Have you ever looked at your throw pillows and thought, “These look a little worse for wear. I wonder if I can throw them in the wash?” It’s a common question, and the answer is a little complicated. In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into throw pillow care and explore the ins and outs of washing throw pillows.
First things first: can throw pillows be washed? The short answer is yes, but it’s not quite that simple.
Some throw pillows can be washed in a washing machine, while others need to be spot cleaned or dry-cleaned. It all depends on the materials and construction of the pillow.
Common Pillow Materials
Most throw pillows are made from one of four materials: cotton, polyester, wool, or silk. Each of these materials has unique characteristics, and the care instructions will vary depending on the fabric.
Here’s a quick rundown of the different materials and how to care for them:
Cotton is popular for throw pillows because it’s soft, durable, and easy to clean. Most cotton throw pillows can be machine-washed gently with warm water and mild detergent.
Be sure to use a front-loading washing machine to avoid crushing the pillows, and avoid using bleach or fabric softener. After washing, tumble dry on a low heat setting or air dry.
Polyester is another common material for throw pillows because it’s wrinkle-resistant and easy to care for.
Most polyester throw pillows can be machine-washed gently with warm water and mild detergent.
Avoid using bleach or fabric softener; tumble dry.
Wool throw pillows are more delicate than cotton or polyester, requiring more care. Therefore, wool should always be spot or dry-cleaned to avoid shrinkage and damage.
To spot clean a wool throw pillow, mix a small amount of mild detergent with water and use a clean, white cloth to blot the stain.
Avoid scrubbing or applying too much pressure, as this can cause the wool to felt or pill.
Silk throw pillows are the most delicate and should always be dry-cleaned.
Attempting to wash a silk throw pillow at home could cause shrinkage, discoloration, or damage to the fabric.
To clean a silk throw pillow, take it to a professional dry cleaner and follow their recommended care instructions.
Types of Pillows and Care Tips
Now that we’ve covered the basics of caring for throw pillows by material let’s delve a little deeper into the different types of throw pillows and how to care for them.
Down and Feather Pillows
Down and feather pillows are popular for their softness and warmth, but they can be a bit trickier to care for.
These pillows should always be dry-cleaned or spot-cleaned, as washing them can cause the feathers to clump and lose shape.
If you need to wash a down or feather pillow, use a front-loading washing machine on a gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent.
Avoid using bleach or fabric softener; tumble dry on a low heat setting, or you can opt for air drying.
Memory Foam Pillows
Memory foam pillows are great for their ability to contour to the shape of your head, but they can be challenging to care for.
These pillows should never be washed or wet, as the foam could damage or break down.
Instead, spot clean with a mild detergent and white cloth. Avoid scrubbing or applying too much pressure, as this could cause the foam to break down.
Memory foam pillows should also be kept away from heat sources, as high temperatures can cause the foam to be misshapen.
Outdoor pillows are designed to withstand the elements, but they still need a little TLC from time to time. Most outdoor pillows can be machine-washed gently with warm water and mild detergent.
Avoid using bleach or fabric softener; tumble dry on low heat. If the pillow is particularly dirty or has stains that won’t come out in the wash, you may need to spot-clean or dry-clean it.
Decorative pillows come in various materials, so the care instructions will vary depending on the pillow. Decorative pillows should be spot cleaned or dry-cleaned to avoid damaging the fabric or decorations.
If the pillow is made from a durable material like cotton or polyester, it may be safe to machine wash it on a gentle cycle with warm water and mild detergent.
Avoid using bleach or fabric softener; tumble dry on low heat.
How Often to Clean
You might wonder how often you should clean your throw pillows. The answer will depend on your specific pillows and how they’re used.
For example, if you have a bunch of throw pillows on your bed that you use daily, you’ll probably want to wash them more often than purely decorative pillows.
As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to wash your throw pillows at least once a year or more often if they start to look or smell dirty.
So can throw pillows be washed? The short answer is yes! While not all throw pillows are safe to wash in a machine, most can be cleaned with a little TLC and the proper care instructions. By following the tips outlined in this post, you can keep your throw pillows looking and smelling fresh!