if the detergent is out during the first rinse delicate cycle, run it through more clean water until you’re satisfied. If the fabric is very stained, it might be smarter to soak it in a mixture of water and detergent for an hour or two and then wash the pillow to get all the stains out properly.
  • Dry Cleaning. The easiest way to practice pillow dry cleaning is to take them straight to the dry cleaner. Usually, these pillows can be dry cleaned and returned to you looking as good as new for a very minimal charge. It’s also good to go for this option only if you’ve either had the pillow for a long time or if there is a big stain on it. Here’s how to clean a throw pillow yourself using the dry clean method. Start by taking a dry clean sponge, dipping it into a “dry-cleaning solution” and then cleaning the throw pillows' surface in small circular motions. Once you’re done with these steps, and the pillow looks tidy, use clean white towels to remove the excess moisture. However, you should take your pillow to a professional dry-cleaning service if it is made of a tricky fabric like Rayon.
  • Spot Cleaning. Here’s how to wash a throw pillow through spot cleaning. If the pillows are made of a washable but non-removable fabric, start by finding out what type of material it is filled with. If the filling is made of micro-beads or memory foam, you shouldn’t drench it in water. You can, however, do some spot cleaning. Take a sponge and dip it in a stain-remover mixture or plain water and clean the spot in circular motions. You can even substitute these with a good upholstery shampoo if you’re doing a seasonal throw pillow cleaning. Finally, finish it off by blotting away as much moisture as possible with a clean white rag or towel, and you’re done! Now that you’ve learned how to wash throw pillows let’s discuss how to dry them.
Mudcloth Pom Pom Throw Pillows

How to Sanitize Throw Pillows

Since it’s likely your favorite throw pillows will get lots of use, knowing how to keep them fresh and sanitary is crucial. Here are some tips for how to clean couch pillows and throw pillows so they stay fresh for longer.

One easy method is to use a mixture of part 70% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol and party water, and spray it directly onto the pillow. You can also use a storebought disinfectant product, but make sure that it’s safe to use on your pillow’s specific type of fabric. Gently spray the mixture onto the pillow until it’s evenly coated, then let it dry completely. The alcohol or the ingredients in the disinfectant should help to sanitize your favorite pillows in minutes.

Another method you can try is to steam clean your pillows. Using a steam cleaner can help to kill and germs or bacteria that are lurking. Always check the care tag to confirm that it’s safe to steam clean your pillow before you start. Run your steam cleaner over the pillow twice, making sure you cover the entire area. Let the pillow dry thoroughly and you’re good to go.

Drying Decorative Pillows

Just like washing instructions that come printed on the care-label, many manufacturers also include specific drying instructions, too. It is perfectly fine for most generally machine-safe fabrics like cotton or linen to be dried in a dryer.

For the more delicate fabrics like silk and other loose-knit fabrics, if the care label hasn’t specified how to dry them, it’s always best to hang them up to air dry. You can also use the safest option of laying them flat until they’ve thoroughly dried as well if you choose.

Tips to Keep Your Throw Pillows Clean Longer

Throw pillows have various uses other than being used as decoration pieces. Many individuals use them as food or laptop trays. As such, they might get some regular dirt, food, or beverages on them, even if you’ve just washed them. Here are two simple things you can do to keep your throw pillows clean for longer. First, use a vacuum once every couple of weeks to remove any dirt and small debris lodged into your throw pillows. Next, fill a spray bottle with some vodka and spritz some of it all over the pillows to sanitize them quickly.

Mudcloth Pillow Cover

Final Thoughts On How To Clean Throw Pillows

So, can you wash decorative pillows? It’s always recommended to wash your throw pillows every six months or more often, and perform basic cleaning tasks every couple of weeks. Since nothing in this process is incredibly difficult, anyone can clean their favorite decorative pillows at home. All you have to do is follow the instructions!