For a lot of people, there is a fine line between the items that they will and will not thrift. Sometimes it’s shoes. Other times it’s plates. I tend to push the limit with things that I won’t thrift. Yes, there are some items you will never see me buy at the thrift store, but throw pillows are not one of them. In fact, I’ve found a way to wash thrifted throw pillows that makes me feel comfortable about them being in my home.
Yes, I buy thrifted throw pillows. This is a much debated topic in the thrift world. (My own mom tells me not to.) The way I see it, is that if you can wash thrifted throw pillows, then they should be allowed into your home. Because your girl doesn’t have $100 to shell out every single time a season comes around, but I’d still like my home to look nice.
The number one question that I get asked is about how to wash items once their in my home. I am constantly looking for new ways to get clothing even cleaner, but I’m pretty darn proud of how I wash thrifted throw pillows. The technique is simple, quick, and even made my boyfriend (an anti-thrifter, if you will) comfortable with having the items in our home.
There are some obvious benefits to shopping throw pillows. It’s cheaper than buying them at the stores, it’s fun to keep switching items outs, and you get to give an item a new life. However, you should be careful when buying secondhand pillows. Here are a few rules that I like to follow:
Always make sure that the pillow has a sanitized ticket on it.
Every couch, chair, and pillow should come with a special, oversized sticker on it. It normally says something like, “this item has been washed and sterilized.” While you can’t guarantee that it actually has been cleaned correctly, it’s still a good sign to shop.
Make sure the pillow has a zip-off cover.
Personally, I would never buy a pillow that doesn’t have a zip-off cover on it. Why? Because you can’t see if there are any stains on them. It also makes it easier to wash and you can even buy a new pillow for the inside. Since you’ll likely be paying around $5 (or less!) per pillow, you might as well splurge on a new pillow stuffing.
Opt for feather pillows.
First off, feather pillows are just comfier. Hands down. They also last anywhere from five to ten times longer than synthetic materials. When searching for a pillow, you should always look for organic materials, since they hold less bacteria and hold shape better. Bonus points that you’ll feel super fancy, too.
The most important thing to remember is to buy what you feel comfortable buying. It’s simple, but easy to forget. It’s so easy to look at someone else’s thrifted home or carefully curated Instagram photo and think you have to do the same thing. This post is not to convince you to buy thrifted pillows. It’s to make you feel more comfortable, if you’ve been wanting to.
Now for the fun part — how I wash thrifted throw pillows. Personally, I chose not to replace the inside of the pillow just yet. I wanted to get them on my couch as soon as I could, so I chose just to wash both the outside and inside of the pillow. Will I down the line? Maybe. But we’re enjoying them how they are right now.
All you need to wash the pillows are, well, some pillows, some castile soap, and a washer. I have used castile soap to wash my makeup brushes and other clothing items for a while, and I chose to do the same with the inside and outside of my thrifted throw pillows. Oh, and you’ll also was a pair of scissors, so you can cut off the tags instead of tear them. Here’s a step by step of what I did to wash my thrifted pillows.
1. Unzip your pillows.
Like mentioned before, the best way to clean the pillows is inside and out. Finding pillows that have zip-off covers makes that really easy. I lucked out by finding five pillows — two sets of matching and one random — that all zipped apart. They’re also all feather pillows.
2. Wash the covers with castile soap.
Turn your settings to delicate and get your soap ready, my friends. Some people like to wash everything they thrift on high heat. I am afraid of shrinking/ruining things, so I opted for the delicate cycle with my pillows. But instead of my regular detergent, I use a little bit of castile soap.
You won’t get the normal amount of suds with the castile soap, but it is a safer and more powerful way to wash. I pour in about 1/3 cups of soap directly into the wash and let it do its thing. Bonus points that it also has a nice scent of peppermint, which is the scent of castile soap that I chose.
3. Spray the inside of pillows with castile soap.
If you’re keeping the inside of your pillow, spray it, no, douse it with castile soap. I put about 1/3 cups into a spray bottle, fill it the rest of the way with water, swish it around, and get to spraying. Then put the pillow right into the dryer on high heat. Of course, the most sanitary thing to do is to get new pillows for the inside. But there are ways to work with what you’ve got, if you don’t immediately have the funds.
After drying the inside and outside of the pillows, just put them back together and get to styling. I love this tactic as an affordable way to switch up my home style. I’ve had so much fun finding the perfect home items at the thrift store. These pillows are another way to prove that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get your ideal home.