How To Wash Pillows? Helpful Tips To Remember Update 06/2024

The sheets and comforter in your bed get regular washings, but are your pillows given the same attention? It’s crucial to give your pillows the same level of care as the rest of your bed’s furnishings because they can harbor a variety of unwanted organisms like bugs, dead skin, and dust mites and their droppings. The American Cleaning Institute’s senior vice president of communications, outreach, and membership, Brian Sansoni, was consulted for advice on maintaining the cleanliness and freshness of this bedtime staple.

How to Wash Pillows

Sansoni says that most pillows, whether they are filled with cotton, feathers, down, or fiberfill, may be washed in a washing machine on the gentle cycle with warm water. However, before doing so, one should check the label for specific cleaning recommendations. It’s possible that “your pillow” is one of the unusual varieties that requires dry cleaning, he explains. You shouldn’t put typical foam pillows through the wash since the machine’s agitation could tear apart the filling. In spite of this, there is another way to clean foam cushions at home. Sansoni explains, “If there’s a removable cover, throw it in the washing machine and follow the care directions on the tag.” Any debris or dust in the foam can be removed using a vacuum attachment.
How To Wash A Pillow - Helpful Cleaning Tips (Guide)

An important precaution to take before washing pillows is to check the care instructions first. Although certain pillows cannot be safely washed in a machine, many can.

Step 1: Air It Out

Fluff your pillows every day to keep the dust off and restore their original form. Hang them outside on a clothesline for a few hours once a month or so, preferably on a sunny, breezy day. Some foam and latex pillows cannot be machine washed, in which case the dryer’s no-heat cycle can be used.

Step 2: Wash It Gently

According to Melissa Homer, chief cleaning officer at MaidPro, a housecleaning service in the United States and Canada, “if your pillow can tolerate being laundered, you should wash it at least twice a year, or quarterly if you sweat a lot, eat in bed, or have pets lie on your bed with you.”

Pillows can be washed and dried in a regular washing machine, although the process can take some time.

The pillow and its case should be spot-treated with a stain cleaner designed for wet stains before being washed. (This method is also effective for removing stains from mattresses.)

You may wash two pillows at once in a big capacity washing machine. That will ensure that the water and detergent are distributed evenly throughout the load. Pillows can be damaged by the agitator in standard top-loading washing machines, so it’s recommended to only use the gentle cycle for a short amount of time (or the shortest setting available) when washing them. You might also plan a special trip to the laundromat just to utilize the front-loading machines there.

Pillow fillings should be used as directed below.

  • Most down pillows are machine washable, however feather pillows are not. The key is to wash in cold water with a gentle detergent and tumble dry on low heat. High heat (may) ruin down.
  • Pillows made of memory foam or latex should be washed by hand because the motion of a washing machine can damage the foam. Remove dust from the pillow by vacuuming it, and then spot clean with a moist cloth and a drop or two of mild detergent. Ideally, the cushion should be dried by airing it out flat.
  • Pillowcases made of polyester should be washed in warm water using the gentle cycle. Avoid using too much detergent; a tablespoon should be sufficient.
  • Place the buckwheat hulls on a large cookie sheet or in a broad, shallow basin. Sun-drying the buckwheat and washing the shell casing with cold water and a light detergent can get rid of any lingering scents.

Step 3: Dry It Thoroughly

Unless you dry the pillow thoroughly, mildew will develop. Don’t use the auto-dry setting on your dryer if you want to avoid sleeping on a pillow that’s still damp on the inside.

However, a good hour of drying time can be achieved on moderate heat for a large number of pillows. A few of dry towels added in there would really help speed things up. To prevent the filler from clumping, toss in two new tennis balls or dryer balls and let them bounce about the drum.

Down or feather pillows, on the other hand, should be dried using the no-heat air-dry option with drier balls or tennis balls to break up clumps.

In case the climate is favorable, you can dry most pillows on a clothesline. Regardless of the method you use to dry the cushion, you should always inspect the interior for moisture. If there are none left, the bed must be made.

Pillow cases are highly suggested to prevent pillow damage from perspiration, skin oils, and facial cream. In the same way that you wash your sheets once a week, you should also wash your pillow cover and pillowcase on a regular basis.

How To Wash Different Types Of Pillows?

The steps for washing a throw pillow are the same as those for washing a memory foam cushion, and vice versa.
Can You Wash Pillows? Yep—Here's How - Dengarden

However, here are some procedures to take if you want to clean them precisely, which will not only make your job easier but will also contribute to a more comfortable, healthy, and sanitary night’s sleep.

  • Down or feather:

    You may save a lot of money on dry cleaning by washing your down and feather pillows at home. To prevent the washing machine from becoming unbalanced, wash only one down pillow at a time. The best method is to wash in cold water with a mild detergent. If there is still soap left after the normal rinse cycle, start a second one.

  • Memory foam or latex:

    It is recommended that you hand wash a foam or latex pillow. Wash in lukewarm water with a small bit of detergent. Put the pillow in the solution and give it a gentle press. You should wash the pillow and then let it dry naturally by airing it out on a flat surface.

  • Polyester:

    The polyester pillowcase should be washed in a machine using warm water and a light detergent. You should only need around a spoonful of liquid soap.

  • Buckwheat hulls:

    To get rid of the buckwheat hulls, simply dump them into a large bowl. To prevent shrinking, wash in cold water with a moderate detergent.

Read these care guidelines for a stress-free laundry experience.

A. Read The Instructions Carefully

Even if you have perfect recall of all the necessary information, a careful reading of the directions will save you precious minutes. If you strive for perfection in all you do, this should be your top priority. We’re putting extra emphasis on this stage because not all pillows can go in the washing machine; some require dry cleaning, for example. You can save yourself time and sleepless nights by paying attention to these particulars.

B. Hot Water Bath Is A Must!

Hot water is the greatest method for sanitizing pillows. Pillows should be washed in the hottest possible cycle, and you can use detergent and fabric softener as you see fit.

C. Soak & Shine

If you soak your pillow for 30–40 minutes, you should be pleased with the outcomes.

D. Hot Cycle On Repeat!

After the soak time is over, running the pillow through the hot cycle again will help get rid of any dirt or stains that remain.

E. Bleach It Well

If you use bleach frequently, you can use it to get rid of allergies and microorganisms.

Whether you’re planning on taking a sleep, engaging in a pillow fight, or just wanting a warm companion, you can now put your beloved pillows to good use.

How Often Should You Wash Pillows?

Pillows can last a little longer between washings than the rest of your bedding. Every six months, at the very least, you should give your cushions a thorough cleaning. Sansoni recommends washing your pillows “at least every three months—or four times a year” to keep them fresh and comfortable. Pillowcases should be washed along with the sheets and comforters once a week.

It’s crucial to know when to replace your pillows as well as how often to wash them. Pillows should be replaced every two years, as recommended by Sansoni. The National Sleep Foundation also recommends that you replace your pillow every three to five years, but different models may last longer.

Can you wash pillows in the washing machine?

A lot of pillows, including ones made of cotton, down, and synthetic materials, can be machine-washed. Keep the directions for use and care in mind at all times. Even though this method is fast and simple, drying time may be an issue when washing pillows at home.

Be sure your washing machine has adequate room for the pillows if you decide to wash them that way. Make sure the fabric case is strong and won’t let the stuffing shift around and maybe break the machine. Pillows made of foam should never be washed in a machine. It’s possible that your foam pillow’s care instructions will say you can hand wash it.

If you choose to wash your foam pillow by hand, be sure to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer and treat the pillow with great care. If you want to have your pillows professionally dry cleaned, make sure to give them a good airing out to remove any lingering chemicals.

Does the Type of Washing Machine Matter?

Pillows should be washed in a front- or top-loading machine without an agitator, which is the central spindle of a washing machine. Still, Sansoni advises that pillows be placed vertically in the washing machine to reduce the risk of damage and that the mild cycle be used for only one or two minutes of agitation. After cleaning, he recommends using the washer’s spin dry function twice to remove as much water from the pillows as possible.

How to Spot-Treat Pillows

When it comes to cleaning, not all pillows are created equal. Sansoni suggests using a towel dampened in a mild soap solution to spot-clean any dirty places on a foam pillow. If the pillow is not a down one and has stains from something like blood or saliva, pre-treating the stains may help remove them. The detergents with enzymes in them, known as “digestants,” should do the task.

How to Dry Pillows

Putting your pillows out to dry in the air is entirely OK. Drying them may also be an option, although this will depend on the care label’s recommendations. As an example, foam cushions can catch fire if they are exposed to heat. If you have access to a dryer, Sansoni advises running the pillow through many cycles to ensure it dries thoroughly. Sansoni recommends taking pillows out of the dryer every so often to fluff them and ensure they dry evenly. Pillows can be dried without clumping by adding a handful of tennis or dryer balls to the load.

Caring for Down Pillows

Although it may appear like your down pillows require professional cleaning, you can simply clean them in your own washing machine. You should always follow the instructions on the care label, but gentle washing in cool water usually does the trick. Wash two at once, as this will help maintain the balance of your washing machine throughout the spin cycle, as suggested by Sansoni.

Top tips for washing pillows

  • Use pillowcases to protect your pillows from spills and stains.
  • As soon as you notice a stain on your pillow, whether it was there before or not, remove the cover and treat the stain immediately. Simply apply a tiny amount of Persil small & mighty to the afflicted area and wash as usual. Shake out the feathers or down to remove them from the area around the stain if the filling is of that type. Depending on the type of stain, apply the appropriate cleaning method.
  • Could I also wash the cushions? – yeah! The filling of decorative pillows can be washed in the same way as standard pillows. If you’re unsure about which filling to use in a particular cushion, I recommend reading the label and following the aforementioned guidelines.

Tips to Keep Your Pillows Clean

  • Dust mites can be eliminated by leaving pillows out in the sun for a few hours once every 10 to 12 days.
    To eliminate a foul odor from a pillow, use either baking soda or vinegar.
  • Wash delicate items in cold water with a small amount of detergent and on a gentle cycle. Cold or warm water is best for washing.
  • If you’ve washed your pillows, wait until they’re completely dry before using them again.
  • About once every four to six months, you should give your pillow a good washing. For those who suffer from allergies, this time frame should be reduced even further.
  • Take a look at the labels to see what kind of care your pillow requires. It also includes instructions on how to clean your pillows.

When Should You Replace Your Pillows?

Pillows should be replaced every two years, as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. Doing so will reduce the likelihood of developing certain allergies and help you obtain necessary support.

The best ways to wash your pillows - TODAY

However, there are more reasons which could prompt you to buy a new one right away.

1. You have more breakouts and acne than ever

In addition to drool, dust, oil, and dead skin, your pillow is probably covered in a variety of other contaminants that could aggravate your existing acne.

2. You wake up with a sore body

While you may not be aware of it, pillows serve an important purpose. First, they help you feel better by providing your upper body with support and your entire body with a counterbalance. A aching neck in the morning is an indication that your pillow is inadequate.

3. You are experiencing allergies

Allergens including dust, pollen, bacteria, and viruses like to make their homes in pillows. The pillow you sleep on may be to fault if you’ve been experiencing an increase in cold and flu symptoms recently.

4. Night Sweats

The human brain is responsible for the majority of the body’s heat production. Night sweats result from the body’s inability to regulate its temperature, which is exacerbated by the accumulation of perspiration on the head and neck. Sweaty sleepers can benefit from heat-regulating and air-cooling pillows. Perhaps it’s time to try out some different pillow varieties.

5. Your existing pillow no longer offers you support

The support and comfort of an old pillow can diminish over time, so it’s time to replace it if that’s the case. Sagging or bowed pillows should be replaced as soon as possible for hygiene reasons.

Take note that not all pillows are created equal. One year is about the average lifespan for a polyester pillow, whereas a latex pillow can last as long as three.


Most of us aren’t aware that there’s a wide variety of washable pillows accessible for every need. These days, you may do anything from send it to the dry cleaners to throw it in the washing machine. After reading the above-mentioned washing guide, you would think this is the least difficult step of them all. Having clean pillows is as nice as sleeping on a clean mattress.

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