How to

Spot Clean Decorative

Throw Pillows

How to Spot Clean Decorative Throw Pillows

There's a spot on your favorite Pottery Barn throw pillow, the one that perfectly accents your sofa. You could flip it and hope that no one notices, or could toss another throw pillow on top to strategically cover the stain. However, neither option will bring you lasting results, and machine-washing the pillow may ruin the fabric. This is why you need to know how to spot clean pillows.

First, find out with material your decorative pillow is made out of and how it can safely be cleaned. A lot of pillows feature cotton, polyester or a cotton/wool blend. For these, mild upholstery cleaner may be used. Silk and satin require a cleaner made specifically for those fabrics. If the pillow is missing the tag that includes the fabric, opt for the gentlest cleaner possible.

Now that you've got the right type of cleaner, you'll need two clean white cloths. To start, use one of the cloths to dab the soiled area to remove excess moisture. If possible, test the cleaner on an inconspicuous area of the pillow. If that's not possible, begin by placing a very small amount of cleaner on the other cloth and gently pat the stain. Some upholstery cleaners suggest waiting several minutes for the solution to penetrate the stain before rubbing it with the clean cloth. (You can add a few drops of water to the cloth before rubbing.) If the spot doesn't completely go away, try a little more cleaner and repeat until you see improvement.

If you prefer homemade methods for cleaning throw pillows, there are several solutions you can make in the kitchen. Place equal parts rubbing alcohol and white vinegar into a spray bottle, and can add a few drops of essential oil for a fresh scent. Spray the mixture onto the soiled area (again, better to start with a little bit rather than use too much and ruin the fabric), and rub with a clean cloth. Allow the area to completely dry before applying another treatment.

Another homemade cleaning solution that works well and will leave a pleasant aroma on throw pillows used in play areas and bedrooms is a couple cups of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of dish soap. Blot the stain with the mixture, wait a few minutes and then gently rub with a clean towel.

Certain stains require more effort than others. For example, if that awesome outdoor party you threw resulted in an unsightly red wine stain on the throw pillow of a deck chair, you'll want to get that out as soon as possible. Wait too long and the wine will seep deep into the fibers. After blotting the stain with a dry cloth, moisten the area with club soda, then sprinkle with salt. The safe solution can be left for several hours before wiping.

An ink stain on a decorative pillow can cause despair, but not if you clean it quickly. Upholstery cleaner can be tried first. If that doesn't work, opt for a homemade solution. Blot the stain gently with rubbing alcohol. Next, treat the stain with a combination of dish soap, glycerin soap and water. Use a clean cloth moistened with water to remove the soap once the stain has been lifted.