A Laundry Expert Tells Us How Often You Need to Wash Your Throw Pillows

updated Sep 28, 2022
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(Image credit: Photographed by Susie Lowe, Designed by The Pink House)

If you’re anything like me, then you have a slew of throw pillows on your bed and sofa to cuddle up to. But with all that close-knit nightly snuggling, it can be hard to figure out the right time to let go of your beloved throw pillow and toss it in the wash for a good clean.

Luckily, we have laundry expert John Mahdessian, founder of Madame Paulette to call upon for help. We asked for his advice on how often—and which method to use—to clean our favorite throw pillows, and here’s what he had to say.

How often do we really need to wash our throw pillows?

“How often you wash your throw pillow depends on whether or not it has a removable cover,” Mahdessian says. “Covers can and should be washed more regularly, about every two to four weeks depending on how often you use them.”

“The filling itself, however, needs to be washed at least every other month,” he adds. “So if the cover isn’t removable, make sure you remember to clean your throw pillow every month or so, depending on how soiled the cover is.”

(Image credit: Arlyn Hernandez)

So, can I just throw them in the washer to clean?

“First, look for removable stuffing and make sure it doesn’t require dry cleaning,” Mahdessian says. “Wetting a dry-clean only pillow might cause the stuffing to clump and lose its shape.”

“If the stuffing comes out, start by washing the cover on a gentle cycle in cold-to-warm water. Mahdessian advises the brighter the colors, the colder the water.

“If you’re washing the whole pillow at once, stick with a warmer temperature (you’ll want a thorough clean to kill germs and bacteria) on a delicate cycle,” he says. “Or if your pillow is composed of a super fragile material, simply hand-wash it in warm water and hang dry.”

And what about drying?

“Avoid excessive heat when drying your pillows and covers at all costs,” Mahdessian says. “Always dry them with a low tumble on low-to-medium heat, and ideally with a little moisture if your dryer has a setting for it. If not, take it out a few minutes before it completely dries to avoid shrinkage.”

“Also, if you hand-washed your pillow and want to plump it up a little, just stick it in the dryer for a few minutes on low-medium heat—while it’s still a little damp—to fluff it up without shrinking it,” he adds.