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How to Clean Throw Pillows

If you’re someone with a passion for room decoration, you probably know very well how big of 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. You can place them on sofas, armchairs, and even beds and floors. 

Throw pillows look absolutely perfect when you first buy them. More often than not, these are placed in rooms with many people moving in and out and actually using the pillows. This means that they retain their new look not for so long. This is especially true if you have kids in the house. 


Throw pillows require cleaning like other textiles, and there are specific methods that you can use to clean them. You have to choose the right cleaning method, so you don’t end up ruining the integrity of the pillow's fabrics and design.

Types of Decorative Throw Pillows

While there are different types of throw pillows, they usually belong to the following main categories:

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. And they even replicate the shapes of stars and flowers. Their main feature is a single clean seam separating the front and the back. These pillows usually have a zipper at the back to 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 if they’ve been made with a totally solid fabric. They come 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 as the 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. The beautifully embroidered ones with tassels and other designs are usually welted throw pillows. Most corded pillows come with a small zipper at the back for taking the insert out. But welted pillows with complicated designs often have non-removable covers.

Neck-Roll Pillow

Neck-rolls are cylindrical-shaped decorative pillows that you might have spotted in a magazine. These are used to balance your room’s entire look, 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.

Now that you have determined the type of pillow you've got, let’s explore how to clean throw pillows.

Methods of Washing Throw Pillows

Most throw pillows come with care labels. You can find it at the right of one of the corners of your throw pillow. If it isn’t there, check at 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 go about washing the pillow.

In case your pillow doesn’t come with a care label, your first bet is to visit the website of the brand you pillow comes from. Chances are they have care instructions of their products listed on the website. 

Here are three common methods used to wash decorative pillows:

1. Wet Cleaning

Most throw pillows are machine safe and washable. If the care label recommends wet cleaning, 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. If you don’t want to use a washing machine, consider hand washing couch pillows.

The important step when wet washing throw pillows is to make sure all detergents have been rinsed out properly. Leftover detergent can end up weighing down the pillow or even stiffen it up, taking away the cozy feel. If you’re not sure if it’s all 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.

2. Dry Cleaning

The easiest way to clean “dry-clean only” pillows 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. But it is good to go for this option only if you’ve either had the pillow for a long time or got a big stain on it. 

In case of a routine cleaning or small stain on the surface, you can dry clean it yourself 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.

3. Spot Cleaning

If your throw pillows are made of a washable but non-removable fabric, you have to check the 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 (if the stain isn’t solid), 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.

Drying Decorative Pillows

Just like washing instructions come printed on the care-label, many manufacturers put drying instructions in there too. It is okay for the 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. Or you could use the safest option of laying them flat until they’ve thoroughly dried.

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, even if you’ve just washed them. There are many steps you can take to keep your throw pillows clean for longer. Two of them are listed below:

  • Use a vacuum once after a couple of weeks to remove any dirt and small debris lodged into your throw pillows.
  • Fill a spray bottle with some vodka and spritz some of it all over the pillows to sanitize them quickly.

Conclusion

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

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