Style + Ask the Edit

Ask the Edit: Machine Washable Throw Pillows

Do you own throw pillows?  Do you live in a house with a man?  Does he question the very need for decorative pillows, and then smear his dirty skin on said pillows?  Then, you will understand the need for this Ask the Edit.

Hey Abra –

First – I loved your MM. LaFleur event with Hitha! Energized me in a way I can’t explain so I hope you’ll have another one soon!

My question is about throw pillows. My fiancé likes to dig his face into them when he naps on the couch… which means that my beautiful navy blue and white chevron throw pillows have been ruined from oil/grease/dirt. Have you found any nice machine washable ones? I feel like if I buy another set of non-washables, I’m setting myself up for failure.

Happy Fourth! Em

Yes, girl, I feel your pain.  I have three silk pillows on my couch, because I used to live in a man free house.  A lovely, clean, well-kept, man-free house.  Where silk pillows could live without fear of being used as a support system for dirty, sandal-wearing man feet.

Ah, memories…misty, water-colored memories…but, I digress.

My go-to spot for pillows has long been Target, but every pillow on their site is “spot clean.”  This is not helpful for people who live in the real world with men, and pets, and children.  Luckily, Target is not the only place to buy pillows.

The first stop should be Pottery Barn or its sister store West Elm.  Many of their pillow covers are machine washable, others are dry clean.  Sadly, some of the pillows, especially the heavily textured ones, are still spot clean, but at least there a lot of good options.

I thought the orange accent on this corded pillow was cool.  This pillow with indigo stripes and diamonds and a fun fringe trim caught my eye.  For a chic basic, I like these honeycomb velvet pillow covers.

Amazon also has some good options.  These $35 Woven Nook pillows actually come in a set, so you can get that modern, not-matchy look without having to hand select several pricey pillows.  They also have several other sets to choose from, many in the on-trend black-and-white palette.

If you just need a few pillows, or you like to mix-and-match, Amazon doesn’t make it easy to separate the wheat from the chaff.  But I also found this cute, metallic-accented Ivy + Ink lumbar pillow.

Etsy is also a great place to go looking.  All of my beloved silk pillow covers came from Etsy.  This Nate Berkus-designed fabric pillow, however, is cotton, machine washable and $20.  I also liked this pale, celadon green print, and this black and white dandelion print.

Good luck finding a few great (boy-friendly) pillows.

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  1. Michelle says:

    Once upon a time, I had off-white living room furniture and non-washable throw pillows… and then I met my (now) husband, who is somehow covered in dirt and grease at the end of every day, and then popped out a kid with similar dirt collecting abilities.

    I now have charcoal living room furniture, and get washable pillow colors from this Etsy Shop:

    July 5, 2018/Reply
  2. Michelle says:

    H&M! Not all of their covers are washable, but some are. Also, they are so cheap that I don’t feel bad replacing them when they need it. You can reuse the feather insides in a new slip.

    July 5, 2018/Reply
  3. Kim says:

    Love this! I’m actually obsessed with Ikea because you buy your pillow then buy a ton of different covers that are washable.



    July 5, 2018/Reply
  4. Suburb says:

    If you live anywhere suburban or suburb-adjacent, highly recommend HomeGoods stores, TJMaxx, Marshalls, or similar for pillows. Obviously double-check for tears, rips, holes or smudges, but if they’re seasonal anyway, you might as well see what you can get for, um, dirt-cheap.

    July 5, 2018/Reply
  5. Randi says:

    Infoor/outdoor particularly Annie selke & sumbrella & crypton. Since having a dog and baby I wanted easy clean up and buy everything–rugs, curtains, and throw pillows in these fabrics

    July 5, 2018/Reply
  6. Meghan says:

    I’ve purchased pillow covers from these folks multiple times. They’re pretty, hold up well through many washes (dogs and kids, sooooo), and you can sort my color.

    July 5, 2018/Reply
  7. Monica T says:

    Kid, dogs, cat, husband. And I second IKEA. Some really cute whimsical (yeah I said it) designs and easy to wash and or replace slip covers when they are finally DOA.

    July 5, 2018/Reply
  8. Susan says:

    Homegoods always has a great sppl of toss pillows, many of them with removable covers. I always check for a zipper, and have had many a pillow for a long time by washing the cover. good luck!

    July 6, 2018/Reply
  9. MartIe says:

    I have four adorable children under 7. I use daily pillows and pull out nicer pillow covers for parties and entertaining. For the covers, I buy washable or outdoor fabric, pre-wash it, then have it made into pillow covers. i use a professional for my nice pillows and make my own daily pillows – taught myself in a day using youtube. Just don’t look too closely! If you’re using a down insert just make sure the pillow cover is 1-2 inches smaller than the insert so it looks nice and fluffy. Sunbrella has some really remarkable outdoor fabric – I covered all of my sofas in it and give them all thorough scrubbings on the reg(although the pink sidewalk chalk on my cushion says not enough!). Hope that helps someone who, like this Southerner, realized IKEA and Target will not be carrying toile any time soon ha

    July 8, 2018/Reply
  10. Emma says:

    Society6 has washable pillow covers. They are not super soft but the design options are endless.

    July 8, 2018/Reply
  11. Keilexandra says:

    What is it with men and messing up throw pillows? Mine aren’t too-too precious but still spot-clean only, and my partner insists on using them as a lap table for plates of food 🙁

    July 9, 2018/Reply
  12. Laura says:

    Similarly, does anyone have suggestions for pillow inserts that hold up to abuse? I’m looking for something that will hold its shape over time when it gets used for a foot/elbow/headrest despite yelling “Don’t mangle the pillows!”

    July 9, 2018/Reply