How To Clean A Decorative Pillow?

Steps to Clean a Decorative Pillow

Cleaning a decorative pillow involves several key steps to ensure it maintains its beauty and integrity. To clean a decorative pillow, you should first refer to the care label for any specific instructions. Typically, the process involves removing the cover if it’s detachable, pretreating any stains with a gentle stain remover, choosing a washing method (hand wash, machine wash, or spot clean), using a mild detergent, and drying the pillow properly. For pillows that cannot be washed, vacuuming and spot cleaning with a damp cloth may be recommended. Always avoid harsh chemicals, and when using water, do so sparingly to prevent damage to the fabric and filling.

Determining the Appropriate Cleaning Method

Check Care Labels

Before attempting any cleaning, always check the care label on your decorative pillow. Manufacturers provide valuable information on the safe cleaning techniques and products to use. If the care label is missing or unreadable, err on the side of caution and opt for the gentlest cleaning methods.

Consider Pillow Type

The material of your decorative pillow will dictate the best course of action. For example, pillows made of silk, wool, or velvet often require special care compared to those made of cotton or synthetic fabrics.

Hidden Zippers and Removable Covers

Pillows with removable covers are generally easier to clean, as you can simply take the cover off and wash it according to the care instructions. If the inner pillow is soiled, however, you’ll need to clean this part separately.

Tackling Stains

Spot Cleaning

For decorative pillows that cannot be washed, spot cleaning is your go-to method for addressing stains. Use a mild detergent diluted in water, dampen a cloth with the solution, and gently blot the stain. Always perform a spot test on an inconspicuous area first to ensure that the detergent does not cause discoloration.

Applying a Stain Remover

When dealing with a tougher stain on a washable cover, apply a stain remover before laundering. Be sure to follow the product’s instructions and wash the cover promptly after pretreatment.

Washing Your Decorative Pillows

Machine Washing

If the care label permits, you can machine wash the pillow cover and, sometimes, the entire pillow. Use cold water and a gentle cycle to prevent damage, and consider using a mesh laundry bag for extra protection. Avoid washing your decorative pillows with heavy items like jeans or towels, as these can damage the fabric.

Hand Washing

For more delicate materials, hand washing is the preferred method. Fill a basin with lukewarm water and a small amount of mild detergent, then gently agitate the water to mix. Submerge the pillow or cover in the water and softly work the soap through the fabric. Rinse thoroughly with clean water until the soap is gone.

Dry Cleaning

Some decorative pillows require dry cleaning, especially if they are made of delicate materials or have intricate details. In these cases, it’s best to take them to a professional dry cleaner.

Drying Decorative Pillows

Air Drying

Air drying is the safest method to dry most decorative pillows. Lay the pillow or cover flat on a clean, dry towel, reshaping it as needed to maintain its original form. Flip it occasionally to ensure even drying. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources, as these can fade colors and damage fabrics.

Machine Drying

For pillows and covers that are machine washable, you may also machine dry them if the care label permits. Use a low-heat setting and include a few wool dryer balls to help fluff the pillows as they dry. Remove the pillows while they are still slightly damp to prevent wrinkling, and let them finish air drying.

Maintaining Your Decorative Pillows

Regular Maintenance

To keep decorative pillows looking their best, regular maintenance is key. Fluff them daily to maintain their shape, and vacuum them with an upholstery attachment to remove dust and debris. Rotate and flip them regularly to ensure even wear.

Protective Measures

Using throw blankets or pillow protectors can extend the life of your decorative pillows by shielding them from daily wear and stains. Additionally, keeping them away from pets and avoiding eating or drinking near them can prevent accidental spills and damage.

Handling Specific Materials

Vinyl or Leather: Wipe down with a soft, damp cloth using a mild soap if necessary. Never use harsh chemicals or scrub vigorously, as this could damage the finish.

Velvet: Brush with a soft-bristled brush to maintain the fabric’s pile and sheen. Spot clean as needed and consult a professional for deep cleaning.

Top 5 Pillows Recommended By

Wool: Wool can be sensitive to water and shrinkage. Spot clean with a wool-safe cleaner, or take to a professional cleaner for best results.

Silk: Silk is very delicate and usually not water-friendly. Dry clean silk pillows to avoid water stains or texture changes.

Beaded or Embellished: These pillows should be handled with extreme care. Clean gently by hand and consult a professional cleaner for any significant cleaning.

Finishing Thoughts

Caring for decorative pillows is essential not only to keep them looking fresh and beautiful but also to ensure their longevity. From checking care labels and determining the appropriate cleaning method to tackling stains and washing and drying techniques, proper maintenance is paramount. Considering the material-specific care and taking protective measures can also play a significant role in preserving your decorative pillows. With the right approach, you can keep your decorative pillows in pristine condition, contributing to the overall aesthetics and comfort of your living space.


  • Dominic Johnson

    Hello! I’m Dominic Johnson, the whimsical wizard behind the world of sleep at With a background in Sleep Psychology and a quirky love for all things dozy and dreamy, I bring a sprinkle of fun to bedtime blues. I've spent my career unraveling the mysteries of the Sandman, turning dense science into cozy bedtime stories. When I'm not buried in research papers or testing the fluffiness of the latest pillows, I'm usually found playing impromptu lullabies on my old guitar for my twin daughters or teaching my labrador, Rocket, new tricks. My approach to sleep is simple: blend science with a touch of magic and a hearty laugh.

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