How to Clean Throw Pillows Without a Removable Cover

Throw pillows add flavor, color, and coziness to any room around the house, but they can be a hassle to clean, especially if they are without removable covers. If your favorite throw pillow does not have a zipper on the side, then you may need to take some extra precautionary steps to ensure cleanliness.

Why is Cleaning Your Throw Pillows Important?

Dirty pillows or cushions are breeding grounds for all times of microorganisms, mildew, and even insects. This is not just an inconvenience, but also a severe health hazard that could potentially cause long term harm. If you have friends or family over often, they are sitting against those very cushions and leaving bacteria behind.

Research claims that we shed approximately 40,000 skin cells in an hour, and these may become the perfect breeding grounds for dust mites. Additionally, pillows or cushions that have not been washed for a minimum of two years will contain ten percent of its total weight in dust mites and their waste. With such strong risk of infection and other health related concerns, cleaning your cushions thoroughly is a top priority even if they come on non-removable covers.

How to Clean Your Throw Pillows Without Removable Covers

Most pillows come with removable covers that can be zipped off easily and chucked in the washing machine, but in case of throw cushions with non-renewable covers, you may have to use other methods for cleaning.

Cleaning or washing your throw pillows depends entirely on what they are made of and different tactics must be used to deal with special materials. It is important to keep in mind a few golden rules of washing throw pillows with non-removable covers to ensure that your fabric and cushion filling are never damaged.

Spot Test Your Fabric

Always perform a spot test on your throw pillows with non-removable covers unless you are completely sure of the material and fabric type. Sometimes your cushion might not have the care instructions on its label in which case it is essential to spot test your pillow. This will ensure that using certain homemade or chemical solutions will not damage the cushion.

Begin with a small corner area of the cushion which is preferably out of sight, and dab your solution, water, or detergent mixer using a finger or a clean cloth. Keep a close eye for any adverse reactions and if you see none, you can start dabbing it over larger areas of the cushion.

Spot testing is essential when you are dealing with bright colored throw cushions as their tint tends to run easily. 

Consider Hand Washing First

Throw cushions or pillows without removable covers and that are water safe should be hand washed. This method of washing is the safest way to guarantee cleanliness without destroying the filling or fabric of the pillows.

Always ensure that your throw pillow is safe to be put in water. Fill up a large container such as a bucket or your washtub with lukewarm water and add a small sprinkle of mild detergent. You can also use an upholstery shampoo for this purpose. Mix the solution well and submerge your throw pillows in the water. Gently rub your palms over the pillow and try to wash away stains and marks but remember to be careful and avoid thrashing or aggressive squeezing. Once you are satisfied, run your pillow under cold water and wash out soapy remains.

Air Drying

Most throw pillows can retain their freshness just by throwing their zipped covers in the wash and then the dryer. However, with pillows that do not have a removable cover, drying can also be tricky. 

Once you have spot treated or hand washed your pillows, it is now time to eliminate all remaining traces of moisture to avoid mildew growth. For this reason, place your throw pillow outside on a clean surface and directly under the sun. Sunlight can penetrate and eliminate potentially dangerous bacteria and even add freshness to your pillows. Keep them outside for five to six hours so all moisture has dried.

Alternatively, you can place your freshly washed pillows inside a well-ventilated room or next to a fan until the water has completely dried.

How to Remove Stubborn Stains from Throw Pillows

Normal dust and debris can be wiped away or cleaned using a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment, but some stains can be tough to clean out. Remember to never use any harsh chemicals or detergents to clean your throw pillows with non-removable covers. Instead, spot test it first and proceed with caution.

Stains left behind from oils, inks, chewing gum, alcohol, or sauces can be a terror to remove from your throw pillows with non-removable covers, but some effective tricks using household items and mild detergents can work like a wonder.

Chewing Gum, Glues, Adhesives

If you accidently drop chewing gum, or spill glue or adhesives on your throw pillow, simply wrap ice cubes in a clean cloth and apply it over the spill until the substance hardens. Once it becomes solid consistency, begin to scrape it off carefully using a plastic spoon but remember to keep a gentle hand. After the substance has been peeled off, spot clean the area and dry it through.

Dark Sauces

Eating in bed or on your favorite sofa can be relaxing, but you may spill that extra pasta sauce, ketchup, or marinade on your precious throw pillows. Without a removable cover, you will need to flush the wet stain out with cold water. Using warm water and a mild detergent, gently lather it over the pillow and clean out the stain. Gently dip a clean sponge in white vinegar and soak out the excess before dabbing it over the stained spot. Now rinse the pillow before drying it completely.

Blood Spots

In case of blood stains or spots, do not apply warm or hot water over it as this makes the stain set. Instead, soak your throw pillow in cold water or run it in the washing machine if safe. Once it has dried, spray a small amount of white vinegar over the spot and let that soak for ten to fifteen minutes before rinsing it away and wash your pillow again. Make sure you dry it completely before using it.

Ink Spills

Ink spills on your precious throw pillows without removable covers can be blotted out by applying some rubbing alcohol on a soft, clean cloth and pressing it against the stain. However, make sure that you are only pressing against the stained spot and not applying the same dirty cloth on the rest of the pillow. This may leave ink marks over those clean areas and you may need to wash the entire pillow.

Oil Splotches

Oil can be a terror to clean off your throw pillows if you do not know the right methods. Oil residue can stain your pillow from cosmetic products, hair oil, food spills, etc., but you can remove it using a small amount of cornstarch. Simply sprinkle it over the oily stain and let it sit overnight. In the morning, use a light toothbrush to gently work off the mark and the cornstarch and your throw pillow will be free of nasty oil splotches.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I put throw pillows in the dryer?

You can put your machine washable throw pillows in the dryer without fear of damage. In some cases, you may only be able to wash and dry the covers in the machine but in case of pillows with non-removable covers, you may have to follow the care instructions thoroughly.

Whether or not you can put your throw pillows in the dryer depends entirely on their material and fabric. In some cases, you can add two pillows in the dryer at a time and run them on low heat, gentle setting to ensure freshness and thorough dryness. In other cases, some types of pillows can completely break down or their filling may disintegrate when exposed to heat inside a dryer, such as memory foam pillows. Others may require specific dryer settings such as feather pillows that must be run on a ‘no heat/fluff/air’ mode.

Before you put your throw pillows inside a dryer, it is vital to read any care instructions provided, especially in case of pillows without removable covers. Some varieties of throw pillows can only be air dried to prevent the filling from breaking.

How do I wash silk, velvet, or wool throw pillow covers?

Throw pillows with removable or non-removable exotic and luxurious pillow covers will need special care and dry-clean on treatment. Silk, velvet, wool covered pillows will need dry cleaning and cannot be put inside the wash. You can wipe them down in case of cleaning dust and debris, but you will need to visit your dry cleaner for deep cleaning of your pillows.

You can use a mild cleaning spray every now and then for daily cleaning of your luxury pillow covers. Putting them out in the sun for a few hours can also freshen and clean your pillows with exotic covers.

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