How To Wash Pillows

A picture of a bed with clean pillows.

Washing pillows might seem like a daunting task, but it’s essential for keeping your sleeping environment clean and fresh.

Many people neglect pillow care, not realizing how much dirt, oil, and sweat accumulate over time.

Learning how to wash pillows properly can extend their lifespan and improve your sleep quality.

What is the Correct Way to Wash a Pillow?

  • Step-by-Step Guide

First, check the care label on your pillow.

This small tag provides valuable information about the recommended cleaning method.

Different pillows require different care.

For machine-washable pillows, use a gentle cycle with warm water and a mild detergent.

Place two pillows in the washer to balance the load and prevent damage.

Use a small amount of detergent to avoid soap residue.

Select an extra rinse cycle to ensure all detergent is removed.

  • Drying Tips

Drying pillows properly is crucial.

Use a low-heat setting in your dryer.

Add a couple of clean tennis balls or dryer balls to help fluff the pillows and prevent clumping.

Dry them thoroughly to avoid mold and mildew.

It may take a couple of cycles to ensure they’re completely dry.

  • Special Pillow Types

For down or feather pillows, avoid high heat.

It can damage the feathers.

Use a low-heat setting and check them frequently.

Memory foam pillows should not be machine-washed.

Instead, spot-clean with a mild detergent and air-dry completely.

How to Clean Pillows Without Washing?

  • Spot Cleaning

Spot cleaning is a great alternative for pillows that can’t be washed in a machine.

Use a mixture of mild detergent and water.

Apply the solution to stains with a sponge or cloth.

Blot the area gently, and then rinse with a clean, damp cloth.

Allow the pillow to air dry.

  • Freshening Up

To freshen up pillows without washing, sprinkle baking soda over the surface.

Let it sit for a few hours to absorb odors.

Vacuum the baking soda off thoroughly.

You can also use a fabric freshener spray for a quick refresh.

Is It Safe to Wash Pillows in the Washing Machine?

  • Safety Considerations

Most pillows can be safely washed in a washing machine.

However, always check the care label first.

Some materials, like memory foam, are not machine-washable.

Using a gentle cycle and mild detergent can prevent damage.

  • Common Concerns

People often worry about pillows losing their shape.

To avoid this, wash two pillows together to keep the load balanced.

Using low heat for drying and adding dryer balls can help maintain their fluffiness.

  • Pillow Protectors

Using pillow protectors can reduce the need for frequent washing.

They add an extra layer of protection against sweat, oils, and dust mites.

Wash pillow protectors regularly to keep your pillows in good condition.

How Often Should I Wash Pillows?

  • Recommended Frequency

Experts suggest washing pillows every three to six months.

This frequency ensures they remain free of allergens and bacteria.

If you suffer from allergies, consider washing them more often.

  • Signs It’s Time to Wash

If your pillow starts to smell, feels lumpy, or has visible stains, it’s time for a wash.

Regular washing helps maintain their comfort and support.

  • Maintenance Tips

To prolong the life of your pillows, fluff them daily to maintain their shape.

Use pillowcases and pillow protectors to keep them clean longer.

Rotate pillows regularly to even out wear and tear.

Pillow Types and Washing Techniques

  • Down and Feather Pillows

Down and feather pillows need extra care.

Use a gentle cycle with low heat.

Ensure they are thoroughly dried to prevent mold.

  • Synthetic Pillows

Synthetic pillows are generally easier to wash.

They can usually be machine-washed and dried without issues.

Follow the care label instructions for the best results.

  • Memory Foam Pillows

Memory foam pillows should not be submerged in water.

Spot-clean with a mild detergent and allow them to air dry.

Avoid direct sunlight, as it can damage the foam.

  • Latex Pillows

Latex pillows are similar to memory foam in care.

Spot-clean only and avoid washing machines.

Air-dry completely to maintain their integrity.

Tips for Keeping Pillows Clean

  • Regular Maintenance

Fluff pillows daily to keep them fresh.

Use pillow protectors and wash them regularly.

Avoid eating in bed to prevent spills and stains.

  • Deodorizing

To keep pillows smelling fresh, sprinkle baking soda regularly.

Let it sit for a few hours and then vacuum it off.

This method helps eliminate odors without washing.

  • Allergy Considerations

If you have allergies, wash pillows more frequently.

Use hypoallergenic pillow protectors to reduce allergen buildup.

Ensure pillows are thoroughly dry after washing to prevent mold.

Pillow Lifespan

  • When to Replace

Even with proper care, pillows need replacing eventually.

Signs that it’s time to replace your pillow include loss of shape, persistent odors, and lumps that don’t fluff out.

Generally, replace pillows every one to two years for optimal support and hygiene.

  • Extending Lifespan

To extend the lifespan of your pillows, follow proper washing and drying techniques.

Use pillow protectors and wash them regularly.

Fluff pillows daily and rotate them to ensure even wear.

A hand holding a pillow.

Hacks for How to Wash Pillows

Use Pillow ProtectorsKeeps pillows clean longer; wash protectors regularly.
Wash Two at a TimeBalances the load in the washing machine; prevents clumping.
Gentle CycleUse warm water and a mild detergent to avoid damage.
Extra RinseEnsures all detergent is removed; prevents residue buildup.
Dry with Tennis BallsHelps fluff pillows; prevents clumping in the dryer.
Low Heat DryingPrevents damage to pillow materials; check frequently.
Baking Soda Freshen UpSprinkle baking soda to absorb odors; vacuum off after a few hours.
Spot Clean StainsUse a mild detergent and water; blot gently and air dry.
Regular FluffingKeeps pillows in shape; maintains loft and comfort.
Rotate PillowsEnsures even wear; prolongs pillow lifespan.
Avoid Direct SunlightWhen air drying, keep memory foam and latex pillows out of direct sunlight.
Use Hypoallergenic CoversReduces allergen buildup; wash covers frequently.


Knowing how to wash pillows properly is crucial for maintaining a clean and healthy sleeping environment.

Different pillow types require specific care, whether machine-washing, spot-cleaning, or using low heat.

Regular washing every three to six months helps keep pillows fresh and allergen-free.

Proper drying techniques prevent mold and mildew.

Using pillow protectors and regular fluffing can extend the lifespan of your pillows.

Following these guidelines ensures your pillows remain comfortable and supportive for a good night’s sleep.

Related blogs

How To Wash Pillows

Washing pillows might seem like a daunting task, but it’s essential for keeping your sleeping environment clean and fresh. Many people neglect pillow care, not

Read More »