Wondering How To Wash Pillows? Here’s the Best Way.

Pillows in a laundry basket next to a washing machine

While most people acknowledge the importance of washing sheets and other bedding every week, it’s easy to overlook the importance of washing your pillows, even though we rest our heads on them every night when we sleep. While pillowcases protect pillows and keep them clean for a short time, eventually, pillows will need a thorough cleaning to remove dirt, dust, and bacteria.

Now that you know why it’s important to wash your pillows occasionally, you may be wondering, what the best way to do it is. Is it best to get your pillows dry-cleaned? While this may sound like the best way to clean your pillows, dry cleaning is not advised for most pillows. Dry cleaners use chemical solvents that may be too harsh for the inner workings of the pillow. Also, the dry cleaning process may permanently damage your pillows.

Since we know a lot about cleaning, the experienced pros at Molly Maid® have some recommendations to share on how to wash pillows that will leave you sleeping like a baby.

Tools and Materials You Needed to Wash Pillows

  1. Washing machine: Most pillows can be safely washed in a standard washing machine. However, it's a good idea to check the care instructions or labels on your pillows to confirm whether they are machine-washable.
  2. Gentle detergent: Use a gentle detergent for delicate fabrics in your wash cycle and avoid harsh chemicals or bleach.
  3. Dryer or clothesline: You can hang your pillows to air dry or tumble dry them in the clothes dryer.

Pillow cleaning tip: Place tennis or dryer balls in the dryer with your pillows to help fluff them and restore their shape.

Step-by-Step Process for Washing Pillows

There are a few different ways to wash pillows, depending on the material inside of them. Below we explain the best way to wash down and memory foam pillows.

How to Wash Down Pillows or Feather Pillows

Freshly cleaned down pillows

Proper care and maintenance of your down or feather pillows can help extend their lifespan and keep them fresh and clean. Follow these steps when it’s time to wash your down pillows:

  1. Follow the care instructions: Each pillow has its own instructions, so check the label on your pillow before washing.
  2. Pre-treat stains: Spot clean any visible stains with mild detergent or stain remover. You can also spray stains with hydrogen peroxide (which is a natural whitener).
  3. Add detergent: Add a small amount of mild detergent specifically designed for down or delicate fabrics.
  4. Wash: If the instructions say you can machine wash your pillows, do so in a gentle cycle with warm water. Cleaning tip: Washing two pillows at the same time will maintain the balance of your washing machine.
  5. Rinse thoroughly: Run an extra rinse cycle in your machine to make sure all the detergent is removed from your pillows.
  6. Dry properly: If you don’t thoroughly dry your down pillows, you risk creating a space for mildew to form. Also, wet down feathers will lead to clumping. Place pillows in a large-capacity dryer on low heat and add a couple of clean tennis balls or dryer balls to help fluff the pillows and prevent clumping. If possible, you can also air-dry your down pillows.

How to Wash Memory Foam Pillows

Clean memory foam pillow

Because foam pillows cannot be washed with direct water, you’ll have to clean them using a different method. Here are some tips to follow!

  1. Be sure to spot-clean any stains with a damp cloth or lightly spray with hydrogen peroxide.
  2. To get rid of any odor, sprinkle some baking soda on the pillow and let it sit for at least one hour before vacuuming it off.
  3. Utilize your vacuum’s upholstery brush to remove loose debris.
  4. Take the pillow outside and hit it to dislodge dust and potential skin cells.

Cleaning tip: You should vacuum your memory foam pillow at least every 1-3 months to keep it smelling fresh and free of allergens.

How to Hand-Wash Your Pillows

Pillows air drying after hand washing

If your pillows aren’t machine-safe but aren’t made of foam, washing them in a large utility sink or bathtub is your best option. Here’s the best way to do it:

  1. Fill a bathtub: You will need to fill a bathtub or basin with enough water to submerge your pillows fully.
  2. Add detergent: Mild detergent formulated for delicate fabrics or down is recommended.
  3. Submerge the pillows: Fully submerge them and allow them to soak for 15-20 minutes to loosen any dirt or oils.
  4. Wash: Agitate the pillows in the water by squeezing and pressing them.
  5. Rinse: Drain the soapy water and refill the basin or bathtub with clean, lukewarm water to rinse the soap from the pillows. Submerge and then squeeze to get all the soap out.
  6. Squeeze out excess water: Squeeze the pillows to remove excess water without twisting them, which can damage the filling.
  7. Dry: Lay the pillows flat on a clean towel or hang them to air dry. Flip them to ensure they dry evenly.

How Often Should You Wash Pillows?

Washing your pillows every six months to a year is a good rule. An exception to that rule is if you have allergies or your pillows are dirty or stained, you may want to wash them more often.

How Often Should You Replace Pillows?

Our pillows put in a lot of work when we’re sleeping. We twist them, punch them, fluff them, and so on. So, it’s best to replace your pillows after about two years. Because even with proper care, your pillows will accumulate dust mites and allergens and lose their shape and support after being used to rest your head each night. If you have problems with allergies or wake up every morning with a sore neck, it’s time to replace your pillows.

Be sure to take a look at the tag on your pillow, as sometimes the manufacturer has recommended a lifespan.

Schedule A Molly Maid Clean Today!

Well, now that you have your pillow clean and smelling fresh, it’s time to tackle the rest of your home. If cleaning pillows is all you have time for right now, our team of home cleaning professionals can help. Whether you need a one-time, weekly, or holiday cleaning, your local Molly Maid is ready to tackle the most challenging cleaning so your home looks its absolute best. All of our cleaning services are backed by our Neighborly Done Right Promise™, which ensures your complete satisfaction!

Visit us here for additional recommendations and tips on how to keep your bedroom neat and organized between visits.

Contact your local Molly Maid today for a free house cleaning estimate in your area!

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