How to Clean Throw Pillows Without Removable Cover

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Throw pillows serve more than just an aesthetic function; they are the understated heroes of comfort for homes everywhere. As a staple in home decor, they encounter daily contact, which subjects them to dirt, dust, and the occasional spill. However, keeping them fresh can be more challenging when the covers are not designed to be removed.

This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the intricacies of cleaning throw pillows, ensuring they remain as inviting and comfortable as the day you bought them.

Importance of Cleaning Throw Pillows

Throw pillows are prone to accumulating common household allergens, including dust mites, pet dander, and pollen, which can respiratory issues and exacerbate allergies. Moreover, the aesthetic charm of throw pillows can quickly wane if they’re stained or emitting odors.

Hence, regular cleaning not only extends the life of your decorative pillows but also supports a healthier, more inviting living environment.

Challenges of Cleaning Throw Pillows Without Removable Covers

How to Clean Throw Pillows Without Removable Cover

The primary obstacle in cleaning non-removable cover pillows is the risk of fabric damage. Unlike pillows with removable covers that can often be thrown into a washing machine, those without require a more meticulous approach to avoid shrinking, color bleeding, or fabric deterioration.

Preparing to Clean Throw Pillows

A successful cleaning process starts with proper preparation:

  • Accumulating Required Materials: Make sure you have an upholstery attachment for your vacuum, gentle detergent, a soft brush, a few clean cloths, and a bucket of water.
  • Checking the Fabric Care Label: Identifying the fabric type and following the manufacturer’s care recommendations are fundamental steps in preventing irreversible damage.

Methods for Cleaning 

Effective cleaning methods vary by fabric type and the degree of dirtiness. Let’s delve into each approach:


This is the first and most basic method to rid your pillows of surface dust and pet hair. Employing the upholstery brush attachment can enhance the efficacy of this process. Routine vacuuming is recommended at least once a week to keep allergens at bay.

Spot Cleaning

When addressing spot stains, act quickly:

  1. Blot any excess liquid with a clean, dry cloth,
  2. Prepare a mild cleaning solution,
  3. Test it on a hidden area,
  4. Apply it carefully to the stain with a sponge or soft cloth, dabbing from the stain edges towards the center, and
  5. Clean the area with a damp cloth to remove soap residue.

Hand Washing

Submerging your pillows in water isn’t always possible, so hand washing is a gentle alternative:

  1. Combine a tiny bit of gentle detergent with warm water,
  2. To prevent overfitting, dip a sponge into the mixture and squeeze away any extra moisture.
  3. Gently scrub the pillow’s surface in a circular motion,
  4. Rinse the area with a clean damp cloth, and
  5. Press out excess water carefully without wringing the pillow.

Using Upholstery Cleaner

For a more thorough clean, use a commercial upholstery cleaner suitable for your fabric type, adhering to the instructions provided:

  • Apply a light coat of the cleaner,
  • Allow it to sit for the specified duration,
  • Blot or gently scrub as instructed, and
  • Remove the cleaner with a clean, damp cloth.

Step-by-Step Guide for Each Cleaning Method

How to Clean Throw Pillows Without Removable Cover

For each method described above, patience and attention to detail are key. Never rush the drying process, and always ensure complete air drying to avert mold and mildew growth.

Tips for Maintaining Throw Pillows Between Cleanings

Prevention is better than cure:

  • Rotate and fluff pillows regularly to maintain shape,
  • Keep throw pillows away from direct sunlight to preserve colors,
  • Deploy throws or blankets to shield pillows when they’re in high-use areas, and
  • Ban food and drinks from pillow-heavy zones to prevent spills.

Alternative Solutions for Difficult Stains

For stubborn stains that resist home remedies, consider consulting a professional cleaning service that specializes in upholstery and decorative fabrics. There may be services that specifically cater to delicate items needing a gentle touch.

Drying Throw Pillows Properly

Proper drying is imperative:

  • Pat down with towels to absorb moisture,
  • Lay flat to air dry, preferably outdoors for natural freshening, but away from direct sunlight,
  • Consider using a fan to circulate air around the pillow for a more even drying process.

Deodorizing Throw Pillows

For a quick refresh, concoct a natural deodorizing spray using water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Spray lightly over the pillow and allow to dry. Or you can go the traditional route with baking soda:

  • Sprinkle baking soda generously over the pillow,
  • Leave it for a few hours or overnight,
  • Vacuum thoroughly to remove all traces of the baking soda.

Importance of Regular Cleaning Routines

Routines are the foundation of pillow maintenance. By integrating regular cleaning into your schedule, you can make your pillows last longer, minimize dust and allergens, and ensure a welcoming ambiance in your home.


Light clean every 2 weeks and thorough wash every 2-3 months; immediately in case of spills.

Usually not recommended; check the care label and consider alternative cleaning methods.

Blot the spill, apply a mild detergent solution, rinse with a damp cloth, and air dry.

Pat with towels, air dry away from direct sunlight, and fluff during drying.

Use baking soda to absorb odors overnight and vacuum off, or lightly mist with a water and essential oil mix.


Though your cherished throw pillows may come with the challenge of non-removable covers, their upkeep need not be a source of distress. With the right care, a conscientious approach, and periodic touch-ups, you can maintain the pristine look and feel of your pillows for years to come.

Embark on this pillow-maintenance journey, and enjoy the fruits of a fresh, clean living space that reflects your care and attention to detail.

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