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Washing your worst pillows is not as difficult as you think – LifeSavvy

  The woman's hands laying a pillow on a bed.
New Africa / Shutterstock

Most of us wash the bedding fairly regularly, but it is easy to fail to wash the pillows. Here's why you should do it and how.

If it has been a while (or never) since you washed the pillow, it has some rough things, like sweat, oils, drooling, dirt, mold, bacteria and dust mites. . Blech!

The pillows are not the easiest things to wash and dry, so we get why you don't throw them in the wash all the time. In addition, depending on the materials in the pillows, you may need to be careful when washing them. However, it is worth the effort because a freshly washed pillow has fewer allergens and you will sleep better.

Before Washing Your Pillows

There are a few things you can do between washing to keep your pillows fluffy and vented.

Fluff and shake them out every day. Pillow fluffing is a good habit to get in when laying the bed. Fluffing restores the pillow's shape, shakes out some of the dust and bleeds it out. Some cushions (like the solid, memory foam) do not shake back in shape. You can throw these pads in the dryer on a cycle without heat (high heat damages many synthetic materials) now and then to vent them out.

Then you hang the pillows outside once a month. A few hours in the warm sun on a windy day (doesn't matter if it's cold or hot) refreshes your pillows. If you wash the pillows too often, it can damage the fibers, so hanging them outside keeps them fresh. The sun's ultraviolet rays also kill any surface bacteria.

How (and when) to wash your pillows

Before we dive into how to wash your pillow, you may be wondering how often you should do it. The typical recommendation is every three months, so you can set the dishes off with the season change. You can adjust this schedule if you use an allergen case or cushion cover as these cuts dirty.

Before washing the pillow, always look at the care tag. If there is only dry cleaning, it can damage it in water damage. Knowing the material that contains your "just cleaning pad" pad can help you decide if you can wash it at home.

If the tag says your pillow can be washed normally or by hand, follow the instructions, but they will not be very detailed. Let's break the basic washing instructions with the pillow material.

Before you start washing them, be sure to dry your pillows thoroughly. Not everyone can survive the heat of a dryer, so you may have to hang them outside. Damp pillows left inside can breed even more fungi and bacteria. The last thing you want is a mosquito cushion, so don't wet it down unless you can dry it thoroughly immediately.

Also, think about whether your home washing machine is big enough for your pillows (something that a body pillow is probably too big). You may have to go to the washroom a few times a year if your home computer is not large enough. Agitators damage cushions, so a front load wash is ideal for them.


Because polyester pillows are the cheapest option, they are probably in most bedrooms across the country. They are also one of the easiest types to wash.

You can wash your polyester-filled pillow on the gentle cycle in hot water. Wash more than one at a time so the load is balanced. You only need a small amount of detergent (one tablespoon is plentiful).

You can dry polyester cushions on medium heat. Make sure you leave them long enough to dry completely. If you throw a pair of tennis balls in the dryer with the pillows, you help them to fluff. If it's a hot day with a game, hang them outside to dry.

Down and Feather

Down and fjeather pillows require a bit more delicate care than the polyester filled. You will definitely use a mild detergent, or a product made specifically for washing down and feather pillows. Powdered detergent may be the best option, as liquid detergent can leave a sticky coating on the springs and cause clumping.

Never dry spring or down pillows on any heat setting in the dryer. Always use an air-dry setting without heat. Use dryer beads to prevent down and feather clumps. You can also hang dry down and feather pillows, but make sure they dry completely before laying the bed.

Memory Foam

You should not wash the memory or latex foam pads in the washing machine, but you can see them wash. Because you just clean them remotely, it doesn't take long for memory or latex foam pads. And you can just let them sit outside until they're dry.

To keep memory foam pads cleaner, longer, you can use a pillow case between the pillow and pillow cases. This provides a further layer of protection and reduces cleaning.

Typically, pillows filled with shredded memory foam, such as the popular MyPillow product line, can be machine washed, but always check the care tag to make sure.


If you like the coolness and comfort of buckwheat hulls in your pillow, you still need to clean them a couple of times a year. You can do this by emptying the hulls of a cake sheet and putting them out in the sun. The fresh air and heat remove odors. If a good sunny airing does not refresh them, you can always buy new fillings for the pillows.

While the buckwheat is outside, wash the fabric in cold water with a mild detergent (in the machine or by hand). Wipe the fabric shell in the dryer or on the clothesline.

The next time you take the strips from your bed, take some extra time to wash the pillows. Add a reminder in your calendar to do it again in three months, so you can keep them clean and fresh.

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