Are Throw Pillows Machine Washable?

If you’re wondering whether throw pillows can withstand machine washing, the answer is not straightforward. It depends on the type of throw pillow you have and its construction materials.

Whether you can machine wash your throw pillow or not, understanding the different types and construction materials will help you determine the best way to care for and clean your throw pillow. Let’s explore the different types of throw pillows and the proper care instructions for each.

Key Takeaways

  • Evaluating the type of throw pillow you have is crucial in determining how to effectively clean it.
  • Some throw pillows are machine washable, while others require alternative methods of cleaning.
  • Familiarize yourself with the labels and care instructions provided with your throw pillows to ensure you follow appropriate cleaning techniques.
  • Preparing your throw pillow before machine washing and understanding the best washing techniques can help maintain the quality and longevity of your decorative pillows.
  • Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of your throw pillows and keep them looking fresh and appealing in your home decor.

Types of Throw Pillows

Throw pillows come in a variety of materials and constructions, and understanding the differences between them is essential for proper cleaning and care. Some common types of throw pillows include:

Pillow TypeMaterialCare InstructionMachine Washable?
Down PillowsNatural goose or duck down feathersFluff daily, dry clean onlyNo
Polyester Fiberfill PillowsPolyester fibersFluff daily, machine washableYes
Microbead PillowsPolystyrene beadsSpot clean onlyNo
Memory Foam PillowsViscoelastic polyurethane foamSpot clean onlyNo

Other materials used for throw pillows include cotton, wool, silk, and linen. Some pillows may have covers made of these materials with a different filling material inside. It is essential to check the care instructions for each type of pillow before attempting to clean it.

If you are unsure about a pillow’s care instructions, contact the manufacturer or bring it to a professional cleaner. Improper care can cause damage to the pillow’s filling and the cover, affecting its appearance and comfort.

In the next section, we’ll provide detailed washing instructions for throw pillows, including both machine washing and handwashing methods.

Washing Instructions for Throw Pillows

Whether you have machine-washable throw pillows or those that require alternative cleaning methods, learning how to wash them effectively is essential to maintain their cleanliness and longevity. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to wash throw pillows:

  1. Check the care label: Before washing your throw pillows, check the care label for any specific washing instructions. This will provide you with crucial information on the type of washing method that is appropriate for your pillows.
  2. Remove covers and inserts: Remove any decorative covers from the pillows and unstuff them from their inserts before washing. This will help ensure a thorough and deep cleaning process.
  3. Choose the appropriate washing method: Depending on the pillow’s material and construction, you can either hand-wash, machine-wash or dry-clean them. For machine-washable throw pillows, use a gentle cycle and cold or warm water to prevent any damage or shrinkage.
  4. Select the proper detergent: Choose a mild detergent that is suitable for the pillow’s material to avoid fading or damaging the fabric.
  5. Dry the pillows: After washing, dry the pillows immediately to prevent any mildew or mold growth. You can either air dry them or use a dryer on low heat.
  6. Fluff and reshape: Once the pillows are dry, fluff and reshape them to restore their shape and comfort.

By following these washing instructions, you can keep your throw pillows clean and free of stains, while maintaining their quality and appeal.

Also check: What to Do with Extra Throw Pillows

Machine Washable Throw Pillows

If you’re looking for low-maintenance throw pillows, machine-washable options are a great choice. Not only is machine washing more convenient, but it can also help prolong the lifespan of your pillows by keeping them cleaner. However, it’s important to note that not all throw pillows are safe to put in the washing machine.

Types of Fillings Safe for Machine Washing

When it comes to fillings, polyester, down-alternative, and foam pillows are generally safe for machine washing. Before tossing them in, however, it’s important to check the care label for any specific washing instructions. For example, some foam pillows may need to be washed on a delicate cycle with mild detergent to prevent damage.

Tip: To help maintain the shape of foam and down-alternative pillows, consider placing them in a mesh laundry bag before washing.

Additional Precautions and Considerations

While machine washing can be a time-saving option, there are a few precautions to keep in mind to prevent damage to your throw pillows. First, make sure to remove any decorative accents or covers before washing. If the stuffing becomes lumpy or uneven after washing, consider fluffing the pillow or placing it in a dryer on a low heat setting with a dryer ball or clean tennis ball to redistribute the filling.

Note: If your throw pillows have any delicate trims or embroidery, hand washing or spot cleaning may be a safer option.

Machine Washable Throw PillowsNon-Machine Washable Throw Pillows

Once your machine washable throw pillows are clean and dry, they’re ready to be displayed in your home. Remember to follow the care label instructions to ensure they remain in top condition for a long time to come.

Non-Machine Washable Throw Pillows

Not all throw pillows are designed to be cleaned in a washing machine. Some may have special materials or embellishments that can be damaged by water or harsh detergents. Here are some common non-machine washable throw pillow types and tips on how to care for them:

Down or Feather Filled Pillows

Down or feather-filled pillows require delicate care to maintain their shape and loftiness. Spot cleaning with mild detergent or dry cleaning is recommended. Avoid exposing them to excessive moisture, as it can cause the filling to clump and lose its fluffiness.

Decorative Pillows with Beading or Sequins

Pillows with beading or sequins should never be washed in a machine, as the decorations can become damaged or fall off. Instead, spot clean with a damp cloth and mild detergent. Be gentle when scrubbing to avoid damaging the decorations.

Velvet or Silk Pillows

Velvet or silk pillows should be dry-cleaned or spot-cleaned only. Avoid exposing them to water, as it can cause discoloration or damage to the material. Use a dry cloth dipped in mild detergent for spot cleaning. Allow the pillow to air dry completely before use.

Wool or Mohair Pillows

Wool or mohair pillows can be spot-cleaned with a damp cloth and mild detergent. Avoid exposing them to heat, as it can cause the wool to shrink or become misshapen. Allow the pillows to air dry completely before use.

Overall, when caring for non-machine washable pillows, it’s essential to read and follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. If in doubt, spot cleaning with mild detergent and a damp cloth is often a safe option. Be gentle and avoid exposing them to excessive moisture or heat to keep them looking their best.

Cleaning Just the Pillow Cover

When it comes to keeping your throw pillows clean, sometimes it’s only the cover that needs attention. Washing just the cover instead of the entire pillow can save time and effort while still freshening up its appearance. It’s also a great option for pillows that cannot be washed in a machine, such as those with delicate fillings.

The best way to clean throw pillows covers is by following their care instructions carefully. Check the label for any specific washing requirements, including water temperature and detergent recommendations. Some covers may require handwashing or a gentle cycle in the washing machine.

Care instructions for throw pillows covers will also depend on the material. Cotton and linen covers can usually tolerate warm water and standard laundry detergent, while silk and wool require more delicate handling and a gentle, wool-specific detergent. Always avoid bleach and fabric softeners, which can damage the fibers and cause discoloration over time.

If you need to remove a stain from the cover, blot it with a clean cloth or paper towel to remove as much of the stain as possible before applying a stain remover. After spot cleaning, rinse the cover thoroughly to remove any cleaning solution residue.

Machine washable throw pillows covers will be the easiest to clean. Simply remove the cover from the pillow and toss it in the washing machine following the care instructions. Make sure to use a mild detergent and wash on a gentle cycle with cold water. Avoid using fabric softeners or bleach, which can damage the fabric.

Overall, cleaning just the pillow cover can be a quick and effective way to keep your throw pillows looking their best. Whether you handwash or use the washing machine, be sure to follow the best way to clean throw pillows covers for optimal results.

Preparing Throw Pillows for Machine Washing

Cleaning your throw pillows in a washing machine is a straightforward process, but proper preparation beforehand is crucial to avoid damaging the fabric or filling.

The following steps should be taken when preparing your throw pillows for machine washing:

  1. Read the care label: Check the care label attached to the pillow for any specific washing instructions. If the label recommends dry cleaning only, do not attempt to machine wash.
  2. Remove the covers: If the pillow covers are removable, take them off and wash them separately. This will ensure thorough cleaning and prevent any damage to the filling.
  3. Loosen the filling: Gently fluff the pillow and loosen any clumps of filling to ensure an even clean.
  4. Check the seams: Inspect the seams of the pillow for any small tears or openings, which can expand during the washing process. Repair any damage before machine washing.

Following these preparation steps will help you achieve the best results when machine washing your throw pillows.

Machine Washing Techniques for Throw Pillows

When it comes to machine washing throw pillows, proper technique is essential to avoid damage or deformation. Follow these steps to machine wash your pillow:

  1. Remove any covers or pillowcases before washing.
  2. Place pillows in the washing machine, making sure not to overcrowd it. If necessary, wash two pillows at a time.
  3. Use a mild detergent and select the delicate or gentle cycle on your washing machine.
  4. Wash the pillows in cool to warm water, never hot.
  5. Add an extra rinse cycle to ensure the detergent is fully removed.
  6. To dry, place the pillows in the dryer on a low heat setting and add a few clean towels to speed up the drying process.
  7. Alternatively, you can choose to air-dry your pillows by laying them flat on a clean, dry surface and flipping them occasionally until completely dry.

It’s essential to ensure that your pillows are entirely dry before using them again to avoid the growth of mold or unpleasant odors.

Tip: Before washing your throw pillows, check the care label to ensure they are machine washable. Some pillows are only suitable for hand washing or dry cleaning.

Whether you have machine-washable throw pillows or opt for a hand wash or dry cleaning method, regular cleaning can help maintain the aesthetic and longevity of your decorative pillows.

Drying Throw Pillows after Machine Washing

After machine washing your throw pillows, it’s important to dry them properly to avoid any damage. Here are several methods for drying throw pillows:


If the material of your pillow is delicate or not well-suited for a tumble dryer, air-drying may be the best option. To air-dry your pillow, lay it on a clean, flat surface in a well-ventilated area. Fluff the pillow occasionally to help it maintain its shape.


If you’re short on time, you can use a dryer to dry your throw pillows. Add a couple of clean towels to the dryer to fluff the pillows and speed up the drying process. Set the dryer to low heat and remove the pillows periodically to ensure they are drying evenly. Avoid using high heat, which can damage the filling or fabric of your pillows.

Using the dryer

If your throw pillows are machine washable, using the dryer is a safe option. Simply set the dryer to low heat or air-dry mode. Add a couple of clean towels to help your pillows dry evenly. If they still feel damp after the first cycle, add another 10 minutes to the dryer’s cycle until they are completely dry.

Regardless of the drying method you choose, it’s essential to ensure that your pillows are fully dry to avoid mold or mildew growth. If you notice any excess moisture, air-dry your pillows for a little longer or use a dryer again for further drying.

If your throw pillows have special cleaning instructions or are made of delicate materials, it may be best to take them to a professional cleaner, who can help preserve their quality and appearance for longer.

Maintaining the Quality of Throw Pillows

To ensure that your throw pillows remain in pristine condition, it’s important to follow proper care and maintenance practices. Here are some essential tips for maintaining the quality of your decorative pillows:

Proper Storage

When not in use, it’s best to store throw pillows in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent fading and discoloration. Avoid storing them in plastic bags, as this can trap moisture and lead to mold and mildew growth. Instead, opt for a breathable fabric cover or pillowcase.

Spot Cleaning Methods

Regular spot cleaning can help prevent stains from setting, preserving the appearance of your pillows. Use a mild cleaning solution (such as water and vinegar or dish soap) and a clean cloth to dab at the stain, taking care not to soak the pillow filling.

Recommended Cleaning Frequency

It’s generally recommended to clean throw pillows at least once every three months. However, if you or a family member has allergies or asthma, you may need to wash them more frequently. Always refer to the care instructions for your specific pillows to ensure that you’re following the best cleaning practices.

Machine Washable Decorative Pillows

If your decorative pillows are machine washable, following the proper washing instructions (outlined in Section 4) will help maintain their quality and prolong their lifespan. Remember to check the care label before throwing them in the washing machine.

Tips for Extending the Lifespan of Throw Pillows

Keeping your decorative pillows fresh and appealing takes more than just washing them regularly. Here are some tips and advice to help you extend the lifespan of your throw pillows:

  • Use pillow protectors: Pillow protectors can prevent dirt and sweat from seeping into your pillows and causing unpleasant odors and stains. They also help keep your pillows looking new and fresh, making them a worthwhile investment.
  • Fluff the pillows regularly: Fluffing your pillows every few days can help prevent flat spots and maintain their shape and fullness over time. A quick shake or punch can also help redistribute the filling and keep the pillows feeling comfortable and supportive.
  • Rotate and Reverse: Rotating and reversing your pillows periodically can help them wear more evenly. This is especially important for pillows that are used for sleeping or sitting on, as certain areas may receive more pressure than others.
  • Keep them dry: Moisture can damage your pillows and cause the filling to clump or become moldy. Avoid exposing your pillows to damp environments and store them in a cool, dry place when not in use.
  • Avoid direct sunlight: Direct sunlight can cause your pillows’ fabrics to fade and deteriorate over time. If possible, keep your pillows out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources to maintain their color and texture.

By following these tips, you can extend the lifespan of your decorative pillows and keep them looking fresh and new for longer.


In conclusion, I have explored the topic of whether throw pillows are machine washable. Through careful research, I have discovered that certain types of throw pillows can be safely laundered in a washing machine, while others require alternative cleaning methods.

For machine-washable throw pillows, it’s important to follow specific washing instructions and take precautions to ensure the pillows are protected during the cleaning process. Additionally, proper drying and maintenance techniques can help extend the lifespan and quality of your decorative pillows.

Ultimately, the best way to clean throw pillows will depend on their materials and construction. By understanding the different types of throw pillows and their care instructions, you can make informed decisions on how to maintain the cleanliness and appeal of your home decor.

So, if you’ve been wondering whether your throw pillows can be machine washed, the answer is: it depends. I hope this article has given you the necessary information to make the right cleaning decisions for your throw pillows, whether they are machine washable or not.


Are throw pillows machine washable?

Yes, many throw pillows can be safely cleaned in a washing machine. However, it is important to check the care instructions and materials of your specific throw pillows to ensure they are machine washable.

What types of throw pillows can be machine-washed?

Machine washable throw pillows are typically made from durable and washable materials such as cotton, polyester, or a combination of these fabrics. It is important to check the label or care instructions for specific washing guidelines.

How do I wash throw pillows?

To wash throw pillows, remove any covers, and check the care instructions for specific washing guidelines. In general, machine-washable pillows can be washed on a gentle cycle with mild detergent. Non-machine washable pillows may require handwashing or alternative cleaning methods.

Can I machine-wash decorative throw pillows?

Yes, many decorative throw pillows can be machine-washed. However, it is important to check your specific decorative pillows’ care instructions and materials to ensure they are machine washable.

What are the best practices for cleaning throw pillows?

The best way to clean throw pillows is to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. In general, machine-washable pillows should be washed on a gentle cycle with mild detergent, while non-machine-washable pillows should be spot-cleaned or professionally cleaned.

How often should I clean my throw pillows?

The frequency of cleaning throw pillows depends on factors such as usage and personal preference. However, it is recommended to clean decorative throw pillows at least once every few months to keep them fresh and free from dirt and allergens.

Can I machine wash throw pillows with feather or down fillings?

Pillows with feather or down fillings are generally not recommended for machine washing. It is best to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer, which often recommends professional cleaning or spot cleaning for these types of pillows.

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