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How to Clean Throw Pillows

Throw pillows are ideal for adding a variety of colors and textures to almost any space. And, like the other fabrics in your home, they also need cleaning from time to time in order to look their best. Think about the designs you have in your spaces; there might be throw pillows with covers stitched permanently in place or decorator covers that go over inserts. Each type has a different cleaning process to follow. Some need spot cleaning, while others go in the washing machine. It’s also important to check care tag information on the covers that come off to see the recommended instructions that’ll keep these comfortable accessories looking their best. We at Pottery Barn have put together this helpful guide on keeping your pillows spotless and spiffy.

Tips for Cleaning Pillows with Permanent Covers

Pillows with permanent covers aren’t designed to go through the laundry. For everyday cleaning, use an upholstery wand vacuum attachment to remove dust and debris. Do this whenever you vacuum your floor coverings or after you dust a room. If the pillow seems to need deeper cleaning than it gets when you vacuum, blot soiled areas on the cover with a clean, damp cloth. Then, let the pillow air dry completely before using it again. Use a dry towel to remove some of the excess water and help the pillow dry out faster.

How to Remove Pillow Covers

For pillows with separate covers, the first step in deep cleaning is removing their covers. Check to see if your pillow cover has a zipper closure or an envelope-style back panel. If there’s a zipper, it’ll likely be along one of the edges. Unzip it and slide the pillow insert out of the cover. If the cover has an envelope-style back panel, gently open the fabric layers and slightly compress the pillow insert to slide it out. To wash the cover, turn the fabric inside out and run it through the washing machine. Be sure to follow the care tag information. Cold water and gentle detergent are usually recommended. Let the cover air dry. Press it with a warm iron if it looks wrinkled before putting the insert back into it.

How Often Should I Clean Pillow Covers?

Like pillows with permanent covers, pillow covers look their best when they’re clean. There are a few tasks you can do as part of the pillows’ regular upkeep to maintain their fabric. Gently vacuum the covers at least once a week. This ensures that the loose dust and debris that settle on your upholstered furniture get swept away. For deep cleaning, remove and wash the covers once every three months – or anytime your throw pillows start to look less than beautiful. Keeping the covers clean also keeps your inserts fresher.

Tips for Cleaning Pillow Covers

Vacuum the fabric each time you clean your other furniture. Vacuum furniture cushions and curtains at the same time to remove any airborne dust that might settle on fabric surfaces. This helps throw pillows stay clean. If a cover seems stained or dirty after a spill, add nonchlorine bleach to the wash water. If you prefer to hand wash a throw pillow cover, fill a basin with cold water. Then, apply wool wash to the bristles of a soft brush. Gently work the mild detergent into the fibers of the fabric. Let the detergent soak in for 10 to 15 minutes, and then gently scrub one more time before rinsing the cover with cold water.

How to Clean Pillow Inserts

There are two general pillow insert styles, and each has some special cleaning requirements. Feather-filled inserts are usually labeled as dry clean-only items. If you have this style of pillow insert, shake it out each time you change the cover. When it seems to need deep cleaning – once every six months or so – it needs to go to your local dry cleaner. The second style includes synthetics and some types of down-filled inserts that are safe to run through the washing machine. Put these through your washer’s gentle cycle in warm water. Use mild detergent, and, if needed, nonchlorine bleach. Then, tumble the inserts dry on low to medium heat.

Sinking into a comfortable sofa brimming with clean throw pillows is always a relaxing treat. With these easy-care tips, you can keep your throw pillows clean and ready for comfort year-round.