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Learn How to Wash a Pillow the Right Way

We think it's safe to say everyone loves the heavenly feel of clean bedsheets. However, when was the last time you washed your pillow the right way? Knowing how to wash a pillow is crucial so you can prolong its life and also clean and sanitize it.



What You Need

  • Pillows

  • Washing Machine (optional)

  • Laundry Detergent

Even the best pillow can hold dust, dirt, dead skin cells, and many other allergens. By not washing your pillow the right way, you could experience breakouts, rashes, and other unpleasant skin concerns. It is essential to wash pillows at least twice a year for the health of our skin. This guide will cover how to wash pillows the right way and the methods to wash so you can enjoy a fresh, clean night of sleep.

A close-up of stacked pillows on bed at home.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to Wash a Pillow

Most pillows such as feather, cotton, down, and fiberfill can be cleaned in a washing machine on the gentle cycle with warm water. But, it’s always best to read the label for washing instructions first. The pillows that should not be washed in the washing machine are foam and latex pillows. A washing machine is too harsh and will break up the padding. If you have a foam or latex pillow, hand-washing is better.

When it comes to washing machines, a front-loader is better than a top-loader. A front-loader will prevent pillows from floating to the top and not getting thoroughly washed. It is also best to wash two pillows at the same time. Two pillows will provide even distribution and balance, thoroughly cleaning each pillow.

While it's best to wash the rest of your bedding weekly, pillows can go a bit longer. At the minimum, pillows should be washed twice a year.

Step 1: Place your pillows in the washing machine and add your laundry detergent.

person pouring laundry detergent into a washing machine.
Photo by No Revisions on Unsplash Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2: Set the temperature to hot to remove stains and allergens, and set the washing type to large/bulky.

Step 3: After the wash, you can use a dryer or hang the pillows outside in the sunshine to dry. If you tumble dry your pillow, make sure the dryer is set on the lowest setting.

Frequently Asked Questions About Washing Pillows

Is It Safe to Wash Pillows in the Washing Machine?

Yes, but not all pillows are machine-washed safe. Foam and latex pillows need to be hand-washed because a washing machine would ruin these types. Also, if you notice any loose threads or seams in the pillow, it is not wise to put them in the washing machine.

How Do You Wash Pillows at Home?

To hand-wash your pillows at home, you will need a deep sink or bathtub. Fill the sink or bathtub with hot water and place the pillow in it. Use a spoonful of detergent for each pillow you will wash and pour it into the water. Stir the water, so you distribute the detergent evenly. When washing the pillow, swirl and move it around in the water. You can also squeeze and gently twist for a deeper clean. After finishing washing, take the pillow and rinse it under hot water. This step might take a while as pillows have deeper layers that absorb liquids. Take your time to finish it, and when you no longer see any detergent coming out of the pillow, you are finished. If you are hand-washing a pillow, it is not wise to use the dryer. It is best to let the pillow air-dry outside in the sunshine.

Can a Pillow Be Washed and Dried?

Yes, it depends on the materials in the pillow, but a pillow can be washed and dried. Always read the manufacturer's labels, and when in doubt, we would advise on hand washing and hanging to dry.

Why You Need to Know How to Wash a Pillow

There you have it. We know it's often forgotten, but it's essential to understand how to wash pillows the right way. Many bacteria and allergens can accumulate, which doesn't make for a great night's sleep. Whether using a washing machine or hand washing, both processes can be straightforward, and it only needs to be done twice a year. By washing your pillows, the right way, you prioritize your sleep quality and health.

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Erica Breen
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Erica Breen is an international Pilates & Yoga instructor, Functional Nutrition Coach, and Freelance Writer. Her work and…
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