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  • Writer's pictureLaundry Care

How to Wash Your Bed Pillows

3,000 hours. That’s about how much time we’re supposed to spend in bed every year. That’s why it’s especially important to make your sleep space as restful, comfy and CLEAN as possible. Pillows are a haven for germs, bacteria, dust, dirt and all kinds of other allergens. Keep them clean and get more restful sleep with these tips.

Fluffy white pillows on a white bed

Air It Out

Pillows are a prime place for dust, dirt and other allergens to settle. To prevent buildup, dust your pillows off, shake them out and give them a good fluff often. It’s best to make this part of your weekly or biweekly cleaning routine whenever you change the sheets and pillow cases. This helps pillows retain their shape, avoids unnecessary washing and keeps them more clean between washes. Follow this up every month or so, with a quick tumble in the dryer.

Spot Clean As Needed

Spot cleaning should be done regularly for all the pillows in your home including all your throw pillows and couch cushions. Pillows tend to absorb several stains as they are used in so many areas of regular home life. Spills, saliva (Funny, but true! You know you drool a little.) and other stains can seep into the inner part of your beloved, fluffy headrests. Whenever you spill something or notice a stain, treat it right away so they can be eliminated quickly and easily. Dab wet stains with a clean, dry cloth and remove all solid particles if present.

To spot clean, mix a solution of 1 cup warm water with ¼ cup laundry detergent or a few drops of Dawn dishwashing detergent. Dip a soft bristle scrub brush or toothbrush into solution and scrub the spot gently in a circular motion. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Then, rinse the pillow focusing on the casing (so as not to let excess liquid go straight into the pillow stuffing). Repeat if necessary.

Wash It Gently

Check your pillow care instructions on the label before washing them with your machine, but most foam-filled and synthetic fill pillows can be machine-washed. If your pillow is NOT machine washable, skip down to the bottom of this article to learn more about how to get it clean.

Start by placing the pillow(s) into the wash basin or drum. Pillows should not be washed with any other clothes or linens. We recommend washing no more than 2-3 pillows at a time, depending on your washer’s capacity. The drum should only be ⅔ full to make sure there is room for the load to agitate and spin. For best results, use a high quality detergent along with ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to remove bacteria and skin cells. Set the washer to the bulky or large items cycle. This will assure that the load is more balanced and each item gets equal attention.

Dry It Thoroughly

Before tossing your pillow into the dryer, read the care tag to see which drying method the manufacturer suggests. Most pillows can be dried in the dryer on low or medium heat. Remove excess moisture by wrapping the pillow in a large towel and gently pressing down. Next, place the pillow for at least 45-60 minutes on medium heat, longer on a low heat setting. We would suggest drying no more than 2 pillows at a time. Some of the newer dryer models have auto-dry settings with a sensor that stops automatically when the load is dry. If your dryer has this feature, squeeze the middle of the pillow at the end of the cycle to confirm the filling is thoroughly dry. Some auto-dry sensors only detect surface moisture, leaving you with a damp pillow-a major mold & mildew risk.

If the weather is nice, you can also hang pillows on a clothesline or drying rack in the sun. Be sure to flip the pillow every hour so each side as well as the filling is able to dry completely.

White pillows on a blue bed

Want to Make Your Pillows Last Longer? Here Are 2 Easy Tips...

Change Your Pillowcases More Often

First and most importantly, changing your pillow cases regularly will reduce how often your pillows need to be fully cleaned. We recommend putting a fresh set of pillowcases on at least once per week . This will prevent buildup of sweat, body oils, skin cells and other yucky stuff and keep them from seeping into the interior of your pillow.

Add Zippered Pillow Protectors

Zippered pillow protectors can be used as an added layer underneath the pillow case. These are specifically designed to keep allergens and dust mites. Amazon and many big box stores such as Walmart and Target offer a variety of options. It’s important to note these protectors are not meant to substitute for actual pillowcases-they should be used in ADDITION to your normal pillowcase. They also must be cleaned at regular intervals, however they can be laundered less frequently than other bedding. We recommend monthly washing.

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