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10 July 2024

How to Wash Pillows | Advice & Tips for All Pillow Types

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How to Wash Pillows | Advice & Tips for All Pillow Types

For a hygienic sleep environment and a healthy night’s rest, it’s important to sleep on a clean pillow. Besides your pillowcase, you can often wash your pillow itself. This article provides ways to safely wash and dry different types of pillows. In this article, we explore the best tips to keep your pillow fresh and clean.

Why is it important to wash your pillow?

Every night, your pillow absorbs sweat, oil, skin flakes, and saliva. Over time, bacteria, fungi, and dust mites accumulate, which can lead to allergies, skin problems, and respiratory issues. A 2018 study by Fassio and Guagnini shows the impact of dust mites on respiratory problems, making it crucial to address this effectively.

While your pillowcase traps much of the dirt, sweat, saliva, and skin cells; they eventually penetrate the pillow itself. Thus, washing only the pillowcase is not sufficient. Regularly washing your pillow ensures a fresh and hygienic sleep environment and reduces allergens.

How often should I wash my pillow?

I recommend washing your pillow a few times a year for deeper cleaning, allergen removal, and odor prevention. Depending on the material, washing every 3 to 6 months is advisable.

If you suffer from allergies or sweat a lot while sleeping, it’s wise to clean your pillow more frequently.

Read more about our advice on how often to change your bedding here.

Different types of pillows and how to wash them

Not all pillows require the same washing method. Below, I describe common types of pillow fillings and the best ways to clean them.

Latex Pillows

Latex pillows should not be machine washed, as the material crumbles easily. Instead, wash them by hand in lukewarm water, using a mild detergent. As the material resists dust and mold naturally, washing a latex pillow every six months is enough.

Memory Foam Pillows

Memory foam pillows are sensitive to water and can easily get damaged in the washing machine. I suggest airing them out every 2-3 months. If you need to clean them, hand washing works best. More tips are provided later in the article.

Bamboo Pillows

Bamboo pillows, usually filled with bamboo fibers, often have a removable cover that can be machine washed. For washing the inner pillow, follow the instructions on the care label for the correct method. I recommend washing a bamboo pillow every three months.

Down Pillows

Down pillows are often machine washable. Use a mild detergent and a gentle cycle. Always check the care label before washing. For optimal hygiene and freshness, wash the pillow every 3 to 6 months.

Buckwheat Pillows

Buckwheat pillows are unique because of their fulling of buckwheat hulls. The hulls cannot be washed but can instead be placed outside in the sun once or twice a year to reduce any accumulated moisture.

Synthetic Pillows

Synthetic pillows are one of the easiest to maintain, as they are machine washable. In many cases, pillows made from polyester and other sythetic machine can be dried in the dryer

4 Methods to Clean Your Pillow

Depending on the material, you can use the following methods to wash pillows.

  1. Machine Washing

Down and synthetic pillows are often machine washable, using a mild detergent and a gentle wash cycle. To keep the machine balanced, it helps to wash two pillows simultaneously.

If indicated on the care label, you can dry the pillows in the dryer.

→ Tip: Add a few tennis balls to the dryer to prevent clumping in the pillow filling.

  1. Hand Washing

For pillows suitable for hand washing, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: First, fill a large basin or bathtub with lukewarm water and a mild detergent.
  • Step 2: Next, submerge the pillow and gently knead to remove dirt and stains.
  • Step 3: Then, rinse the pillow thoroughly with clean water to remove soap residue.
  • Step 4: Afterward, press gently to remove excess water, avoiding wringing or twisting.
  • Step 5: Finally, lay the pillow flat to dry in a well-ventilated area, turning it regularly to ensure even drying.
  1. Stain Removal

For stubborn stains, use a mixture of water and mild detergent, gently rubbing it into the stain with a soft sponge or cloth. Rinse thoroughly. A steam cleaner can also be effective for removing tough stains.

Want to remove blood stains? We have written an article with all the tips!

  1. Freshening with Baking Soda

To neutralize odors and absorb moisture, sprinkle baking soda over the entire pillow or a damp spot. Let is sit for 15-30 minutes and use a vacuum to remove the leftover baking soda.

Replacing Your Pillow

Even with regular cleaning, pillows don’t last forever. I recommend replacing your pillow every 2 to 3 years. Replace your pillow if it no longer holds its shape or if you experience neck or back pain. A worn-out pillow doesn’t provide proper support and can negatively impact your sleep quality.

Is it time for a new pillow? Check out our tips for finding the best pillow for you.

Veelgestelde vragen

How can I wash my pillow?

Not every pillow can be washed the same way. For down and synthetic pillows, you can use a mild detergent and choose a gentle wash cycle. Latex, memory foam, and gel foam pillows are best washed by hand. Always check the care label for specific instructions.

Why is it important to wash a pillow?

The amount of moisture, skin flakes, and sweat that can penetrate a pillow while sleeping can lead to the accumulation of bacteria, mold, and dust mites, which can cause allergies and respiratory problems. Regular washing ensures a hygienic sleeping environment and a fresher pillow.

How do I wash pillow in the washing machine?

For pillows that can be machine washed, it is best to use a gentle wash cycle and low temperatures. Use a mild detergent and consider adding an extra rinse cycle to remove all soap residue.

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