Essential Green Guide: How to Wash Pillows

Essential Green Guide: How to Wash Pillows

Good luck having sweet dreams about your dirty pillow. From drool to sweat to dust mites, your pillows can collect a lot in a short time, meaning you’re literally putting your head down on a gross bed of germs every night. So, how can you get your recommended eight hours of shut-eye without suffering nightmares about the bacteria creeping around your face?

It’s true that most of us are in the habit of regularly washing sheets and pillowcases as part of our laundry routine, but the same probably can’t be said for our pillows. So, taking the time to wash these bedroom essentials is a good call for maintaining hygiene, preventing acne, and prolonging your pillow’s lifespan. Whether you’re in the mood for some pre-spring cleaning or simply adding pillows to your household cleaning chores, read on to explore the best eco-friendly methods for washing the pillows in your bedroom so they’re as fresh and clean as your sheets.

How often should you wash pillows? 

Most experts recommend washing your pillows at least once every six months. However, if you have pets in your bed or are prone to sweating, you probably want to wash your bedroom pillows every three months. You can also spot clean, regularly inspecting your pillows when you wash your bedding. 

How to Wash Pillows 101 

Follow this step-by-step guide for washing pillows to get started. You can use these steps for feather, microfiber, cotton pillows, and other pillow types. 

Step 1: Remove pillowcases and protectors 

Start by removing any pillowcases or protective covers from your pillows. These usually need to be washed separately. See our guide on washing bedding here

Step 2: Check the care label 

Before washing your pillows, always check the care label for specific instructions and recommendations from the brand. This label will tell you more about the material, filling, and basic washing instructions for your pillows. 

Step 3: Choose eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets

Add a mild but effective hypoallergenic detergent. SaltyLama’s eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets are ridiculously easy to use. For a bulky load consisting of a few pillows and a towel or two, just toss in one sheet — there are two strips to a sheet — where the liquid or powdered chemicals used to go and add your items. The sheet will dissolve and wash your pillows as thoroughly as your old detergent did.

To save money and ensure you never run out of detergent, subscribe and save. Just schedule when you want your order. You can cancel, pause, or skip an order on your subscription whenever you want.

Step 4: Pre-treat stains (if necessary) 

If your pillows have any visible stains, like yellow sweat marks, you can spot treat them before washing. To do this, use a mild detergent or stain remover and gently dab the stained areas with a clean cloth or sponge. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before laundering like normal. 

Step 5: Load the washing machine 

Place your pillows in the washing machine, making sure to balance the load by adding a couple of smaller items like towels or washcloths. This helps prevent the pillows from getting lopsided — and creating that banging noise — during the cycle. Don’t worry, your washing machine isn’t taking off for outer space — it just needs a few extra items to balance the weight. 

Step 6: Choose the right cycle 

Select a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine. Use cold or lukewarm water, as hot water can damage certain pillow materials, especially down or memory foam. Plus, it’s a common misconception that hot water cleans better — it actually doesn’t, and it can damage your materials while running up your power bill. 

Step 7: Rinse thoroughly 

After the washing cycle is complete, run an additional rinse cycle to ensure all detergent residue is thoroughly removed from your pillows. Since pillows are much thicker than what you typically wash, this helps prevent lingering soap from irritating your skin. 

Step 8: Dry properly 

When it comes to drying pillows, there are a few options depending on the type of pillow and its care instructions: 

  • Air-drying: If possible, air-dry your pillows outdoors on a clothesline or drying rack. The fresh air and sunlight will help help kill bacteria and freshen the pillows.
  • Tumble drying: If you prefer using a dryer, use a low heat setting and add wool dryer balls to help fluff the pillows. Stop the drying cycle periodically to fluff and redistribute the filling for even drying. 

Step 9: Fluff and shape  

Once your pillows are completely dry, give them another fluff by hand to fully restore their shape and loft. Gently massage the material to redistribute it evenly. 

Step 10: Replace pillowcases and protectors 

Once your pillows are clean and dry, replace the pillowcases or protective covers and enjoy a fresh, clean bed! Want to know how to clean throw pillows? Check out our guide on cleaning throw pillows and other living room fabrics. 

By following this comprehensive guide to washing pillows, you’ll be able to enjoy a clean and fresh for a comfortable night’s sleep without worrying about where you’re resting your head. And when you wake up, be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to stay up to date on our latest articles and to receive exclusive deals on SaltyLama Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Sheets. 

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