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How to Wash Pillows – A Step by Step Guide


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December 27, 2022

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Sleeping on clean and dust-free bedding is a significant contributor to getting good sleep. Most of us are very careful about washing our bedding accessories, including blankets, comforters, sheets, and even mattresses. However, of all the bedding accessories we use, we are least bothered about our pillows. An unwashed pillow may lead to bugs, dirt, and dust mites. Our detailed blog will help you understand how to wash pillows of different types with or without a washing machine.

Why Do Pillows Turn Yellow?

Many factors contribute to your pillow turning yellow. The most significant reason is your body sweat. Other reasons that contribute to your white pillow becoming yellowed pillows are sleeping with wet hair, creams or oils on the skin, tears and moisture on the pillow. When the moisture, lotion, sweat, or oil stays on your pillow for longer periods, the pillows start turning yellowish.

Let’s understand how to clean pillows in the next section.

How to Wash Pillows in a Washing Machine

To wash a pillow in a washing machine, you will need a front-load washing machine. Ensure that your device is non-agitating so that your pillows aren’t damaged. The procedure to wash pillows in a washing machine is mentioned below.

  • Step 1: Pull the pillow out of the pillow cover and check for any tear or damage. Ensure no wear and tears in the pillow as the filling inside the cushion may drop inside the washing machine.
  • Step 2: You should wash two pillows in the washing machine. Placing two pillows balances the load of the washing machine.
  • Step 3: Set the washing cycle, water temperature, and use detergents according to the instructions mentioned by the manufacturer.
  • Step 4: Wash your pillow using a gentle cycle. Use extra rinse that ensures that there are no detergent residues left in the washing machine. Allow the rinse to complete before removing the pillow.

The next section explains how to wash and dry pillows.

How to Wash Pillows of Different Types

The filling inside the pillow determines how you should wash it. Let us understand how to clean various types of pillows.

How to Wash Feather Pillow

Down or feather pillows are made from the feathers on the skin of the birds or ducks. While washing a down pillow, you need to be careful as some traces of dirt and dust mites may stay on the pillows and lead to allergies.

You can wash down pillows with a mild detergent. Ensure that you use a light washing cycle. You can also use a liquid detergent; however, it doesn’t soak well and may leave a residue on the pillow fabric. You can dry the down pillow using the no-heat air-dry setting in your dryer. You can also air-dry your pillow naturally.

How to Wash Polyester Pillow

Polyester pillows are firm and must be washed using warm water. Use a gentle detergent with a  mild washing cycle. You can use natural ventilation to dry the polyester pillow. You can also use a dryer at low heat. 

How to Wash Bamboo Pillow

You can machine wash bamboo pillows on a gentle cycle, using warm water. Using extreme hot or cold water may damage the bamboo pillows. It damages fall bamboo shells apart, and only the residuals of bamboo pillows are left. You can dry the bamboo pillow in a machine dryer at low temperatures.

How to Wash Foam Pillow

You cannot wash a memory foam pillow as it damages the stuffing inside the pillow. However, you can clean the memory foam pillow. 

To dry clean the foam pillow, vacuum the cushion thoroughly from all sides using the brush attachment. If you still can’t remove the yellow stains, you can clean them using a cloth dipped in mild detergent. Dry the foam pillows using direct sunlight.

Completely drying the memory foam pillows in sunlight for a few hours every 3-4 months increases the pillow’s durability.

How to Wash Throw Pillows

Many people wonder how to wash decorative pillows. Washing a decorative pillow is similar to a normal pillow; you need to machine wash them in a delicate cycle in warm water using a gentle detergent. Ensure that the machine is non-agitating and either a front or top load. 

Tips to Keep Your Pillows Clean

As they say, prevention is better than cure; here are some valuable tips that will help you keep your pillows clean.

  • Use a pillow cover: Covering the pillow with a protector prevents dust mites, dirt, moisture, and oils from damaging the pillow.
  • Use gentle cycle while washing: Always wash the pillows in gentle cycle, unless stated otherwise by the manufacturer.
  • Avoid washing pillows in hot water: Using hot water while cleaning the pillows may damage the pillow fibers. Also, ensure that you are using clean water for washing the pillows.
  • Dry pillows in low heat: Dry the pillows using natural sunshine. You can use the machine dryer with low temperatures.
  • Keep extra options: Always have extra pillows in your closet so that you can use them while washing and drying.

How Often Should You Replace Your Pillow

Experts recommend that you should wash your pillow after every 1 to 2 years. Washing pillows frequently after 1-2 years ensures that you are using pillows that are firm, clean, and free from dirt and dust mites. Replacing pillows at regular intervals increases the longevity of your pillows.

However, it is essential to know when is the right time to replace your pillow. 

It’s time to replace your old pillow if-

  • You can easily fold your pillow
  • Notice unusual odor from pillow
  • You get off the bed with neck pain
  • You suffer allergic reactions on your skin, nose, throat.

The Final Word

With or without a washing machine, washing a pillow is a skill, and you need to follow the proper steps to avoid any damages to your pillow. Hopefully, our detailed guide will help you wash your pillows perfectly and allow you to get a spotless, odorless, dirtless, and fresh pillow for your sleep.

Happy Sleeping!


You should wash your pillows at least two to three times every year.

Firstly remove the cover of your pillow, fill the tub with lukewarm water, add a detergent, wash the pillow, rinse it, and allow the pillow to dry. Finally, check the dampness of the pillow.

The front and top loading machines without an agitator are the best to wash pillows.

Put the washed pillows in the dryer. Set a low temperature. Then, run your dryer in a delicate setting. You can place two tennis balls in your dryer to help to reduce any clumping during the drying process.

Mix 1 bowl of dishwasher detergent, half bowl of vinegar, and three fourth bowl of baking soda to get a paste-like texture. Now brush the surface of the pillow using the paste thoroughly from all sides. Keep the pillow for 30 minutes with the paste and then rinse it.

You can use one cup of bleach with the detergent while washing the pillow in a washer. Position the pillow on the opposite ends of the washbasin and ensure that you use warm water and extra rinse. Now run the washer and wash the pillow thoroughly.

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