How To Clean Pillows

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Cleanliness is next to Godliness, they say, but they don’t say anything about all the planning, scheduling, execution, and hard work that goes into it! Some of you cleaning pros and Monica Gellers might find this fun, but lazy people like me don’t.

People like me try to clean as little as possible and often end up missing certain spots and things. And one of the most ignored things? Pillows.

They help us to have a proper and sound sleep post an exhausting day at the workplace and what do we give them in return? Zilch. Pun intended.

Now, if you’ve made it this far in the article, chances are that you haven’t washed your pillow for a long time, well don’t worry, you’re in the right place—your one-stop shop to guide you through the process of cleaning pillows.

What Makes Your Pillow So Dirty?

We have a close relationship with our pillows, so they naturally contain some parts of us—drool, sweat, facial oil, hair oil, eatables, to name a few— and that is what makes them dirty.

Our pets and kids also play a huge role in making them unhygienic.

Without any further ado, let’s get started immediately with our step to step guide on how to clean our pillows.

Should Pillows be Machine Washed or Hand Washed?

Before starting the actual cleaning process, you need to determine what kind of wash will be suitable for your pillow type. For this, firstly, check your pillow for some tags or cleaning manual, which is attached to the product.

But don’t worry if you’ve lost that manual, some methods are most commonly used to wash any pillow.

Washing pillows like sleep pillows, neck pillows, or down pillows are hassle-free. They can be tossed into your washing machines and given an excellent bath while others like memory foam or microbead pillows need to be taken care of and washed manually.

How to Wash Pillows in a Washing Machine?

1. Firstly, remove all the layers of covering from your pillows. Do not skip this step or your pillows won’t get a good bath.

2. Fill your washing machine with warm water for a thorough cleansing. Warm water destroys bacteria and helps us get rid of dust and some macroparticles.

3. Put your uncovered pillows (not more than three at a time) into the washing machine, along with 2-3 tennis balls wrapped in socks—this will prevent the pillows from losing volume.

4. Add 1 cup of mild detergent into the compartment, and you’re good to go. Strong detergent should not be used for pillow cleaning as it can be too harsh beloved pillows; it can ruin the pillow fabric.

5. Set the cycle to a light wash and then take a power nap. Meanwhile, the machine will do its part. 

6. Once the pillows are washed, put them in the dryer with “air”/”fluff”/”no heat” setting. You can use low heat if the pillows are synthetic. You should also keep them under sunlight for some time to prevent any foul odor or moisture.

Don’t forget to check your pillows for fluffiness, dryness, and overall intactness after washing and drying.

How to Hand-Wash Pillows?

If you have memory foam pillows, for instance, then this one’s for you.

1. Fill a bucket with warm water—not up to the brim. You can wash only two pillows at a time with this method.

2. Add two scoops of mild detergent into the water (one for each pillow) and mix it well. Now, put your pillows into the bucket and start squeezing or twisting—make sure you apply the right pressure, neither too hard nor too soft.

3. Once you’re done with this bucket bath, keep the pillows under running water to get rid of as much soap as you can.

4. Let them dry under the sun till they are fully dried.

Sometimes food or hair oil can stain your pillow. In that case, you don’t need to wash it all. Just take a damp cloth and apply some detergent to it. Then rub it on the smudge till it gets removed then allow it to dry.

Related: How to Clean a Memory Foam Mattress

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How to Fluff up Pillows?

Grab both ends of your pillow and push the ends towards each other, then pull them out. Repeat this a few times. Give your pillow a few punches and smacks too!

If you’re putting the pillows in a dryer, do the “tennis balls in socks” hack to fluff them up.

How to Maintain the Longevity of Your Pillows?

From being our perfect bedtime partner to being our weapon during a pillow fight, pillows have got us covered whenever we need them, and they don’t ask for much in return. Maintaining their well-being is quite hassle-free.

You need to make sure that you don’t deform them much. Keep them under the sun periodically as per your convenience—this would help them to be moisture-free, odor-free, and bacteria-free. 

Change the pillow covers every 10 days. Wash the pillows 2-3 times a year so that they look their best and stay clean.

To ensure the safety of your pillows, make sure to keep your stubborn pets away from them. It might turn out to be their best playmate, but it assuredly isn’t suitable for their fate. (I do rhyme sometimes!!)

When Should You Replace Pillows?

Everyone needs to retire, right? And that’s the case with pillows too. There’s an elementary test to check their durability. Fold your pillow and wait for it to get back in shape automatically. If it does, then no need to worry; otherwise, you’d have to plan a shopping trip soon (yes, you can get them online as well!).

We often harm our pillows a lot unintentionally. Therefore, it’s necessary to try and maintain them. Clean them using any of the methods discussed above and take a power nap on your freshly showered friend—your pillow!