• Aug 04, 2023

A Comprehensive Guide on How to Wash Decorative Pillows

Decorative pillows are a wonderful addition to any living space, providing a touch of style and comfort. Regular cleaning is essential to maintaining their vibrant colors, plush shapes, and soft textures, ensuring they remain a delightful accent to your home décor. In this comprehensive guide, we will address the common challenges faced by homeowners when cleaning decorative pillows and offer practical, useful tips to simplify the process.

Cleaning decorative pillows can be a daunting task, especially when they come in various materials and designs. Homeowners often struggle with understanding the appropriate cleaning methods for different types of pillows. Some challenges include:

  • Uncertainty about the correct cleaning approach for various materials, such as silk, cotton, velvet, synthetic, etc.
  • Difficulty in removing stains or spots without damaging the fabric.
  • Lack of knowledge about pre-washing preparations and understanding cleaning labels
  • Concerns about post-wash care and how to maintain the pillows' shape and longevity.

This guide aims to ease these challenges by providing valuable insights and step-by-step instructions on washing decorative pillows effectively.

Different Types of Decorative Pillows

Decorative pillows come in a wide array of materials, each with its own unique characteristics and care requirements. Understanding the different types will help you choose the best cleaning method for your specific pillow.

  • Silk Pillows: Luxurious and delicate, silk pillows require gentle handling to preserve their lustrous shine. Handwashing is often recommended for silk to prevent damage.
  • Cotton Pillows: Durable and easy to maintain, cotton pillows are typically machine washable. However, specific attention should be given to embellished or embroidered cotton pillows.
  • Velvet Pillows: Plush and opulent, velvet pillows need careful cleaning to maintain their softness and prevent crushing of the fabric.
  • Synthetic Pillows: Made from materials like polyester, these pillows are generally machine washable and more forgiving in terms of cleaning.

Each material has its advantages and challenges when it comes to washing, which we will explore in detail.

Pre-Washing Preparations for Decorative Pillows

Before diving into the washing process, some essential pre-washing preparations can make a significant difference in the cleaning outcome:

Understanding Cleaning Labels: Manufacturers often provide cleaning instructions on decorative pillow labels. Learning to interpret these labels will help you determine the appropriate cleaning method.

  • Spot Cleaning and Dust Removal: Regularly remove dust and debris by gently shaking and patting the pillows. For minor stains or spots, spot cleaning with a mild detergent can be effective.
  • Removing Stains or Spots: Stubborn stains may require pre-treatment before washing. Always test any cleaning agent on an inconspicuous area first to check for colorfastness and potential damage.
  • Checking for Color Fastness: Some decorative pillows may have vibrant or delicate colors that can bleed during washing. Testing for colorfastness will prevent color transfer and damage to the design.

How to Wash a Decorative Pillow (Step-by-Step Guide)

Washing decorative pillows properly involves different steps depending on their material. Here's a step-by-step guide for each type:

  • Silk Pillows
      • Handwash silk pillows in cold water using a mild detergent. 
      • Gently agitate the fabric without rubbing or wringing. 
      • Rinse thoroughly and press out any excess water.
  • Cotton Pillows
      • Machine wash on a gentle cycle using cold water and a mild detergent. 
      • Ensure zippers are closed, and use a mesh laundry bag for protection.
  • Velvet Pillows: 
      • Handwashing is recommended for velvet pillows using a mild detergent. 
      • Avoid twisting or squeezing the fabric; instead, press the water out gently.
  • Synthetic Pillows: 
      • Machine wash on a gentle cycle using warm water and a mild detergent. 
      • Opt for an extra rinse to remove any detergent residue.

    Note: Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions before washing.

    How to Wash Decorative Pillows Without Removable Covers

    Some decorative pillows come without removable covers, making cleaning more challenging. Follow these steps for pillows without removable covers:

    • Preparation: Spot clean and remove surface dirt. If the pillow is fully washable, handwash it carefully using mild detergent and water.
    • Drying: Place the pillow on a clean, absorbent towel and gently press out excess water. Allow it to air dry thoroughly, preferably outdoors in a shaded area.
    • Fluffing: After drying, gently fluff the pillow to restore its shape and volume.

    Drying and Post-Wash Care

    Proper drying and post-wash care are crucial for maintaining the quality of decorative pillows.

    • Drying Methods: While air-drying is gentle on most materials, using a dryer on a low heat setting can speed up the process. Avoid high heat, as it can damage some fabrics.
    • Fluffing: Regularly fluff and reshape the pillows while they dry to ensure they retain their original form.
    • Post-Wash Care: Store decorative pillows in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent fading and fabric damage. Dust them regularly to keep them clean and fresh.

    Preventing Damage and Extending Pillow Life

    Taking preventive measures can significantly extend the life of your decorative pillows.

    • Rotation: Rotate the pillows regularly to distribute wear and maintain their shape.
    • Avoiding Direct Sunlight: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can fade colors and weaken the fabric. Keep decorative pillows away from windows and other sources of strong sunlight.
    • Regular Maintenance: Routinely dust and spot clean your pillows to prevent dirt buildup and avoid the need for frequent deep cleaning.


    In conclusion, maintaining and cleaning decorative pillows is essential for preserving their beauty and extending their lifespan. By understanding the various materials and following the appropriate washing methods, you can keep your pillows looking vibrant and luxurious. Remember to practice regular maintenance and follow post-wash care tips to ensure your decorative pillows remain a delightful addition to your home décor. If you have any experiences or questions, feel free to share them, as engagement and shared knowledge can lead to even better pillow care practices.

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