When Should You Wash Your Pillows?


We all want to ensure that we have the best rest possible. Sleeping comfortably helps to lead a healthy lifestyle. Yet one thing that can stop that is a dirty pillow. They don't need to be washed as regularly as bedsheets and should, at the minimum, be washed twice a year. Some factors that change are the material and how much you may sweat. Additionally, whether to wash the pillow by hand or in a machine comes down to the material as well.



Some tips you need to know


Below you’ll find some easy-to-handle tips and tricks so you will only clean your pillows and prevent accidentally damaging them. All of this will help you earn that good night’s sleep every night. 


  • Pay attention to the pillow material


Since not all pillows are built the same way, you cannot wash them the same way. Although quite durable, you shouldn't wash a latex pillow in a washing machine. Neither should you with a memory foam pillow. This is because the actual inside materials could separate during the wash.


In a washing machine, you can comfortably wash more natural materials such as cotton-based or down pillows. This includes polyester-based pillows as well. Always make sure to use less detergent than normal, and it should also be mild.


  • Understand how pillow maintenance works


Doing routine maintenance on your pillows helps to make them last longer. For example, you should take a moment to fluff your pillows every day. This helps to retain their shape and push out any dust or allergens.


On a monthly basis, you can hang your pillows outside (dry), and the fresh air will do the work. If you're not too bothered about your utility bill, you can put your pillows in a no-heat dryer cycle and let the tumbling get the debris, dust, and allergens out.


  • Master spot treatments on your pillows


We may spill something on our bed from time to time, and it gets on the pillow. How to clean pillowsFirst of all, that means you need to move fast. Get a dry and clean paper towel or cloth and remove any excess liquid first. Then you'll want to use a very mild detergent with only a cloth this time to rub over the stain in a circular fashion. This helps to bring the stain out. You'll want it to dry fully before checking on the stain. If you aren't satisfied, do it a few more times (allowing it to dry fully), and it should do the trick.




How to Wash my Pillows


We’ll cover how to wash your pillows via a washing machine or by hand. At the same time, you’ll be informed of what types need to be washed by hand or can be cleaned in a washing machine.


A. Machine-Washing Your Pillow


Step 1 – The Preparation


You will want to remove all covers or pillowcases from your pillow. You want to also do a spot check to make sure there's no tear in the pillowcase, as even the gentlest cycle will tear the pillow further, making it unusable.



Step 2 - Pick the right machine cycle


No matter the material, always select the most delicate cycle, which is sometimes known as the gentle cycle as well. For polyester-based or other synthetic-based pillows, you can wash them on a warm cycle. Selecting a cold cycle is best for down pillows, as even warmer temperatures can damage the natural materials.


Step 3 – Add the cleaning agent


Here you want to use the bare minimum. That means a sprinkle of cleaning detergent or, at the most, about a tablespoon of liquid detergent. If you have options for detergents, always pick the mildest option.



Step 4 – Load up the machine and start the cycle


You want to fill up the washing machine with the proper load balance and enough space for the pillows to move during the cycle. Then, at the end, give it an extra rinse cycle to get any detergent that may be left out.  


Machine washing of the following pillow types should be ok in most cases. These are cotton and down pillows and other feather pillows. Polyester pillows are ok as well. If you're unsure, you can always verify it with the tag on the pillow itself to see if it provides any guidance.



B. Hand-washing Your Pillows


Step 1 – Pillow Preparation


Similar to machine washing, you’ll want to remove any pillow protectors or covers. You can probably machine wash those, so make sure to check the label.


Step 2 – Vacuum


This time we’re going to do a proper vacuuming of the entire pillow. Some people do a quick drying session in the drying machine afterward on the non-heat cycle.


Step 3 – Spot clean


For those visible stains, you're going to want to create a cleaning solution and spot-clean those areas. Remember to be gentle. Otherwise, you may tear your pillow.


Step 4 – The Soak


Here you’re going to take your mild cleaning solution, whether it's simply soap or dishwashing soap with warm water, or something even more homemade. Then you're going to soak the pillow for around ten minutes and gently squeeze it (like you would a sponge).


Step 5 – Repeat


After the initial soak, you'll replace that cleaning water with plain water and keep soaking and squeezing the pillow until all the soap is completely out.


The best pillows for hand-washing are those memory foam ones or latex-based pillows. These are also a perfect way to wash those neck pillows we may use on our next trip as well.




How to Dry Pillows  


Drying pillows is a simple process. Yet it's also a process where if you're not paying attention or doing it properly, you can, in fact, damage your pillows or cause them to not dry properly.


There are two ways to go about this. First, if you have just washed your pillow in a washing machine, it will be durable enough to handle the drying part, but you'll want to check it every 15 minutes or so. Ensure you're using the lowest setting for heat; fluff the pillows up every time you check on them to ensure they dry evenly. These are good for common bed pillows such as down pillows or polyester pillows only.


On the other end, if you have a memory foam pillow or a latex pillow, then your only option is to air dry the pillows. This can take up to an entire day, and you want to check in every hour or so if you can because you want to make sure to fluff these pillows as well. Make sure the pillow is totally dry on the inside (squeeze it) before using it normally. Otherwise, it may never dry properly and may start to form mildew and start smelling.





How to Fluff Your Pillows


Fluffy pillows lead to comfortable pillows for sleeping well and maintaining your health. Below we’ve got you covered with some DIY methods to keep them fluffy for their whole lifespan.


Tip 1 – Let the dryer do the fluffing


Again use the dryer only with no heat functionality. You're going to place the pillow in the dryer with tennis balls. You can set the tennis balls in a sock to make stacking easier. All that bouncing around should evenly fluff out the pillows for you. You can do this once a month to get them looking and feeling like new.


Keep in mind that putting the pillow in the dryer without the tennis balls is also an excellent tip when fluffing your pillows. Make sure to monitor the pillows themselves, and remember to check the label to see if you can put them in a dryer. If they can, and you can use the lowest heat setting, go for it, as you’ll get a fluffy warm pillow in the end.


Tip 2 – Place it outside


If putting it into the dryer seems like too much effort, you can simply leave your pillow outside to get some fresh air. The natural breeze will fluff it for you, and if you leave it out in the sun, you can make it a bit toasty for you as well. If you buy those compressed pillows, this is a must-have strategy because you'll sometimes air out that compression smell you get.  


Tip 3 – Fluff it with your hands


You want to do two different exercises whenever you're fluffing your pillow, regardless if they are down pillows or latex pillows. The first is you want to massage your pillow. That means really getting in there and pinching, squeezing, and putting pressure all over the pillow. This will help redistribute the pillow properly back into its shape and eliminate any chucks in the pillows.


Then you’ll want to take the pillow on its sides and pull it in and out from the sides back and forth. This helps with the redistribution as well. Both of these should be done on a daily basis to have optimal pillow fluffiness.  



How Often to Replace Pillows?


Again – this is based on the material of the pillow, as well as how well you’re able to maintain these pillows. Polyester comes with the lowest lifespan, with some pillows lasting only up to six months. Again, this is due to the material quality and the pillow losing its shape. Foam pillows come next, again due to their shape, and without proper management can last up to a year.


If you’re looking for pillows that will tend to last longer, you’ll not only have to maintain them properly with the steps mentioned above, but you’ll also need to invest in higher-quality materials. Pillows out of latex, for example, have a lifespan of two to four years. On the other hand, down pillows, and down alternative pillows can easily last up to two years.


You want to watch out for the comfort level of your pillow, and if they've started to lose shape, that's a key indicator, as well as if they are stained or begin to smell.



In the End


Cleaning your pillow helps to do many things related to your health. First, it helps to give you a good night's sleep because you've eliminated all that dust, dust mites, and allergens that can cause breathing problems when you sleep. It will also help to keep your pillow fluffy as needed so you have the proper neck and head support when you sleep.