How to Wash Throw Pillows

This Post may contain Affiliate Links. Please read our Disclosure for legal jargon.

Throw pillows are one of those things which if you’ll add to any room in your house can add up to its aesthetic value a hundredfold! Not just that they can also make your life extremely comfortable. But when did you wash them last? And do you know how to wash throw pillows properly? 

You must first be aware of a few things before you attempt to clean them. So let’s dig deeper and learn more about washing your throw pillows.


Why Is It Essential to Wash Your Throw Pillows?

First things first, it is pretty gross if you don’t wash your throw pillows regularly. But that’s not it, if you are not cleaning them as often as necessary then you are unknowingly inviting a handful of health consequences for yourself and your loved ones!

Pillows host a variety of unwanted guests including dirt, dead skin cells, dandruff particles, dust mites, and whatnot. So if you want to nurture a healthy lifestyle then it’s highly suggested that you should clean them on a timely basis.

Related: How to Clean Pillows

What Type of Throw Pillow Do You Have?

Before you proceed towards washing your throw pillows, you must first determine the material of the removable/non-removable pillow cover. Some of the common materials used in pillow covers are cotton, polyester, velvet, wool or knit, silk, etc. Not all materials can be wash-cleaned, some should be dry cleaned professionally.

There are mainly four types of throw pillows-

  1. Pillows with removable pillow covers
  2. Pillows with non-removable pillow covers
  3. Feather and Fiberfill pillows
  4. Foam pillows

A quick tipTo ascertain the material and method for cleaning your pillow cover, you can check out the manufacturer’s care label on it. This will bring down the probability of any mishap. These labels usually indicate the proper method for washing as well as if you could iron it or not. 

Methods to Clean Throw Pillows

Let us check out methods to wash each one of them properly:

A. Cleaning Pillows with Removable Pillow Cover (Machine wash only)

1. The Material In Question

Treat the covers which are made up of cotton, polyester, linen, etc. with machine wash. (Use the quick tip from the previous section to determine this)

RELATED:  How To Clean Pool Tiles - 5 Easy Methods

– Wool, silk, upholstery, velvet demand professional dry-cleaning.

– Leather and/or suede covers should be spot cleaned only.

– Anything with intricate details should be spot-cleaned or dry-cleaned only.

2. Flip the Cover Inside Out

Remove the cover from the pillow and flip it inside out as this will help in protecting the fabric and the texture of the cover and will minimize the chances of color fading.

3. Use Gentle Cycle

We prefer to use a low-suds detergent (avoid harsher ones) and warm water to wash the delicate cover of a throw pillow. If you don’t have a low-suds detergent you can use a baby wash/shampoo as it is pretty mild.

4. Drying the Cover

It’s best to hang that cover on a clothes horse as soon as the cycle ends and let it dry naturally. But if you are in a rush (or perhaps it’s winter) then you can put them in your washing machine’s dryer (avoid heat setting).

Tip- To avoid moldy smells put the cover back on the pillow only when it’s completely dry.

B. Cleaning Pillows With Non-Removable Cover

1. The Material in Question

It’s necessary to determine the material of your pillow’s cover. This is because (as we already mentioned earlier) materials like silk, wool, and velvet, etc. require professional dry cleaning, so you should not treat them by yourself.

2. Spot Test for Leather

Fill a bowl with some warm water and add a few drops of baby shampoo into it. Shake the mixture a little to make it full of foam. Then take a sponge and dip it into the solution and clean it up. Upon completely cleaning it, take some water (without soap in it) and clean the previous solution with this. Then simply leave it to dry.

Pro Tip- Use upholstery leather conditioner on your covers after cleaning them; this will leave them quite soft and supple.

RELATED:  How To Clean Crocs

3. Don’t Use Water on Suede Covers

The best thing to use on the suede cover is a suede brush. But if you don’t own one don’t worry a new toothbrush or a potato brush would do the job. You can use suede cleaner on stubborn stains, but to avoid color fading it’s better to do a spot test before using. Pour some cornflour on greasy stains, wait for a few hours and use a vacuum cleaner afterward.

Related: How to Clean Suede Couch

C. Cleaning Feather and Fiberfill Pillows

1. Separate the Pillow from its Cover

This step is applicable only if machine washing is not suitable for the cover.

2. Delicate Cycle Setting on Your Washing Machine

Use warm water and a low-suds detergent (for a gentle wash). A 10-minute cycle would do the job. At the end of the cycle, run 2-minute warm water rinse multiple times until you get rid of excess detergent from your pillow.

3. Dry it Well

As soon as you complete the previous step(waste no time), dry it off on a low heat setting on your washing machine. You should make sure that it is completely dry, so that musty smells do not evolve.

4. Put Back the Cover

Once they are properly dried out, you can cover the pillows once again. 

Pro-tip- Before initiating a wash, check out whether there are any tears on the pillow, to avoid feathers from spilling inside your washer. If there are any then it’s better to repair/stitch them up. 

D. Cleaning Foam Pillows

1. Separate the Pillow from its Cover

It’s better to spot clean the cover or wash it separately in a washing machine.

2. Fill a Sink with Warm Water and Low-suds Detergent

Squeeze the pillow and immerse it into the sink. Keep on pressing it to ensure that soapy water enters it. Replace the water if necessary. Continue with this process for 10-15 minutes.

3. Drain the Dirty Water and Fill the Sink with Clean Water

After draining the sink, squeeze the pillow to remove the dirty water out. Fill the sink with clean water and immerse the pillow into it, squeeze the pillow again. Repeat this process multiple times. Make sure that the detergent is completely washed off from the pillow.

RELATED:  How to Clean 12 Stubborn Stains from Painted Walls

4. Drying It Naturally

Dry foam pillows out naturally and not in a dryer as it can damage the pillow. The best way to dry it is to leave it in the sun and let the moisture evaporate naturally.

E. Bonus: Spot Cleaning

– Take a bowl of warm water and add a tablespoon of low-suds detergent.

– Grab a sponge/rag, dampen it with the detergent solution. Rub the spots on the pillow cover to remove them.

– Rinse clean the spots where you applied the detergent solution, this will make sure that no residue remains. 

– Dry the pillow cover on a drying horse. Insert the pillow back in only when the cover is completely dry.


  • Before washing your pillow it’s best to read the manufacturer’s care label. This small and easy to ignore tag contains extremely useful information about cleaning and drying the pillow (don’t ignore it).
  • It’s best to use warm water to wash a pillow (whether using a washing machine or handwashing).
  • Avoid using harsh and strong detergents as it will not only affect the life of your throw pillow but will also affect your skin.
  • If you are sensitive to strong smells avoid a strong-smelling detergent.
  • Never use bleach for cleaning your throw pillows. It is very strong and can be hard on fabrics, this will shorten the life of your pillow.

How to Keep Your Throw Pillows Clean Longer?

  • It’s best to vacuum clean your throw pillows bi-weekly. This will take care of the hygiene and will make sure that you don’t have to wash them too often.
  • Keep them in places where they‘ll be away from the reach of your kids, pets, and soiled feet. 
  • You can change pillow covers weekly/bi-weekly. This will make sure that they don’t get too dirty and you will be able to better stylize your rooms with a variety of colors or designs, rather than buying something too expensive.

Written by Pulkit D

12 Natural Ways To Kill Weeds

How to Clean Cast Iron Grill Grates