How to Wash a Throw Pillow

Throw pillows are supposed to be our friends. They provide comfort and support at the end of a long day. They are always there for us to make things better. However, just like any friend it’s important to support the throw pillows in our lives if we expect that support to keep coming our way in return. You can’t neglect your throw pillows. You can’t assume that they’ll always be factory fresh. They will get dirty. They will get musty. They will get smelly and when that happens your comfy friend won’t quite be so welcoming!

So what do you do when a throw pillow gets dirty? The answer is obvious. You clean it. But the question is how. We don’t always consider how to clean a throw pillow until we’re staring at a coffee stain and struggling to decide what to do next. Most people just throw out and replace throw pillows when they get dirty. That isn’t just expensive, it’s also disrespectful. Your friendly neighbourhood throw pillow can and should have a long life. All you need to do is keep it clean. But how do you do that? You’ve come to the right place. Keep your eyeballs glued to this page and The Sleep Judge shall reveal all!

Important to Note

Unlike most standard pillows for sleeping, due to the delicate nature of throw cushions with the decorative materials and/or adornments, they can’t just be thrown into the washing machine like a blanket or set of sheets could be. Even if you have throw cushions where the cover can be unzipped and removed the stuffing, it still might feature decorative elements like sequins or stitching that can be damaged with the rougher cycle of the washing machine, front loading washer or not. It is always best to hand-wash delicate items such as these and today we are going to find out how to do just that – was a throw pillow without a removable cover so it is sanitized, cleansed and smelling fresh on your couch.

Why You Should Wash a Throw Pillow

When it comes to deep cleaning your home, you know to wash the mattress cover, curtains, and to shampoo and steam clean the rugs and/or carpets in the home but did you know that you should be washing your throw pillows as well? Throw cushions make their home on couches, window seats, beds, and more but people tend to overlook them unless they are visibly dirty. Throw pillows should actually be washed on a semi-regular occasion especially if they are in a high traffic area where they come into contact with contaminants on a daily basis. Experts recommend that you wash your throw cushions at least once every three months because they can harbor numerous germs, allergens and even bacteria that are common in a household.

What You Will Need to Wash a Throw Pillow

The task of washing a throw pillow isn’t a laborious one but it can be time-consuming, especially if you are not equipped with the right tools and items to make the job go quickly. When you decide to wash your throw cushions, especially if you are going to do the task by hand, you will definitely need or want the following:

  • Warm to hot water
  • Vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachment
  • Large basin or tub
  • Scrub brush (an old toothbrush will work as well)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Old clean sheet
  • Terry cloth towel
  • Cleaning solution – detergent or mild soap with bacteria fighters


Now that all the tools and items for cleaning your throw pillows have been assembled, it is time to start! If you are going to be using a washing machine, simply follow the instructions that are located on the laundering label of the throw pillow and dry according to the listed heat settings. This tutorial will focus on washing throw pillows and their covers by hand to avoid damage to the delicate decorations adorning your pillow.

Step One

Once you have assembled all your cleaning tools, use the vacuum cleaner with the upholstery attachment in place to remove any surface debris from the pillow such as dander, hair, dust, and crumbs.

Use caution when maneuvering around the delicate areas of the pillow where there are stitched on adornments or easily torn fabrics – if you can choose the setting on your vacuum cleaner, then use the lowest one.

Step Two

Fill the basin or tub with hot or warm water and add the recommended amount of cleaning solution. Swish it around the basin to create bubbles or lather while wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands.

Step Three

Gently push your pillows into the basin until they are fully submerged and taking on water.

Step Four

Repeat this process of letting the pillows rise to the surface of the water and pushing them back down to be submerged at least five to six times or until you are satisfied that the pillows are fully soaked through in water.

Step Five

Take the scrub brush (or old toothbrush) and gently work in a circular motion over the entire surface of the throw pillow, taking care around delicate areas and adding a bit more force on areas that have visible stains.

Step Six

Submerge the pillow again to remove excess bubbles or lather and flip the pillow over to the opposite side.

Step Seven

Repeat step number five (5) with the scrub brush until the surface of the pillow has been cleansed and then submerge it again in the hot water.

Step Eight

Use the scrub to gently go around the seams or edges of the pillow to ensure all areas have been cleaned and submerge once again.

Step Nine

Remove the pillows from the water, place them on the old clean sheet, and discard the water with the cleaning solution.

Step Ten

Refill the basin or tub with clean hot water and re-submerge the pillows to fully rinse the cleaning solution from them. Push them up and down into the water as you did when you were making sure they were thoroughly soaked.

Step Eleven

Remove the pillows from the water one by one and twist the terry cloth towel around them over the sink to remove water from the pillow without damaging anything.

Step Twelve

Repeat this process until there is no more visible water coming from the pillow.

Step Thirteen

If the terry cloth towel is soaked through, use a dry one on the remaining pillows.

Step Fourteen

Once this step has been completed, you can either finishing drying the throw pillows in the dryer as per instructions or you can hang them by two corners on the line to allow for a nice fresh scent.

Step Fifteen

Once the pillows are fully dry, simply replace them in their spot and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

You might want to check: The Best Throw Pillows for Any Room


There you have it – washing your throw pillows efficiently and safely to avoid any damage! With a bit of time and a little bit of elbow grease, you can have a fresh smelling set of throw pillows on your couch for the next time you want to come home, throw yourself on the couch and just forget the day in preparation for the next one tomorrow. To get this fresh feeling, make sure to wash your throw pillows at least once every three months or more frequently if your home recently had an illness sweep through. If you have pets who also lay around the furniture, you might want to increase the number of times you wash your throw pillows to avoid contact with their germs and dander.