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How To Clean Bed Pillows

How To Clean Bed Pillows


How To Clean Bed Pillows: Welcome to our comprehensive guide on How To Clean Bed Pillows – your ultimate resource for maintaining a clean and hygienic sleep environment. Pillows, essential companions for a good night’s rest, accumulate dirt, oils, and allergens over time, impacting your health and comfort. In this detailed guide, we’ll walk you through step-by-step instructions to clean various types of bed pillows, from down and feather to memory foam and synthetic fills.

Discover the secrets to preserving the longevity of your pillows, ensuring they remain supportive and free of unpleasant odors. We’ll share expert tips on identifying the right cleaning methods for different pillow materials, including machine washing, spot cleaning, and natural remedies. Understanding the importance of regular pillow maintenance, our guide emphasizes not only the removal of stains but also the elimination of dust mites and bacteria.

You’ll be equipped with the knowledge and techniques to revitalize your bed pillows, enhancing your sleep quality and overall well-being. Follow our instructions, and enjoy a rejuvenating night’s sleep on fresh, clean, and cozy pillows. Let’s embark on this journey to a healthier sleep environment together!

How To Clean Bed Pillows

What is the best way to wash bed pillows?

Wash two pillows in a single load to balance the washer. Use only a tablespoon of detergent to prevent over-sudsing and detergent buildup inside the pillow. Use the washer’s gentle cycle and the warmest water temperature recommended on the pillow’s care tag.

The best way to wash bed pillows depends on the type of pillow you have, but generally, it’s important to maintain their cleanliness for a healthy sleeping environment. Most pillows can be machine washed, but always check the care label first. For down and feather pillows, use a gentle cycle with warm water and a mild detergent. Make sure to rinse them thoroughly to remove all soap residue. To maintain the fluffiness, adding a couple of tennis balls wrapped in clean socks to the dryer can help in breaking up clumps.

Synthetic pillows can also be machine washed but on a slightly higher temperature setting, around 130°F (54°C), to kill dust mites. You can add fabric softener during the rinse cycle to keep them soft. Memory foam pillows should never be machine washed. Instead, spot clean them with a mild detergent and water.

Regardless of the pillow type, it’s a good idea to invest in pillow protectors. These are zippered covers that go under the pillowcase and provide an extra layer of protection against stains, allergens, and dust mites. Regularly washing pillowcases and protectors, about once a week, can also contribute to a cleaner sleeping environment.

Always refer to the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure the longevity and quality of your pillows. By following the appropriate washing methods, you can maintain a fresh and comfortable bed for a good night’s sleep.

Can bed pillows be washed and dried?

Wash Pillows in the Washing Machine

Most down and synthetic pillows can be machine-washed and dried on low heat. Note that water needs to be 140°F or higher to kill dust mites, so make sure your water heater isn’t set too low. Also, consider an extra spin cycle to squeeze out as much dampness as possible.

Yes, bed pillows can generally be washed and dried, but the method depends on the pillow’s material. Most synthetic and down-filled pillows are machine washable. It’s important to check the care label on your pillow for specific instructions, but in general, using a mild detergent and a gentle cycle with warm water is suitable. To maintain fluffiness, adding a couple of tennis balls wrapped in clean socks to the dryer can help break up clumps during the drying process. It’s crucial to ensure the pillows are thoroughly dried to prevent mold growth, which can happen if moisture is trapped inside.

Memory foam pillows, however, should never be machine washed or dried, as the moisture can damage the foam. Instead, spot cleaning with a mild detergent and water is the appropriate way to clean them. Additionally, many pillows benefit from the use of pillow protectors, which can be removed and washed regularly, preserving the pillow’s cleanliness.

When washing and drying any pillows, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Some pillows may require special care, such as air drying or specific temperature settings. By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure your bed pillows stay fresh, clean, and comfortable for a longer time, contributing to a healthier sleeping environment.

Should pillows be washed?

Before washing pillows, it’s important to know a little more about the process. Generally, you should wash pillows used nightly about every six months. You usually don’t need to clean pillows in guest rooms as often because they aren’t used so frequently.

Yes, pillows should be washed regularly to maintain hygiene and extend their lifespan. Over time, pillows accumulate sweat, body oils, dust mites, and allergens, which can affect your health and sleep quality. Washing pillows helps remove these contaminants, ensuring you have a clean and healthy sleeping environment. Regular washing also helps in preserving the pillow’s structural integrity and fluffiness.

The frequency of washing depends on the type of pillow and personal preference. Synthetic and down-filled pillows can be washed in a washing machine, typically every 3-6 months, depending on usage and the presence of pillow protectors. Pillow protectors act as an additional barrier against stains and can be easily removed and washed more frequently, around once a month.

Memory foam pillows are not machine washable. Instead, spot cleaning with a mild detergent and water is recommended. Using pillowcases and protectors for all types of pillows can reduce the need for frequent washing, as these covers can be laundered more often.

Regularly washing pillows not only ensures cleanliness but also helps in reducing allergies, asthma, and other respiratory issues by eliminating dust mites and allergens. Always check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer and use a gentle washing method to maintain the quality of your pillows, promoting a healthier and more comfortable sleep environment.

How do you clean dirty pillows without washing them?

How to properly clean and disinfect pillows

To eliminate odors, remove your pillowcase and sprinkle baking soda over your pillow.

After 30 minutes, vacuum away the baking soda.

Spray your pillow with a fabric-safe sanitizer to disinfect it.

Air pillows outside for a few hours every two weeks.

Cleaning dirty pillows without washing them is possible by utilizing alternative methods that focus on removing surface dirt, odors, and allergens. One effective technique is sprinkling baking soda on the pillow’s surface. Baking soda helps absorb odors and can be left on the pillow for a few hours or overnight, then vacuumed off.

Regular sun exposure can also aid in freshening up pillows. Sunlight acts as a natural disinfectant and deodorizer. Place the pillows in direct sunlight for a few hours, flipping them occasionally to ensure both sides are exposed. The sun’s UV rays can help kill bacteria and eliminate odors.

Using a fabric freshening spray or a mixture of water and vinegar in a spray bottle can help neutralize odors. Lightly spray the pillow and allow it to air dry completely before using it again.

Another method involves using a fabric-friendly disinfectant spray. Ensure the spray is suitable for pillows and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Spray a small amount on the surface of the pillow and let it air out thoroughly.

Frequent washing of pillowcases and the use of pillow protectors can prevent dirt and oils from reaching the pillow directly, reducing the need for extensive cleaning.

While these methods can freshen up pillows, it’s important to note that they are not a substitute for regular washing. Periodic washing is still necessary to maintain a clean and healthy sleeping environment, but these techniques can be handy for interim cleaning and odor control.

How To Clean Bed Pillows

How often should I clean my bed pillows to maintain hygiene and freshness? 

Maintaining the hygiene and freshness of your bed pillows is crucial for a good night’s sleep and your overall health. Ideally, you should clean your bed pillows every three to six months to ensure they remain free from dirt, allergens, and odors. This frequency can vary based on individual factors such as allergies, the quality of your pillow protectors, and personal preference.

Pillows accumulate dust mites, bacteria, oils, and dead skin cells over time, which can lead to allergies, respiratory issues, and skin problems. Washing your pillows regularly helps eliminate these contaminants, providing a cleaner sleep environment. Additionally, frequent washing revitalizes the pillow’s fill, ensuring it remains supportive and comfortable for a more extended period.

It’s important to note that pillow protectors, which act as a barrier against allergens and stains, need to be washed more frequently – ideally once every two to four weeks. These protectors extend the lifespan of your pillows and improve their overall cleanliness.

Apart from regular washing, occasional spot cleaning is advisable for addressing immediate spills or stains. Quick attention to spills prevents them from seeping deep into the pillow, making it easier to remove the stain effectively. Always follow the care instructions provided by the pillow manufacturer to avoid damaging the fill material or the pillow’s integrity during the cleaning process.

A cleaning routine that includes both regular washing (every three to six months) and more frequent washing of pillow protectors (every two to four weeks) will help maintain the hygiene and freshness of your bed pillows. By adopting these practices, you ensure that your pillows not only offer a comfortable night’s sleep but also contribute to your overall well-being.

What are the specific cleaning methods for memory foam bed pillows? 

Cleaning memory foam bed pillows requires special care to preserve their structure and functionality. Unlike traditional pillows, memory foam pillows are sensitive to moisture and can lose their shape if not cleaned properly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to effectively clean your memory foam bed pillows:

Remove the pillowcase and check for any specific cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer. It’s essential to adhere to these instructions to avoid damaging the memory foam.

Begin by spot cleaning any stains. Use a mild detergent mixed with water and a soft cloth or sponge. Gently dab the stained area without saturating the foam. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as they can damage the memory foam.

To remove odors, sprinkle baking soda on the pillow’s surface. Let it sit for a few hours to absorb the odors. Afterward, vacuum the pillow using a handheld vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove the baking soda residue.

For deeper cleaning, consider using a fabric upholstery or enzymatic cleaner specifically designed for memory foam. Follow the cleaner’s instructions, usually involving a gentle application, allowing it to sit for a specified time, and then blotting or vacuuming the foam.

To tackle allergens and bacteria, sunlight exposure can be beneficial. Place the pillow in direct sunlight for a few hours. Sunlight has natural disinfecting properties and can help freshen up the pillow. However, be cautious not to leave the pillow in the sun for too long, as excessive heat can damage the memory foam.

Ensure the pillow is thoroughly dry before using it again. Memory foam retains moisture, so it’s crucial to let it air dry completely. You can use a fan or place the pillow in a well-ventilated area to speed up the drying process.

By following these specific cleaning methods, you can maintain the cleanliness and longevity of your memory foam bed pillows, ensuring a comfortable and hygienic sleep surface for years to come.

Can I machine wash all types of bed pillows, or are there exceptions? 

Not all types of bed pillows can be safely machine washed, as different pillow materials have varying cleaning requirements. Understanding these differences is crucial to preserve the integrity and longevity of your pillows.

Synthetic Pillows: Most synthetic pillows, including polyester and microfiber fills, are machine washable. Check the care label on the pillow to confirm the washing instructions. To prevent clumping, it’s advisable to wash two pillows at a time, using a mild detergent and a gentle cycle. Ensure thorough rinsing and a complete spin cycle to remove excess water.

Down and Feather Pillows: Pillows filled with down and feathers require extra care. They can be machine washed, but it’s essential to use a delicate cycle with warm water and a mild detergent. Adding a couple of tennis balls or clean sneakers wrapped in white socks to the wash helps fluff the pillows. After washing, thoroughly rinse the pillows and ensure they are completely dry before use to prevent mold growth.

Memory Foam Pillows: Memory foam pillows should not be machine washed. The foam can deteriorate, lose its shape, or become lumpy when exposed to water. Instead, spot clean any stains using a mild detergent and water. To freshen them up, consider using baking soda to absorb odors, followed by thorough vacuuming.

Decorative or Specialty Pillows: Pillows with intricate designs, delicate fabrics, or embellishments like beads or sequins are generally not machine washable. Spot cleaning with a mild cleaner or dry cleaning is usually recommended to avoid damage to the decorative elements.

Always refer to the care label or manufacturer’s instructions for specific guidance on cleaning your pillows. When in doubt, consulting a professional cleaner can help ensure the longevity and appearance of your specialty or delicate pillows. By understanding the exceptions and following the appropriate cleaning methods, you can maintain the cleanliness and comfort of your pillows effectively.

What natural remedies are effective for removing stains from bed pillows?

Natural remedies offer effective solutions for removing stains from bed pillows without the use of harsh chemicals. Here are several eco-friendly methods you can try:

Baking Soda: Baking soda is a versatile stain remover and deodorizer. Create a paste by mixing baking soda with a small amount of water. Apply the paste to the stained area and let it sit for several hours or overnight. Then, brush off the dried paste and the stain should lift with it.

Vinegar: White vinegar is excellent for removing stains and odors. Mix equal parts of water and vinegar, then dampen a clean cloth with the solution. Blot the stained area gently, allowing the vinegar to lift the stain. Afterward, blot the area with a clean, damp cloth to remove excess vinegar.

Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent. Mix lemon juice with an equal amount of water and apply it to the stain. Let it sit in the sunlight for a few hours, as the combination of lemon juice and sunlight can help lift the stain. Rinse the area with water afterward.

Salt: For fresh spills, immediately blot excess liquid, then sprinkle salt over the stain. The salt will absorb the moisture. After a few hours, brush off the salt and treat any remaining stain with a mild detergent and water solution.

Cornstarch: For greasy stains, sprinkle cornstarch over the affected area and let it sit for several hours or overnight. Cornstarch will absorb the oil. Brush off the powder and, if necessary, repeat the process until the stain is gone.

To test any natural remedy on a small, inconspicuous area of the pillow first to ensure it doesn’t damage the fabric. These natural alternatives are not only effective at removing stains but also safer for your health and the environment.

How To Clean Bed Pillows


Taking care of your bed pillows is an essential aspect of maintaining a clean and healthy sleeping environment. By following the methods and tips outlined in this guide, you have the power to extend the life of your pillows, ensuring they remain not only fresh and clean but also supportive for a good night’s sleep. Regular cleaning not only removes dirt and allergens but also contributes significantly to your overall well-being, reducing the risk of allergies and promoting better respiratory health.

Different pillow materials require specific cleaning approaches, and understanding these differences is key to successful maintenance. Whether you have down, memory foam, or synthetic pillows, our guide has provided you with comprehensive insights and practical steps to keep them in top condition.

By incorporating these cleaning techniques into your regular household routine, you’re not just enhancing the longevity of your pillows but also investing in your own health and comfort. Embrace these practices, and may your nights be filled with restful, rejuvenating sleep on pillows that are as fresh as they are comfy. Sweet dreams and a healthier, happier you await, thanks to your newfound pillow-cleaning expertise!


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Sophia is a creative and passionate entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Bubble Slides, a rapidly growing company that designs and produces innovative and eco-friendly children's water slides. She continues to innovate and improve her products, always keeping in mind the well-being of children and the environment.

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