You might have mastered the art of washing your sheets and duvets, but what about your pillow? Don’t let it be an afterthought, after all it’s what supports you as you float off into the land of dreams. But how do you wash a pillow? You might think you’re safe using a clean pillowcase, but that can only offer so much protection; unwanted visitors can still find their way onto the pillow beneath. Used daily, it’s not surprising that your pillow ends up harbouring not-so-nice things after a while. Before you grab your pillow and throw it into the washing machine, it’s a good idea to check if it can even be washed this way. Do you know what it’s made of? Take a minute to read this guide on how to wash your pillow and help prolong its longevity.
First, check that your pillow doesn’t have the “do not wash” symbol. This could mean it’s dry-clean only and you wouldn’t want to ruin it. Front-loading machines are a lot gentler on pillows than machines that are loaded from the top, so if you do have a top-loader, use the gentlest cycle possible if you want your pillows to lead a longer, fluffier life. Another tip is to wash two pillows at once so that the circulation makes the cleaning process more effective and balances out the machine.
Luckily, many types of pillows and their fillings are washing machine-friendly although the instructions can differ. Once you know the type of filling of your pillow, you’re ready to wash your pillow.
Down and fibrefill: The most common type of pillow and the easiest to wash. Not only can it be put through the washing machine, it can also be tumble-dried. So you can use it again the same day – no need to use an old pillow until your favourite one has dried.
Feather: Can I even wash feather pillows? It’s a myth that you can’t put feather-filled pillows in the washing machine, just make sure the cycle is set to gentle. Also check the seams are intact – it’s no fun picking soggy feathers out of a washing machine afterwards. Feather pillows can also be tumble-dried or simply left out in the sun to dry naturally. Do make sure they’re completely dry before placing them on your bed again.
Polyester: This type is also super easy to clean. It simply requires a cool or warm delicate wash in the machine and then a few minutes in the tumble dryer on a lower setting. A good tip is to place two dryer balls or tennis balls (inside socks) into the dryer to help break up the filling in the pillow and ensure it dries faster.
Memory foam: If you’re wondering how to wash a foam pillow, the answer is: not in the washing machine. Unfortunately, this type of pillow also can’t be steamed. The cover is often removable and can go in the washing machine, but the actual pillow needs to be washed by hand, preferably in cold, soapy water. Cold Power Liquid is perfect for this. Afterwards, squeeze as much water out as possible and pop it in the tumble dryer on a low-heat cycle for up to 20 minutes.
If you spill something on your pillow, it goes without saying that you should wash it right away. A good rule of thumb is to wash it at least every four to six months and to wash your pillowcases every two weeks along with your sheets and other bedding.
It’s always a good idea to air out or fluff your pillow occasionally too. Fluffing helps to restore your pillow’s shape and removes dust. You can also hang your pillow outside to air once a month. If this isn’t feasible – maybe you have revengeful birds nearby – then throw your pillow in the dryer, but make sure you choose the no-heat cycle.