How to Wash and Care for Clothes and Pillows With Sequins

Someone cleaning a sequined garment

The Spruce / Michele Lee

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 hr - 1 day
  • Total Time: 15 mins - 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $0 to $10

Dazzling sequined clothes and home accessories need some special care to keep them shiny and bright. How you should care for your sequined items depends on what type of fabric is under the sequins, how the sequins are attached, and how the garment is made. Always check the garment label to see what the manufacturer recommends. Some sequined clothes are hand- or machine-washable; others are dry clean only. Even if you are experienced at doing laundry, always follow the label's recommendations.

While the sequins themselves usually aren't harmed by gentle washing, it's possible that the base fabric can be ruined. For example, a sequined jacket has interfacings that give it structure, and if they get wet, the jacket may lose its shape. It also depends on whether the sequins are attached with thread or glue. Most glues used to attach sequins are waterproof and will hold up fine to gentle hand-washing, but some glues will melt when touched by dry cleaning solutions. A professional dry cleaner will know how to properly clean the garment. Never use a home dry cleaning kit to clean clothes with glued-on sequins.

Tip

The trendy decorative pillows with closely spaced, reversible sequins that change color when you brush your hand over them are known as mermaid pillows. They are named for the scale-like arrangement of the sequins. If the pillows have removable covers, these can be removed, turned inside out, and gently hand-washed like any other sequined items. If the covers are not removable, cleaning will need to be limited to surface wiping with a damp cloth—or handled by a professional dry cleaner.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Large sink or tub
  • Washing machine
  • Drying rack
  • Clothes steamer (optional)
  • Mesh laundry bag (optional)

Materials

  • Gentle detergent
  • Cool water
  • Dishwashing liquid (optional)
  • Cotton swabs (optional)
  • White cloths or paper towels (optional)

Instructions

How to Clean and Care for Clothes and Pillows With Sequins
Detergent Gentle
Water Temperature Cold
Cycle Type Gentle
Drying Cycle Air-dry only
Special Treatments Hand-washing or dry-cleaning preferred
Iron Settings Do not iron
How Often to Wash Only when visibly soiled
Materials for cleaning sequined clothing

The Spruce / Michele Lee

How to Wash Clothes or Pillows With Sequins

  1. Inspect and Prepare the Items

    Look for surface stains on the clothing item or pillow. If present, these stains should be spot-treated by dabbing with a cotton swab dipped in a mixture of mild dishwashing soap and warm water. Try to get beneath the sequins with the swab, as well as clean any grime on the surface of the sequins.

    Turn the item inside out for washing to prevent damage to the sequins and threads. For decorative pillows, unzip and remove the cover if possible, then turn the cover inside out to wash.

    If you will be attempting to wash the item by machine, place the garment or pillow cover into a mesh laundry bag before washing.

  2. Wash the Item

    Hand-washing: This is the most gentle and reliable method for cleaning a sequined shirt, sweater, pillow, or blanket. Button or zip all closures, and turn the garment inside out. Fill a sink with cool water and one teaspoon of gentle detergent designed for hand-washing.

    Completely submerge the item, and swish it through the water. Don't scrub vigorously or wring the garment tightly. Too much agitation can bend or break the sequins. Allow the item to soak for at least five minutes.

    Drain the soapy water, and refill the basin with clean water. Rinse the sequined item until no suds remain. Gently squeeze out the water.

    Sequined garment in a wash tub

    The Spruce / Michele Lee

    Machine-washing: If the item's care label allows for machine washing, select the gentle cycle and cold water temperature. Set the spin cycle on the lowest speed to prevent damage to the sequins. Add a gentle detergent, and don't use bleach or fabric softener. Button or zip the garment completely. Turn it inside out so that the sequins are protected, then place it in a mesh lingerie bag before starting the machine.

    Someone setting a washer

    The Spruce / Michele Lee

  3. Air-Dry

    No matter how you wash your sequined item, skip the dryer. Never put freshly washed sequined garments or home accessories in a dryer because the sequins or glue could melt. If the garment is made from a woven fabric, it can be hung to air-dry, or laid flat on absorbent towels.

    Sequined shirt hanging up

    The Spruce / Michele Lee

Treating Stains on Sequined Clothes and Pillows

Because any form of washing can risk damaging or detaching the sequins, you may be able to get by with just spot-cleaning stains. Mix a solution of one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with one cup of cool water. Mix well, and use cotton swabs dipped in the solution to remove the stain. Work between the sequins to reach the base fabric as well as any stain on the surface of the sequins.

Blot the area with a clean white cloth or paper towel as the stain is loosened. When the stain is gone, blot the area with a cloth dipped in water to remove any soapy residue. Finish by blotting with a dry white cloth, and allow the item to air-dry.

Care and Repair of Clothes and Pillows With Sequins

Loose sequins? If the sequins have predrilled holes, they can be reattached with thread. Use a very thin, fine needle and a thread that matches the sequins. Tie a knot in the thread, and draw it up to the surface from the wrong side of the fabric (the knot will be on the wrong side). Use tiny stitches, and reattach the loose sequins. You can also use fabric glue to reaffix loose sequins. Use the least amount possible, and allow it to dry completely before wearing the garment.

Ironing

Never iron clothes with sequins. Even ironing on the wrong side with a pressing cloth can cause the sequins or glue to melt. If you must remove wrinkles, carefully use a clothes steamer. Steam on the wrong side, and keep the steam wand at least 12 inches away from the fabric.

You can also remove wrinkles from sequined clothes by hanging them in a steamy bathroom for 30 minutes. Allow the garment to dry completely before wearing to avoid creating more wrinkles.

steaming the sequined garment

The Spruce / Michele Lee

Storing Clothes and Pillows With Sequins

The best way to store items with sequins is loosely folded in a clean cotton bag or pillowcase. This will keep the item from getting tangled with loose threads or loosely woven garments. Clothing items with sequins are often quite heavy and do not lend themselves well to being stored on hangers.

How Often to Wash Sequined Clothes and Pillows

Any kind of washing inevitably puts strain on sequins, so it's best to wash them as infrequently as possible. Rely on simple spot cleaning where possible, or freshening the inside of clothing with a spray freshener.

Tips for Washing Clothes and Pillows With Sequins

  • While some types of fabric glue are permanent, many won't hold up to washing. Always hand-wash the item if the sequins are glued on, or be prepared to reattach the sequins after washing.
  • Wash your item inside out to keep the sequins from rubbing against the sides of the wash basin or washing machine.
  • Knitted items with sequins and any especially heavy garment should be laid flat to dry.
FAQ
  • Can I freshen a sequined clothing item or pillow without washing it?

    To freshen a sequined garment, use a fabric freshener spray only on the inside of the piece. Never spray the sequined areas because the spray can dull the finish of the sequins.

  • How can I remove oily stains?

    If oily stains resist treatment with ordinary soap or spot remover, a home dry-cleaning solution may be able to loosen them. But be careful if the sequins are glued on, as these chemicals may dissolve the glue. In this case, the item should be attended to by a professional dry cleaner, who will know how to clean without damaging the glues holding the sequins.

  • Can I use bleach to brighten sequined items?

    Bleach often causes sequins to lose their bright color, so never use it when washing these items. Also avoid fabric softener, which leaves a residue that dulls the shininess of sequins.