HOW TO WASH A PILLOW - Virginia Housekeepers



It’s easy to overlook the importance of washing your pillows. Pillowcases may keep pillows clean for a while, but over time, a pillow needs a deep clean. The longer you wait before cleaning your pillows, the more dust, dirt, and bacteria work their way in. This can aggravate allergies and provide dust mites with a cozy home. Follow these tips to clean just about any pillow.

Best Way to Clean a Pillow

Can You Wash Pillows in the Washing Machine?

Yes, you can wash most pillows in the washing machine! However, we always recommend following the laundering instructions on the tag. Most pillows can be washed in hot water on the gentle cycle with a small amount of detergent. We recommend spot-cleaning any stains with a pre-treatment beforehand. Then throw the pillow in the machine. After the first cycle, run an extra rinse cycle to remove any remaining soap.

Can You Put Pillows in the Dryer?

Yes, you can put most pillows in the dryer on low heat. But again, we always recommend following the laundering instructions on the tag. If the tag says it’s safe, toss a few tennis balls in with the pillow to help fluff and loosen any clumped-up stuffing. If the pillow isn’t dryer-safe, wrap the wet pillow in a dry towel and give it a big hug to squeeze out any excess moisture. Next, place the pillow in a sunny spot inside your home to dry.

Pro pillow-washing tip: It’s also a good idea to wash two pillows at once to keep the machine balanced.

How to Wash Foam Pillows

If you have foam pillows, you must clean them with a different approach, as they cannot be washed with water.

  • Use a damp cloth to spot-clean any stains.
  • Next, use your vacuum with an upholstery brush to remove loose debris.
  • Take the pillow outside, and whack it to dislodge any skin cells and dust.

How to Hand-Wash Your Pillows

If your pillows aren’t machine-safe but also aren’t made of foam, wash them in a large utility sink or your bathtub. Fill it up with warm water, and add a few drops of your favorite clothing detergent. Only use a very small amount so you don’t leave behind any residue. Once the sink or tub is full, submerge the pillow and allow it to soak for 10 minutes.

Next, knead the pillow fibers and fabric to emulate the same action the pillow would receive in the washing machine. Do this for about 10 minutes. Drain the tub or sink, and run warm water over the pillow to rinse it. Saturate the pillow and wring it out thoroughly to remove all soap residue. Repeat the rinsing process until there’s no sign of detergent. Dry the pillow next in a dry towel, as explained in the instructions above for any pillow that isn’t dryer-safe.

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