How to Wash a Pillow? (Yes, You Should)

You are probably already washing your pillowcases and sheets every week or so and think that your bed is hygienic and free of dust mites and other germs and allergens. But the truth is that you need to deep clean your mattresses and your pillows regularly too.

Experts recommend that the pillows should be washed at least twice a year and more often if you have dust allergies or other respiratory and skin issues.

If left unwashed, your pillows can become infested with dust mites feeding on your dead skin cells, as well as filled with mite droppings, bacteria, your dead skin cells as well as sweat, saliva, oil, dirt, and a lot of other gross stuff which can be affected your sleep and your health.

The same goes for mattresses, which need to be deep cleaned at least once every six months.

Washing pillows depends on the type of pillows you use. In general, most of them can safely be machine washed on a gentle cycle, unless their labels say “dry clean only.”

Here are some tips for cleaning and washing pillows:

Air your pillows

To get as much dust and other gross stuff out of your pillows, you should fluff them daily and let them air out at least once a month on a clothesline for several hours in the sun or breeze. If you are using latex or foam pillows, you should run them in a no-heat cycle in the tumble dryer.

Wash them on a gentle cycle

It would be best if you washed your pillows at least once every six months on the gentle cycle of your washing machine. Check whether your pillows are machine washable and if they don’t have a “dry cleaning only” mark, then pop them into the washing machine one by one or two by two if your machine has sufficient capacity.

Use a stain remover on the stained area before washing the pillowcase. Use a digestant spot cleanser for blood or saliva stains or other bodily fluids, and use a light soap and some water on a moist cloth or sponge to remove stains on foam or latex pillows.

Keep in mind that agitators in top-loading washing machines can be too tough on the pillows, so wash them with the shortest or gentlest setting possible. A front-loading machine at a laundromat is an alternative.

Washing pillows according to their fills

If your pillows have a feather or down fills, then use mild powder detergent and wash them on a gentle and warm cycle. Liquid detergent can leave sticky residues and clumps if not rinsed properly.

As for foam and latex pillows, you will have to skip the washing and steaming altogether. To keep them sanitary, use suitable removable, washable pillow covers instead. These pillows cannot withstand severe agitation in a washing machine. Instead, you can use a vacuum cleaner to get as much dust out of the pillows as possible.

Polyester pillows can be washed with very little mild detergent on a gentle cycle with warm water. You can wash several of them at a time.

Pillows with buckwheat hulls need to be emptied of their filling before you can wash the casing with cold water and a mild laundry detergent. To sanitize the buckwheat hulls, spread them on a sheet or in a bowl and let them sit in the sun outside.

Let them dry completely

After washing, you should always allow the pillows air dry entirely. By doing so, we can stop the spread of potentially dangerous microorganisms like mold and mildew. Tumble dryers with automatic settings may not dry the inside of the pillow if it is damp. That’s why drier drying of the cushions on a low heat setting for an hour is recommended. We recommend using dryer balls or clean tennis balls to reduce the likelihood of clumping.

If you are drying feathers or down pillows, you should use an air-dry no heat setting of the dryer and add dryer balls in the drum.

If the season is suitable, you can hang your pillows on a clothesline or rack and let them air dry in the sun and air outside.

Always check the pillows for any leftover dampness before making the bed and using them.

Protect your pillows

You should use good quality pillow covers to protect your pillows from your sweat, saliva, skin cells, oils from your head and creams, and others. It is recommended that you wash the pillow covers as often as you wash the pillowcases in order to enjoy cleaner and healthier pillows for longer.

Replace the pillows periodically

No matter how well you care for your pillows, it is essential that you replace your pillows at least once every two to six years, as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. Some types of pillows can last longer and can be replaced less often than others.

Suppose you have allergies, asthma, eczema, or other health problems which are worsened by dust and allergens. In that case, you should consider replacing your pillows even more often or using hypoallergenic pillow covers.

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