How to Wash Pillows: Step-by-Step Guide

Ever stripped your pillows, only to find shocking yellowy, orange stains underneath? Unfortunately, if we don’t wash our pillows regularly, germs, sweat, and oils can build up over time, turning our pillows a nasty shade of yellow. Pillows can even accumulate dust mites if you’re not careful – ew!

Because of this, experts recommend washing your pillows every six months, as this will not only protect your pillows from nasty stains but also prevent you from getting sick.

This article provides a step-by-step guide on how to wash pillows. But first, what are the types of pillows? And does this affect how you wash them?

Types of Pillows

When we’re young, we may assume there’s only one type of pillow. Little did we know, but there are many types of pillows, and they’re not all created equally. Pillows can be made from different materials, and these materials can impact how we wash them.

The first type is feather or down pillows. These are made from super soft feathers or the down from birds, meaning they’re natural, easy to shape, and durable.

Then, there are latex or memory foam pillows. These have become more popular in the last few years as memory foam mattresses have taken the world by storm. Memory foam is a dense foamy material that moulds to our head shape, making them extremely comfortable and supportive.

Finally, there are synthetic pillows. Synthetic pillows contain materials like polyester. These tend to be lightweight and cheap, making them popular in supermarkets. These are great for people with allergies, as they won’t set allergies off, but they don’t last long and go flat quickly.

While you can wash synthetic and down or feather pillows the same way, memory foam or latex pillows require a slightly different approach.

Washing Your Synthetic and Feather or Down Pillows

Washing your synthetic and feather or down pillows is fairly straightforward, so it’s a wonder we don’t do it more often! Follow these six steps to ensure squeaky clean pillows!

Step One: Read the Label!

While you could follow a step-by-step guide until the cows come home, each pillow has unique washing requirements, so if the label tells you not to do something, don’t do it! You have likely noticed the label before – it’s usually sewn into one side of the pillow.

Step Two: Get Rid of Pillowcases or Shams

Surprise, surprise, you can’t clean your pillows if they’re encased in a pillowcase or sham. So, strip these off first before attempting to wash your pillows.

Step Three: Treat Any Existing Stains

If you’ve previously slacked on pillow cleaning, leaving your pillows with yucky yellow stains, don’t fret. These are easily removable – just use some liquid detergent or stain remover to rid your pillows of any existing stains.

Quick note: DO NOT use bleach to clean your pillows. This harsh chemical can break down the materials in your pillow, leaving it flat as a pancake!

Step Four: Wash on a Gentle Cycle

The last thing you want to do when washing your pillows is to put them on a fast wash cycle. A rapid cycle may cause all of the material in your pillow to clump together. If you’re unlucky, this may ruin your pillow for good. Instead, stick to a gentle cycle that uses warm but not hot water.

Try to only use a small amount of detergent, as this will prevent the inner components of your pillows from breaking down,

Step Five: Rinse, Rinse, Rinse!

Rinsing your pillows is one of the most important steps, as any soap residue that remains after the wash cycle can attract dirt! Either choose to rinse your pillows by hand or put your washing machine on a second rinse cycle.

Step Six: Let Your Pillows Dry

If there’s one thing you don’t want, it’s damp pillows. Damp pillows attract mould, and mould wreaks havoc on our health! So, ensure your pillows are bone dry before using them again. You can dry your synthetic pillows on a low heat setting, but your down or feather pillows require no heat. So, for them, air drying is best!

Here’s a quick hack for synthetic pillows: add a couple of new, unused tennis balls to the heat cycle to fluff them up. If you don’t have any tennis balls, buy some dryer balls!

Washing Memory Foam or Latex Pillows

Memory foam and latex pillows have many advantages, and one of them is how easy they are to clean. You could wash your memory foam or latex pillows five times in the time it would take to wash your down, feather, and synthetic ones!

It’s important to remember that you can’t wash these pillows in the washing machine. However, what you can do is:

1.     Vacuum Them

This may sound a little bizarre, but vacuuming your memory foam or latex pillows is the best first step to cleaning them. If possible, use your vacuum’s upholstery tool.

2.     Give Spot Cleaning a Go

Rather than washing the whole pillow, memory foam and latex pillows just require some simple spot cleaning. Use a mixture of mild detergent and water to get any nasty stains off. Whatever you do, don’t soak your pillow!

3.     Leave Them to Air Dry

Let your pillows air dry, ensuring they’re laying flat and in a well-ventilated space. If you’re considering putting your pillows in the dryer, think again! This can ruin the foam filling. 

Concluding Remarks on How to Wash Pillows

Washing your pillows is simple as long as you know what pillows you’re working with and the step-by-step instructions for each. Now you know when and how to wash your pillows, you can be confident that you’ll be sleeping on clean pillows for the rest of time!

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