Dear Home Ec 101,
Can you tell me how to clean throw pillows? A friend made me a pillow cover for a throw pillow on my couch, but she sewed it shut over the pillow, so there is no way to remove the pillow to wash it. Are there any options as far as cleaning the cover?
Throw Down in Three River
It was very kind of your friend to make you the throw pillow cover, but I certainly understand your dilemma. We’ll start broadly and then narrow it down to your specific case.
How to Clean Throw Pillows
In general cleaning a throw pillow is much like cleaning any upholstered furniture, since they are often made of the same material. Vacuum your throw pillows with the upholstery attachment each time you vacuum the couch or chair. Be careful, as decorative throw pillows may have delicate stitching or accents that may unravel with vigorous cleaning.
If your throw pillow is covered in silk or wool, it can and should be dry cleaned when necessary -read that as when looking dingy.
Throw pillows can be washed, preferably in a front load washer on the hand or delicate cycle and then dried thoroughly, first by drip drying and then on the fluff / tumble / no heat cycle in the dryer. Be absolutely sure that the pillow is completely dry before returning it to its place of honor or you’ll run the risk of developing the funk of mold or mildew. With a bulky item like a pillow, you are guaranteed a hard time trying to get rid of that odor.
If the decorative cover of your throw pillow has too many delicate items to run the risk of a trip through the washer, even on gentle, grab a seam ripper.
Yes, you’re going to do a little surgery on your throw pillow.
Carefully cut the thread that contains the last seam sewn for the pillow. This seam should be easy to identify as there will be some exposed stitching, no matter how careful your friend was. Hint: check near the corners.
Hand wash the cover of the pillow and then, close the seam with a slip stitch.
As I truly hate sewing, the decorative pillow would then be moved to a place of “honor” where it would rarely come in contact with the often grubby minions who seem to insist on wallowing on things I love, immediately after playing in the mud.
Good luck with your throw pillow and let me know how it turns out.
Submit your questions to email@example.com.