Throw pillows can add comfort and elegance to a room. Have you been wondering how to clean your throw pillows, though? Keep reading to find out how!
Why You Need to Clean Your Throw Pillows
While some sofa pillows are just for looks, other pillows for the couch are quite functional for cuddling with or even- gulp- napping! Ultimately, couch pillows become homes for dust mites, bacteria, and ::cringe:: dead skin cells, among other things.
Other times, someone ate or drank something on the couch and had a spill on the throw pillows. So, liquids and food are culprits too. These things all create a variety of ways that a couch pillow can get dirty. While it is not fun to hear, that is why your throw pillows need to be washed.
Some key pillow related questions:
- Does this pillow have a care tag?
- Does it have a cover that can be taken off and washed separately?
- Is the pillow spot clean only?
- Is the pillow dry clean only?
- Can you wash it in the washing machine?
- Which fabric is used in the pillow?
How to Clean Different Types of Throw Pillows
How you clean your throw pillows depends on what kind of throw pillows you have. There are a wide variety of fabrics and styles, i.e. some covers have zippers or an overlap on the back and an inner pillow, while some covers are not removable at all.
Be sure to check your tags!
Check your sofa pillow. Yes, right now. Does it have a care tag? If so, use that to guide you. If not or if you can no longer read it, here are a couple of general guidelines you can follow.
- Dry clean only materials are typically silk, upholstery, wool, or velvet.
- Handwashing and machine washable materials are more like cotton or polyester.
Dry clean only couch pillows need to be dry cleaned. There are products out there now to help you do this at home, though, if this interests you. For DIY dry cleaning, try this product from Woolite. It even includes pretreatment stain remover, as well as sheets for your dryer. Use the pretreatment stain remover first and then throw one of these sheets into your dryer, along with the sofa pillow. It will save you time and money.
Hand & Machine Washing
Handwashing and machine washable throw pillows need mild detergent, whichever way you wash them. Hand washing throw pillows just requires a couple drops of the mild dishwashing detergent in a bucket of water. Take the first cloth and clean the sofa pillow.
Take a second cloth with clean water (just run it under the faucet and wring out excess water), go over everything again, and allow it to dry completely. Machine washable pillows can be run through your washing machine, following the care tag. Although, ideally, hot water is best. You can use the Lysol Laundry Sanitizer can disinfect it, too.
To dry any of these couch pillows, you can lay them flat to dry. For ones that say so on the care tag, you can run them through the dryer at the specified temperature instead. It will likely be a low temp.
Wash your pillows for the couch monthly for best results. You can also use a vacuum on them weekly, fluff, and spray with Lysol to keep your couch pillows fresh.
You may have seasonal/holiday sofa pillows. These are most likely going to be covers; although, a few might be actual pillows. Follow the above guidelines for cleaning for these ones, as well.
Best Products to Use When Cleaning Your Pillows
Ok, with those questions considered, here are the best cleaning products you can buy for cleaning your couch pillows.
- For spot cleaning: Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover will do well on lightly colored throw pillows. It says “carpet” in the name, but it also works on sofa pillows. It is great at getting stains out. The only catch is that sometimes it can take color with it. So, if you have lightly colored sofa pillows, there is less of a chance of that happening. Try it on an inconspicuous spot first.
- For help preventing those water and liquid stains in the first place: Try Scotchgard Fabric Water Shield. Scotchgard is a long-time trusted brand that basically creates a layer of protection for your throw pillows. You can reapply it every 6 months. It sprays straight out, so consider this while applying.
- Pet & Child Safe: Amazing Whip It Cleaner is a great product if you are looking to be safe around children and pets while cleaning your pillows. It is a plant-based enzyme spray cleaner that you can spray on your pillows to clean them. You can also use a microfiber cloth to get them really clean.
- DIY Dry Cleaning: There is the Woolite At Home Dry Care Cleaner you can use for at-home dry cleaning. It includes 6 sheets as well as stain remover wipes that you can use, too. You pretreat any stains first and then throw one of the sheets into the dryer with the throw pillow (or just its cover).
- Disinfectant: Surprisingly (or not), Lysol can disinfect your throw pillows! You can spray it on fabrics that don’t hold onto water marks to disinfect it. It’s easy to think of this spray as something to use solely on doorknobs and light switches, but who knew you could use it this way, too?
- Machine Washable Sanitizer: Lysol also has a laundry sanitizer for the throw pillows that are machine washable. You take two capfuls of the sanitizer (it works in both standard and HE machines) and pour them into the fabric softener compartment. It sanitizes during the rinse cycle. So easy!
How to Make Your Own Throw Pillow Cleaner
Would you rather make your own DIY pillow cleaner? If you need to hand wash or spot clean your couch pillows, here is a DIY recipe to make your own homemade cleaner.
- A couple drops of mild dishwashing detergent
- A bucket of water
- Two cloths (one for the soapy water and one for the clean water)
- Vinegar (optional- for tough stains)
Squeeze a couple drops of mild dishwashing detergent into a bucket and fill with clean water. Adding the soap into the bucket first helps everything mix easily as you’re filling the bucket with water. Take one of your cloths, dip it in the soapy water, squeeze, and start wiping down your throw pillows.
When you finish with the soapy water, wet the other cloth with clean water and wipe down the sofa pillows again to remove the soapy water. Adding a splash of vinegar to the mixture is helpful for extra-stubborn stains.
How to store throw pillows and covers when you’re not using them.
Pick a container that works for your space. You might choose a plastic container, a storage box (think: coffee table with storage), or a vacuum sealed bag.
- Plastic containers are great because you aren’t shoving your pillows into it, but they do require space to be kept.
- Storage boxes work well in a living room as a coffee table or against the wall, but that may limit how many throw pillows can be stored. It’s fine if you only have a few.
- Vacuum bags are terrific space savers when used properly; however, they may leave some stubborn wrinkles when you get the pillows out next time.
In the end, these choices all have benefits, so pick which way- or two- works best for your home.
Storing your throw pillows properly can help prevent them from getting dirty, along with cleaning them regularly when you have the throw pillows on the couch.
Tips, Tips & More Cleaning Tips!
How do you clean throw pillows without a removable cover?
If your throw pillow does not have a removable cover, double check the care tag, but you should be able to at least spot clean it. You can even use the DIY recipe above to help you do this!
How do you wash throw pillows that cannot be washed?
When you find yourself with a sofa pillow that cannot be washed (fabrics like suede are not water friendly), you should still be able to spot clean with a little vinegar and a brush going with the grain of the pillow. While a suede brush is best, you can also use a manicure brush or toothbrush. Cornstarch or baking powder can help remove oily stains.
Can you put a throw pillow in the washing machine?
Certain throw pillows can be run through the washing machine, but not all. Check your care tag. If your pillow is without a tag, please see above for a couple general guidelines for various throw pillow fabrics and how you can wash them.
Washing my throw pillow left it lumpy- how do I fix it?
Fluff it! You can push and pull the pillow’s stuffing from the outside to flatten lumps with your hands. This often happens after a trip through the washing machine.
Remember there are a few simple things you can do to keep your couch pillows clean and fresh.. Always refer to the care tag first, but even if you don’t have one, there are still options for how you can clean your throw pillows. Also, be sure to give them a fluff every now and again.
Lumps can happen after washing, but you can easily fix that by reshaping the pillow with your hands. Whether you are using your throw pillows for function or decoration, keeping them clean makes them all the more enjoyable.