How To Wash Pillows The Correct Way

Just as your sheets, pillowcases, and blankets get washed regularly, your mattress and pillows also need a good wash or clean in order to stay fresh, germ free and well maintained. However, you will wash your mattress and pillows much less frequently, and in a different way.

Pillows can consist of many different materials in the fill and cover, which means that they may require different methods of cleaning and care.
In this article, I will give you the best advice and tips on washing a variety of Pillow Types, without causing damage to the pillow or reducing its functionality.

Types of Pillows and Their Washing Requirements

Firstly we need to understand the materials of each and every pillow. Usually, the f cover is made from Bamboo, cotton or Synthetic materials which can be washed in any way mostly, but the Fill of the pillow may be a different story all together.

  • Memory Foam Pillows – Memory foam can easily be shredded in a washing machine, and will melt in a dryer at higher heat, or even in very hot sunlight. Therefore it is advised to hand wash your memory foam pillow, and try not to fully submerge it in water. For drying choose a cooler well ventilated area out of direct sunlight.

  • Cotton, Feather, Fiber Fill and Shredded Foam Pillows – Unlike the solid memory foam, shredded memory foam pillow may be washed in a washing machine, along with cotton, feather and fiberfill pillows. I will suggest your most gentle wash cycle, however. Tumble drying is still not advisable, particularly for memory foam, although it is okay for cotton, feather, down and fiber fills at a lower heat.

  • Wool Pillows – A wool pillow can be fully submerged in water either for hand washing or in a very large washing machine all by itself, to prevent the wool from clumping together. Once again, use the gentle cycle and air dry your pillow away from direct sunlight.

  • Buckwheat Pillows – Never get your Buckwheat Hulls wet, you will have to remove them, wash the pillowcase or cover, and refill it again. Or you may just need to wipe down the pillow with a damp cloth.

  • Microbead Pillows – With Tiny Polystyrene beads making up the Fill of your Microbead pillow washing can be very messy if there is a tear in the cover, so hand washing or gentle machine wash is advised and a gentle tumble dry at low heat, or air drying. For extra safety, I would suggest placing the entire pillow in a tied up pillowcase.

Step By Step Washing instructions for Cotton, Down and Synthetic Pillows

  • Remove The Casing – Remove your PillowCase as well as the protective case or cover that your pillow came with.

  • Placing – Place your Pillow in the Washing Machine or container for handwashing and add warm water or cold water, following the instructions of the Pillow label.

  • Add Detergent – You can use your general fabric detergent and a bit of dishwashing soap for a deeper clean. Make sure to add the right quantities for the load.

  • Start Cycle or Washing – If you are machine washing you can strat the GENTLE cycle, if not you can hand wash your pillow.

  • Rinse – For handwashing, you will need to rinse and hand dry your pillow similar to the functioning of the machine.

  • Drying – hand your pillow up to air dry, or place it in the tumble dryer on a cool to moderate drying heat. Remember that memory foam should not be in direct sunlight or in a tumble dryer. Make sure that your pillow is completely dry before you place it back on your bed.

Washing Your Pillow Cover
When it comes to your pillow covers they will usually be made from either natural cotton or bamboo or synthetic polyester or microfiber. I would suggest following the instructions on the labeling, though these pillowcases can all be washed quite safely with normal detergents on a normal cycle in our washing machine, and line dried or even tumble dried if required. Once again make sure that the covers are thoroughly dried before you place them back on to your pillows.

In the case of the Buckwheat Pillow after washing the casing or cover the Buwcheat hulls need to be replaced into the pillowcase at a loft that you desire. Once again make sure that there is no dampness as this is very bad for Buwheat and can cause mold.

Tips to Maintain Your Pillows

  • Follow the Instructions – Always follow the instructions given on the label of your pillow and pillowcases to the “T” in order to use the correct washing method, water heat, and detergents for your pillows. Also check for the correct drying methods to use for your pillow type, keeping in mind that memory foam can melt.

  • Use Quality Soaps and Detergents – Use good quality detergents and avoid harsh abrasives and bleaches if possible. Some dishwashing liquid may be safe enough to add for a more intense clean. Some Pillow may also be bleach safe but make absolutely sure to check the labels first. Bleach can help to whiten dull and yellow stained pillows.

  • Rinse properly – Make sure that your rinse your pillow thoroughly, as the soap can cause a strong smell, as well as filling to clum and stick together.

  • Dry your Pillow properly – Your pillow needs to be dry to the core before placing it back on your bed, as any wetness can become molded and dangerous eventually.

  • Pillow Covers – To give your pillow extra protection, and reduce how regularly you need to wash them if you need to ash them at all, use a protective Pillow Cover. A waterproof pillow protector cover will keep even the smallest dust and dirt particles, dust mites and germs out of your pillow, and protect it against spills, dirt and body oils. In the end, you may only need to wash your Pillowcase. Just make sure to replace the Protective cover if it becomes damaged in any way, because then it is no longer effective.

About the Author

Daniel Max

Interior Designer, Living in New York City. My sole work is to make indoor spaces functional, safe, and beautiful. It is achieved, by determining space requirements and selecting essential and decorative items, such as colors, lighting, and materials. Work always starts with a drawing, reading, and editing blueprints!

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