March 21, 2023

A Guide to Cleaning Your Pillows

Your bedroom is a sanctuary where you can retreat for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation, and having a clean bed can make the time you spend there even more rewarding. You may already be diligent about cleaning your sheets, comforter, and pillowcases, but what about the pillows?
The hours we log in bed each night add up to roughly a third of our lives, and during that time, pillows can collect a host of unsavory things, like dirt, sweat, bacteria, oils, dead skin cells, and dust mites. If you’re like us, you’d probably prefer not to rest your head on that combination, so it’s time to start cleaning your pillows regularly.
We’ve put together a guide covering everything you need to know to enjoy fresh, clean pillows.

How Often Should You Wash Your Pillows?

While it’s a best practice to launder your bed linens weekly, pillows need attention less frequently. To keep your pillows in their best condition, it’s optimal to wash them every three to four months.
The type of pillow you use can also dictate a cleaning schedule. Depending on their materials, your pillows can collect different amounts of dirt and allergens. Pillows made from the following materials may stay cleaner for longer:
Latex or memory foam
Hypoallergenic fibers
Pillows containing synthetic products like polyester tend to collect dust and dirt faster, so they may need more frequent cleaning.

Replacing Your Pillows

Remember to replace your pillows every couple of years to ensure you enjoy clean, supportive, and allergen-free sleep.
Pillows made with higher-quality materials may cost more than synthetic options, but they’re more resistant to dirt and last longer as a result. Memory foam, buckwheat, or latex pillows may only need replacing every three to four years.
Synthetic pillows may be more budget-friendly and easier to clean, but they’re less durable, so you’ll need to turn them over more frequently. To get the best use out of synthetic pillows, like those made from polyester, replace them every six months to two years.
You may need to clean or replace your pillows more often if you:
Spill something on them and need to spot-clean
Share your bed with pets
Eat or drink in bed

Spot-Cleaning Your Pillows

You’ll want to spot-clean your pillows before washing them if you spill something on them or they otherwise become stained. Additionally, if you can’t wash your pillows in the machine, you’ll have to spot-clean them. Check the pillow tags for specific washing instructions.
To spot-clean foam pillows, dip a cloth in a mild soap and water solution and scrub thoroughly. For other types of pillows, you can pretreat stains with an enzyme-containing detergent to help break up the stain before further cleaning.

Washing Your Pillows in the Washing Machine

Can you put pillows in the wash? In some cases, the answer is yes! If you have pillows filled with feathers, down, cotton, or fiberfill, you can clean them in your washing machine using warm water and a gentle cycle.
Again, read the label to ensure you employ the correct washing method. Foam pillows should not go into the washing machine because the agitation can break up the filling. To clean foam pillows, use a vacuum attachment to remove dirt and dust, then spot-clean if needed.

How to Machine-Wash Pillows

Follow the steps below to maximize your wash cycle.
Look over the pillow seams to ensure they’re intact and can withstand the wash cycle. Mend any broken seams before washing.
Set your washing machine to a delicate or gentle cycle and add detergent. A fragrance-free detergent is a good option, but don’t add too much — excess soap can leave a sticky residue that may cause the pillow filling to clump.
Wash only two pillows at once to ensure each pillow receives plenty of water and that the machine stays balanced.
If using a top-loading washer, stop the cycle periodically to squeeze the air from the pillows.

The Type of Washing Machine Matters

The best washing machine for cleaning pillows is a top- or front-loading machine without an agitator, which is the post in the center of the basin. But don’t worry if your washing machine doesn’t fit this description. Add your pillows to the machine vertically and allow the cycle to agitate for no more than two minutes to avoid damage.
After the rinse cycle, use the spin-dry option to remove as much moisture from the pillows as possible.

How to Dry Your Pillows

After washing your pillows, you can either let them air-dry or place them in the dryer if the washing instructions allow.
To air-dry pillows, squeeze as much moisture out of them as possible before placing them either outdoors in direct sunlight or indoors in an area with good circulation. You can also add a fan to the room to help accelerate the drying process.
If you use a dryer, set it to the lowest heat setting available and add tennis or dryer balls to help prevent the pillow filling from clumping. Check the pillows every 20 to 30 minutes to fluff them and ensure they’re drying evenly. You may need to run them through a few cycles to dry them completely. Any remaining moisture could invite the dust, mildew, and bacteria you’re trying to avoid.
It’s best not to overload your dryer with pillows. Just as with washing, dry your pillows two at a time to give them plenty of room to dry completely.

Leave Your Cleaning to Maid Bright

As you can see, it’s essential to wash your pillows regularly to ensure they’re clean and supportive whenever you turn in for rest. Wash your pillows based on type and cleaning instructions, and replace them as needed.
Maid Bright has offered reliable, professional residential cleaning services to the D.C. metropolitan area since 2004. We understand life gets busy, and we want to help you take cleaning off your to-do list. Whether you need an initial or one-time clean, move-in and move-out cleanings, recurring cleanings, or seasonal cleanings, our experienced team has you covered.
With our free in-home consultation, we’ll develop a cleaning plan that suits your lifestyle. Book your cleaning today!

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