Can You Wash Pillows? Yep! Here's How.
We're all generally good about washing sheets and at least so-so when it comes to washing comforters, duvet covers, duvets, and even mattress pads, but did you know that you should also be washing your pillows? Newsflash: You should be!
Pillows are decidedly different creatures in the world of bedding. Though pillows require much less frequent washing, any washing that is done must be done with special consideration. That said, as pillows can last for as long as 15 years, much longer than other bedding features, the extra effort you may take to maintain them is worth it!
What follows is a helpful guide to washing, drying, maintaining, protecting, and discarding pillows. I hope you find it to be useful!
How Often to Wash Pillows
Pillows should be washed at least twice a year. To keep pillows cleaner in the long run, use pillow protectors: thick, allergy-proof pillowcases with zippers at one end. They help protect against things like:
- Body odor
- Skin cells
- Drool (don't pretend you've never woken up with drool on your pillow!)
And these pillow protectors should themselves be washed once a month. If you do not use pillow protectors, you will probably want to wash your pillows quarterly instead of twice a year.
If you're curious about ideal laundry timetables, check out my guide on how often different pieces of bedding should be washed.
How to Wash Pillows
For the two annual occasions when you wash pillows, here are some helpful tips:
- Remove all covers (pillow protectors included).
- Load them into a washer two at a time. (This keeps the washing machine balanced.)
- Dry them on the fluff setting or a low-heat setting (polyester pillows may form clumps if exposed to high temperatures) with two new tennis balls (wrapped in socks to prevent stains).
- Be sure they're completely dry before replacing pillow protectors and pillowcases
It's that simple!
Over the many weeks out of the year when you do not wash pillows, consider fluffing them daily to keep them from getting flat or molded into awkward, lumpy rocks containing an impression of your head. Also, don't throw extra pillows on the floor when going to sleep. That's just disrespectful toward the pillows. Plus, you'll be bringing floor grit back on to your bed.
Can You Wash Feather Pillows?
Yes! Most down pillows are machine washable.
The following pillows, however, are not:
- Very old down pillows
These can be spot cleaned with a gentle detergent and left in the sun twice to four times a year to air out (the sun is a fabulous natural disinfectant).
How often do YOU wash your pillows?
When to Discard Pillows
A well-cared, high-quality down pillow can last for as long as 15 years! That said, not all of us purchase high-quality down pillows, and not all of us take particularly good care of the nice (or not-so-nice) pillows that we do have.
If you have a synthetic pillow, you'll need to replace it around every 3–4 years. If you have a high-quality pillow but intense allergies, you'll probably want to replace your pillow every two years. And if you wake up feeling neck pain, or can't get the pillow to work even despite giving it a good thrashing-er-fluff, you'll need to replace said pillow no matter how recently you purchased it!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Simone Haruko Smith