How to Wash a Pillow

Washing your pillow regularly can contribute to high-quality sleep and reduce buildup from dirt, body oils, and allergens. Proper pillow care also means you can replace your pillow less often.

We’ll cover the importance of sleeping with a clean pillow, how often your pillow needs cleaning, and everything you need to know about how to wash a pillow.

The Importance of a Clean Pillow

Your pillow, along with your mattress, is one of the most important factors in creating a comfortable and healthy sleep space. The best pillows provide support for your head and keep your neck aligned with the rest of your spine.

Even if you regularly wash your pillowcase with the rest of your bedding, it’s also important to clean your actual pillow as it may collect unwanted dirt and allergens. This includes:

  • Sweat
  • Saliva
  • Body oils
  • Dead skin cells
  • Dust mites
  • Pet hair and dander

A clean pillow is better for your skin and also reduces your exposure to irritating allergens. This is especially important if you’re prone to allergies. Itchy eyes, a runny nose, and other allergy symptoms can disturb your sleep.

By cleaning it frequently, you can extend the lifespan of your pillow. Regular cleaning removes dirt and oils that may otherwise damage your pillow’s fill material.

Additionally, you can further protect your pillow with a pillow protector. This will prevent stains from reaching the actual pillow and allergens from building up inside of it.

How Often Should You Wash Your Pillow?

Pillowcases need frequent washing about every 2 weeks. On the other hand, we recommend washing your actual pillow once every 6 months. Certain conditions may require more frequent cleaning. Check the label on your pillow to see how to properly care for it.

What Factors Contribute to Buildup on Your Pillow?

Depending on your lifestyle and where you live, you may need to wash your pillow more often than every 6 months. We’ll explore the most common factors that can contribute to buildup on your pillow.

  • Skin and Hair Conditions: Certain medical conditions cause you to shed excess dead skin cells or body oils onto your pillow, including psoriasis, dandruff, and eczema.
  • Pets: A dog or cat can make an excellent bedtime companion. However, when you sleep with your pet, more hair, pet dander, and saliva can gather onto your pillow.
  • Eating in Bed: Stray crumbs, spills, and greasy hands can also contribute to buildup on your pillowcase and stain your pillow.
  • Allergies: Common allergy symptoms include a runny nose and frequent sneezing. These symptoms don’t just interfere with your sleep, they also create excess body fluids that can seep into your pillow.
  • Climate: If you live in a warm or humid climate, you’re more likely to sweat at night. Your pillow can absorb the moisture from frequent sweating, leading to stains and discoloration.

How to Wash a Pillow

Frequent cleaning can extend the lifespan of your pillow and create a healthier environment for high-quality sleep. If you’re wondering how to wash a pillow, we’ll go over every step for proper pillow care.

In the Washing Machine

Many modern pillows are built to withstand the washing machine. This makes cleaning your pillow as easy as throwing in a load of laundry.

Before you get started, carefully read the product label and any care instructions that came with your pillow. Verify that the washing machine is suitable for your specific model.

Next, check for instructions in terms of temperature and which cycle to use. Many machine-washable pillows require avoiding bleach and using the delicate cycle.

By Hand

Not all pillows can hold up in the washing machine. Certain materials such as memory foam or down require more gentle cleaning. Consult the care label on your pillow. If your pillow cannot be machine washed, you’ll need to clean it by hand to avoid damaging the fill material.

Make sure you have everything you need before you get started. Your supplies may depend on your specific pillow model but should generally include:

  • A tub or sink basin
  • Mild laundry soap
  • A sponge or cloth

With your supplies gathered, follow the steps below to clean your pillow by hand.

Fill your tub or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Avoid using hot water as it may damage the fill material.

  1. Place your pillow in the tub or sink. Knead and squeeze the pillow so that it thoroughly absorbs the soapy water.
  2. If your pillow has any stains, gently dab them with detergent and massage the area to release the stain.
  3. Drain your tub or sink and refill with clean lukewarm water. Knead and squeeze your pillow again to rinse.
  4. Continue until the water that comes out of your pillow appears clean. Depending on how dirty your pillow is, you may need to drain and refill your tub or sink a second or third time.
  5. Once clean, squeeze out as much excess water from your pillow as you can.
  6. Place your pillow in a well-ventilated area to dry. Direct sunlight or an electric fan can also help your pillow dry faster.

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