How to Clean an Antique Velvet Pillow

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While working on my master bedroom redo, I remembered that I had a little velvet pillow tucked away that was made by my grandmother.
How I cleaned an antique velvet pillow via Worthing Court blog
My dear, sweet, beloved grandmother used to make these all the time.  I remember that the pins she used were teeny tiny – only about an inch long.  Once upon a time I had a red satin one and a pink satin one.  I so wish that I had held onto them!
But back to my point – I estimate that this pillow was made in either the ’60’s or ’70’s.  It’s been packed away and forgotten for a long, long time.
It’s hard to get a good picture, but can you tell how grimy the fabric is?
How I cleaned an antique velvet pillow via Worthing Court blog
I took the pillow to a local specialty cleaner, but he was concerned about immersing the pillow or saturating the fabric with anything because of the likely poor condition of the pillow form.  If the form is foam rubber, it’s possible that due to the age, it would disintegrate if it came into contact with any fluids.  Not good.
So what do you do when you don’t know what to do?  Why Google “how to clean antique velvet” of course!
That’s where I read about this product.
How I cleaned an antique velvet pillow via Worthing Court blog
Someone wrote that many pros use this on antique velvet.  One of the reasons being that it doesn’t saturate the fabric.  Bingo!
How I cleaned an antique velvet pillow via Worthing Court blog
It was very simple to use.  First step is to push the button to dispense the cleaning foam onto whatever you’re cleaning.  You’re supposed to use the attached “scrubbing brush” to gently rub the fabric.
How I cleaned an antique velvet pillow via Worthing Court blog
I used it this way for a while, but found that trying to use the brush with the can attached to it was cumbersome.  So, I used this little suede brush instead and it was much easier.
How I cleaned an antique velvet pillow via Worthing Court blog
The last step is to vacuum the fabric after it has dried completely.
How I cleaned an antique velvet pillow via Worthing Court blog
That’s it!
How I cleaned an antique velvet pillow via Worthing Court blog
Did it do a perfect job?  Well…that depends on your definition of perfect.  It didn’t remove every bit of grime, but considering the grime was 50 – 60 years old, I think it did a great job without any damage to the fabric or the pillow form.
I’ll let you be the judge!
Photo editing is not my forte – I don’t know why there is such a drastic difference in the brightness of the before blue and the after blue.  The fabric is definitely brighter, but not quite this much!  I guess the true color is somewhere in between these two pictures.
How I cleaned an antique velvet pillow via Worthing Court blog
Oh yeah – no one compensated me in any way for reviewing this product.  The makers of Woolite Fabric and Upholstery Cleaner have never heard of me and have no clue who I am!


  1. Looks like that product worked great. I didn’t know your pillow was hand made and an antique. It is just like my store bought one. Lucky you to have that treasured heirloom. Thanks so much for the shout out.

  2. That’s an incredible clean-up on the antique pillow!!! I can’t wait to see your bedroom re-do!!!

  3. What an awesome difference. Love that pillow. I have one my mother made. I don’t know what happened to it.Pity. Hugs Ginger

  4. I think this is just incredible. I hate to admit it but I probably would have thrown the pillow away. How wonderful that you saved it. Great color too. Have a great weekend!

  5. Thanks for posting this–I’ll remember this product. And I remember when those pillows were all the rage. I was in high school, mid ’60’s and all the girls in home ec were making them. I didn’t take home ec, but now I wish I had made one of those pillows!

  6. That’s a terrific product! Your pillow looks much cleaner and fresh! I’m sure it will live on now for much longer!

  7. Your pillow looks amazing. What a great find for so many different uses. I need to find some for my house. Thanks so much for joining TTT and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Hugs, Marty

  8. Chubby N Chieque says:

    WoW… a magical product that helps! Impressing.

    I have same pillows but I can’t find them atm.

    Is this a denim one? I really like the colour.

    Happy TTT.


  9. Olive Cooper says:

    It turned out beautifully. I have a similar vintage one in a gold color that needs the button fixed and that is an issue for me but now, on the bright side, I can clean it!

  10. Chie – The pillow isn’t denim – it’s made out of velvet. Hope that helps.

  11. Jenny @ Simcoe Street says:

    Wow — what a huge difference!!! Looks beautiful.


    P.S. Clearly you already have an amazing pillow, but if you think you could use another come by my blog. I’m super excited about a throw pillow giveaway happening now. If you’d like, I’d love for you to enter 🙂


  12. Tammy @BeatriceBanks says:

    Love your pillow! Thanks for sharing how to clean vintage fabric. Very helpful!

  13. HUGE transformation!!! wow! I use that product on my area rug. Love it.

  14. Amy @MaisonDecor says:

    Wow, that is a beautiful pillow. I can’t believe she made those by hand. So impressive! Great to know about the cleaning product. Found you on WUW

  15. For the Love of a Cottage says:

    A new follower here!! Such a wonderful heirloom. This style of pillow is one of my favorites.

    This is a great post. I have antique chairs upholstered in velvet I am going to try this on.

  16. Lauren @ My Wonderfully Made says:

    WOW! That is fantastic — I adore those pillows and so glad you have one with sentimental value attached!

  17. Shabby chic Sandy says:

    Wow that works great! I love a true testimonial when you are sharing just because it worked so well for you! (now they should send you some free product or something:))

  18. I’m so glad that you were able to clean the cushion that your grandmother made you. Those kinds of things are such treasures.

  19. FRENCH LAUNDRY says:

    What a lucky girl! I love it when something works out like that, don’t you? I’ll have to remember that product for future reference. Looks like it did a great job.

    Have a good week,

  20. I remember everyone having these pillows! Now I want one for my bed! Thanks for sharing the information on this product.

  21. Ann @ makethebestofthings says:

    Gorgeous! Good info. I recently ran across a complete kit for making this kind of pillow, including gold velvet fabric! I’m hoping it comes out as pretty as your grandmother’s sweet pillow.

  22. What a difference! It looks like that product works really well!

    Thank you for linking your idea to Potpourri Friday!

  23. Wow! What a great find, I know others are really going to appreciate the tutorial and information. Your pillow is just so gorgeous, what a treasure!

    Thank you for sharing with us at Inspiration Friday!


  24. Ty and Whitty says:

    Wow. Hat an amaing tip. It looks great. Thank you for sharing and for linking up to last weeks show and share party. Please come back this week and share your latest project with us.

    A mommy’s life…with a touch of yellow

  25. such a pity we donet have this in SA would have been perfect for my youngest kids teddies that she wont let go of as i am afraid of putting them in the washing machine another time they look rather fragile. TFS

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    please show the pillow with same colour background – that way the impression will be truer.

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