How to Wash Pillows in the Washing Machine

In addition to regularly cleaning your sheets and comforter, you should also be caring for your pillows, mattress, and mattress topper. Pillows, especially, should be washed at least two to four times a year (say, every four months) to help them last longer. 

But not all types of pillows — down, fiberfill, and solid foam — should be treated in the same way.

Fiberfill Pillows 

You’re in luck: Most down and fiberfill pillows are machine-friendly, which means you can just toss them in the washing machine for a refresh. Be sure to wash two pillows at a time to keep the washer balanced, ensuring an all-around clean. 

Tips on washing fiberfill pillows: 

  1. Select the gentle cycle and use warm water, then add on an extra cold water rinse and spin cycle.
  2. Add a small amount of detergent. Make sure it is safe for the type of garment.
  3. Tumble the pillows dry on low heat, fluffing and turning them often. To help keep pillows plump, toss in a few dryer balls from Nellie’s. Stop the dryer a few times throughout the cycle to fluff them and break up lumps by hand.

Solid Foam Pillows

While foam pillows are resistant to dust mites, it’s still important to clean them on a regular basis. 

Tips on solid foam pillows: 

  1. Remove pillow covers or pillowcases and wash according to the care tag. If you cut off the care tag, stick the pillow cases and covers in the washing machine, select the normal or casual cycle, and wash in warm or hot water. Then, add the detergent.
  2. To get rid of dust or dirt on the pillow, vacuum both sides, or tumble in the dryer on the no-heat or air-only cycle for 20 minutes.
  3. 3. Spot clean any soiled areas with a cloth dipped in a mild sudsy soap solution. Lightly rinse with a damp cloth. FYI, wet foam tears easily, so be gentle with the water and soap solution.
  4. Allow the pillow to air dry completely before putting it back on the bed or couch.

How to Know When You Should Replace Your Pillows?

If you fold the pillow in half, and it doesn’t spring back into shape, plan for a shopping trip or if your pillows have a funny odor even after you give them a good wash, it’s also a good idea to replace them.

To help lengthen your pillow’s life, use liners under your pillowcases and wash pillows every four to six months.

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