How To Wash Pillows & How Often Should You Do It

It’s no secret that pillows are one of the dirtiest items in your home. They can harbor allergens, dust mites, and other nasties. A recent study found that 92% of pillows contain some level of contamination. So it’s essential to wash them regularly. But how often should you do it? And how do you go about it? Read on to find out.

How Often Should You Wash Pillows?

The frequency you need to washing pillows will depend on several factors. For example, if you have allergies or asthma, then it’s recommended that you wash your sheets or pillows at least once every 6-12 months.

If you are not prone to allergies or asthma, then you can get away with washing your pillows less frequently. However, some experts recommend washing them every few years or longer, depending on how often you use your pillow and whether you have pets.

Suppose you are concerned about the level of contamination in your pillows. In that case, it reduces the risk of exposure to allergens and dust mites. These include using pillow protectors, cleaning your cushions regularly, and washing your bedding regularly.

Special pillows like body or toss should be washed every three to six months. Check the care instructions first, as some materials may require hand-washing or a specific type of detergent.

The best way to ensure that your pillows are clean and healthy is to wash them regularly. So if you last did so a while ago, now is the time to start!

Things Required To Wash Pillows

The materials you will need to wash your pillows depend on the type of pillow and the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Typically, you will need a washing machine or hand wash, a laundry tub, a mild detergent or soap, and some warm water.

To protect your clothes and other items during the washing process, it’s also advisable to use a pillow protector. You may also want to use a sanitizer spray or pillowcase to help kill any remaining dust mites.

Steps To Wash Pillows

To wash a pillow, you will need to avoid laundry mistakes. Begin by checking the care instructions on the pillow, which will tell you which materials are safe to wash in your machine.

Let’s see the steps to follow step by step.

Air It Out First

Before you wash your pillow, it’s a good idea to air it out. If you have allergies or asthma, it’s recommended that you air your pillows out before washing them. This will help reduce the level of dust and allergens in the pillow, making the washing process more effective.

Remove The Pillow Cover

If your pillow has a removable surface, take the cover off and wash it separately. This will help to protect the cushion from damage during the washing process.

Check Your Pillow for Damage or Excessive Dirt

If your pillow is dirty or damaged, this is an excellent time to clean or replace it. First, check the pillow closely for signs of damage, such as tears, stains, mildew, or mold. You should also check the filling to see if it feels lumpy or flat.

If you find any damage to your pillow, try gently shaping it to see if this helps restore its shape and loftiness. If not, then you may need to replace the pillow entirely.

Put Your Pillows In The Washing Machine

Once you have checked your pillows for damage or excessive dirt, please place them in the washing machine. If the pillow needs to be hand washed, fill a tub with warm water and use a mild detergent or soap to clean the pillow by hand.

Use Mild Detergents and Soaps

It’s best to use a mild detergent or soap when washing your pillows. This will help to reduce the risk of irritation and allergic reactions while also helping protect the materials in the pillow.

Machine wash on a gentle cycle and avoid adding any laundry boosters or additives that could damage the pillow. For best results, dry pillows in a low-heat setting.

Initiate The Wash Cycle

When you’re ready, start the washing extra rinse cycle. Most pillow covers and cases can be machine washed in warm or cold water in a gentle setting.

If your pillow is hand-washed, rinse it thoroughly to remove any soap residue. Gently squeeze out excess water from the pillow before placing it in the dryer.

Transfer The Pillows To The Dryer

Once your pillow has been washed and rinsed, place it in the dryer. If you’re hand-washing your pillow, ensure it is scorched before placing it in the dryer.

Make sure to set your dryer to a low heat setting, as this will help prevent damage to the pillow. Dry for about 30 minutes, and then check if your pillows are dry.

Iron If Necessary

If your pillow is still wet, you may need to iron it to restore its shape and loftiness. To do this, set your iron to a low heat setting and gently press the pillow with the iron until it is completely dry.

Check the care instructions on your pillow to find out if it is safe for ironing. If you notice any discoloration or damage, stop immediately and consult a professional about repairs or replacements.

As Good As New!

Once your pillows have been washed, dried, and ironed, they should be good as new. Place them back on the bed or in your closet for future naps or sleepovers.

Maintaining a clean pillow is essential for your health and comfort, so wash your pillows regularly using these steps.

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Do Different Types of Pillows Require Different Washing Treatments?

Different types of machine wash pillows require different washing treatments. For instance, some pillows are machine washable, while others should be hand-washed or dry-cleaned only. You should always check the care instructions on your pillow before washing it to ensure that you use the proper methods and techniques for your particular type.

Some pillows that may require different washing techniques include:

Polyester Pillows

Polyester pillows are often machine washable, but they are also prone to damage from heat and agitation, so it’s best to use a low-heat setting and avoid over-agitation when washing them.

Down Or Feather Pillows

Down or feather pillows are hand washed in freezing water and dried flat. If your down pillows get wet, their structure may become compromised, so it’s essential to treat them with care.

Memory Foam Or Latex Pillows

Memory foam pillows are machine-washable, but you may need to add a mild detergent or vinegar to the water to help reduce odors and remove stains from these types of pillows. Always read the care instructions to wash memory foam pillows.

Buckwheat Hulls Pillows

Buckwheat hull pillows are machine washable but should only be dried on low heat. These pillows may also need to be shaken or fluffed regularly to help maintain their shape and loft.

As you can see, many factors go into the proper washing and drying of different pillows. When in doubt, always check the care instructions on your pillow before washing it to ensure that you use suitable methods and techniques for optimal results.

How To Keep Your Pillows Clean?

You can take a few key steps to keep your pillows clean and fresh.

  • Regularly wash and dry your pillows according to the care instructions on their labels. This will help reduce dust and dirt buildup and prevent the accumulation of molds and other allergens that can cause health problems.
  • Every 10 to 12 days, it’s a good idea to put your pillows in the sunlight for a few hours to kill dust mites. This will help reduce allergens and keep your pillows clean and fresh.
  • If you have a pillow that smells rotten, you can use baking soda or vinegar to help get rid of the smell. Sprinkle baking soda on the pillow, then let it sit for about 30 minutes. Vacuum up the baking soda, and then spray vinegar on the pillow. Let the vinegar settle for about 30 minutes, then rinse with water.
  • When washing polyester pillows, it is important to use a gentle cycle and only a tiny amount of detergent. You should prefer to use cold or warm water rather than hot water, as this will help to reduce damage to the pillow.

Under What Circumstances Should You Consider Purchasing A New One?

You should consider buying a new pillow if it is damaged or does not provide adequate support and comfort. Some other signs that it may be time to change your old pillow include:

Waking Up With A Sore Body

If your pillow is worn out or no longer provides the support you need, it may cause stress and tension to your body as you sleep. Over time, this can lead to widespread aches and pains. Therefore, you need to replace your pillow if it is not supporting your body correctly.

Mold, Mildew, Or Odors

If the fabric or filling on your pillow becomes stained or starts to smell bad, this can be a sign that the materials have become degraded and worn out. Mold, mildew, and other allergens can build up in old or dirty pillows, so replacing them is essential if they start to smell or show signs of wear.

Regular Allergy Symptoms

Suppose you regularly experience allergies or respiratory problems when you sleep on your pillow. In that case, this is a cue that your pillows need to change. A new pillow may help reduce allergic reactions and improve the quality of your sleep.


Suppose your pillow no longer provides the support you need, is damaged or stained, or causes allergies and other health problems. In that case, it’s probably time to replace it with a new one. Take time to choose and find a pillow according to your needs and preferences for maximum comfort and quality of sleep.

Ultimately, the decision to replace your pillow is personal and should be based on your individual needs and preferences.

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