Cleaning Impossible: Throw Pillows

Author: Lauren Ross


Throw pillows are essential pieces to your décor that are stylish and comfortable. Pillows tie a room together, while offering bodily support to those using them. With that being said, throw pillows also need to be cleaned periodically so they can look their best. It’s recommended to wash pillows twice a year, to rid them of dirt and dust mites which are the leading sources of allergies.

Before washing, always check your pillows’ care tag to confirm if the fabric is machine washable. Pillow coverings that are linen, silk, wool, or 100 percent cotton must be taken to the dry cleaners; synthetics like polyester or nylon can be machine or hand washed. If you have removable coverings, remove and wash using warm water and mild detergent. Place two to three pillows (depending on size) strategically in the machine to balance out, giving them a double rinse and spin during the wash cycle. This will provide for an optimal clean and help eliminate excess water from the fibers.

When it’s time to dry the pillows, check the tag to see if the materials are dryer-safe. If you can’t put the pillows in the dryer, line dry on the patio or hang in a well-ventilated room. Be sure that you’re fully drying the fibers; any dampness left behind will mold and cause odor. To add fluffiness, toss a clean tennis ball wrapped in a white sock into the dryer with your pillows. This trick also breaks up any clumps, giving your décor pieces a fresh look.

Below are tips for cleaning specialty pillows:

Feather and Down Pillows:

Feather and down pillows can be machine or hand washed, whichever you prefer most. Using the gentle setting, place a few pillows in the machine with warm water and mild detergent. Tumble dry on air fluff or low heat, occasionally hand fluffing pillows until no moisture is left.

Synthetic Pillows:

Like feather and down pillows, synthetic materials too can be hand or machine washed. Using warm water and mild detergent, gently scrub the fibers. Tumble dry on low-medium heat. If washing by hand, soak pillow for 8 minutes, then squeeze excess water and dry.

Memory Foam Pillows:

Memory foam pillows are better cleaned by hand. Washing machines may cause damage to the structured foam. Fill the tub and soak pillow for 8 minutes with a little mild detergent. Wring out all excess water and line dry in the sun or hang in a well-ventilated room. Dryers may melt the foam, so try and stick to the previous suggestions when drying.