How to Wash Throw Pillows

Every home has its unsung heroes, and for me, it’s always been the throw pillows. These decorative delights not only add texture and patterns to our living room and bedrooms but also bear witness to countless family movie nights, lazy afternoons, and those moments when I’ve nestled my face into them after a long day. But, as with anything frequently used, they tend to pick up the wear and tear of life — from accidental spills to accumulated dust. But thankfully, most throw pillows can be washed. In this article, I’m sharing some of my favorite tips on how to wash throw pillows.

Check the Care Label

Before you do anything, always check the care label on your throw pillow. This label provides crucial information regarding the material of the pillow and the recommended washing instructions. Ignoring these guidelines could lead to irreversible damage to your pillows.

Determine the Pillow Type

There are generally two types of pillows; pillows with removable covers and ones that do not have removable covers and are the entire pillow with the filling. The removable covers can be taken off and cleaned separately, but the entire pillow with filling can be a little more challenging.

Prep the Pillows

  • Remove the cover: If your pillow has a removable cover, unzip it or unbutton it and take out the inner pillow. This way, you can wash the cover separately, ensuring a more thorough clean.
  • Spot clean stains: Before washing, spot-treat any stains using a cloth, warm water, and mild detergent. Gently dab the stain – don’t rub, as this can push the stain further into the fabric.

Choose the Right Detergent

Opt for a gentle, liquid detergent. If your pillows are white, you can consider adding a fabric-safe bleach. For colored fabric, it’s essential to make sure that the detergent you choose doesn’t cause fading. I recommend Mrs. Myer’s All Natural Laundry Detergent.

Machine Washing

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown for those pillows and covers that are machine washable:

  • Load the machine: Don’t just throw in one pillow; balance your washing machine by adding the pillows in pairs or with other laundry items.
  • Choose a gentle cycle: The delicate or gentle cycle on your washing machine is the safest bet for throw pillows.
  • Use warm water: This provides a thorough cleaning without being too harsh on the fabric.
  • Double rinse: Ensure that all detergent is rinsed out by setting your machine for an extra rinse cycle.
  • Spin dry: After washing, use a spin cycle to remove as much water as possible.

Hand Washing

If the care label suggests hand washing or you feel the material is too delicate:

  • Fill a basin with water: Use lukewarm water and a small amount of mild detergent.
  • Submerge the pillow: Gently squeeze the pillow to let the water and detergent penetrate the fibers.
  • Rinse: After washing, drain the soapy water, fill the basin with clean water, and rinse the pillow several times until all detergent is out.
  • Remove excess water: Press the pillow between two towels to soak up water. Don’t wring it as this could distort its shape.

Drying the Pillow

  • Air dry: The best way to dry throw pillows is by air drying. Place them flat in an area with good air circulation. Ensure they are completely dry before using them to prevent mold or mildew.
  • Dryer: If you must use a dryer, use a low heat setting. Throw in a couple of clean tennis balls or dryer balls to fluff up the pillows and prevent clumping.

Fluffing and Reshaping

Once your pillows are dry:

  • Reshape: Gently reshape the pillows with your hands.
  • Fluff: For pillows that feel flat after washing, hold the pillow from the two diagonal corners and give it a good shake. This helps distribute the filling evenly.

Maintenance and Prevention

To extend the life of your throw pillows:

  • Rotate: Just like with your bed pillows, rotating throw pillows can distribute wear and tear.
  • Vacuum: Regularly vacuum your pillows to keep them free of dust and allergens.
  • Protect: Use pillow protectors for the inner pillows, and if possible, opt for removable covers as they’re easier to clean.

Throw pillows can enhance the beauty and comfort of our spaces, but they also need regular care. Proper washing not only ensures a cleaner home but also extends the life of your decorative pillows. Always remember to consult the care label, choose the right washing method, and never rush the drying process. Here’s to fresh, clean, and comfy throw pillows!

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