Updated at: 16-08-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

You want your pillow to be as germ-free as possible because you sleep on it every night. This does not only apply to the pillowcase. Your pillows, mattress, and mattress topper should all receive regular attention in addition to your bed linens and comforters. It is recommended that pillows be washed two to four times a year (about every four months) in order to extend their lifespan. It’s important to remember that not all pillows are the same. Down, fiberfill, and solid foam are all different.

However, while most garments may be washed in a machine, there are a few that require dry cleaning, require front loading washing machines to be used, or simply require spot treatment. Finally, you don’t want anything that is a pain to clean. This tutorial by Carolyn Forte, the Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, is a good place to start if you can’t find step-by-step instructions or need additional assistance on how to wash pillows.

How to Wash Down and Fiberfill Pillows in the Washer

You’ve come to the right place: Most down and fiberfill pillows can be washed in the washing machine, making them a convenient option for frequent washing. Keep the washer balanced by washing two pillows at a time, ensuring a thorough clean. The ideal option is a front- or top-loading machine that does not have an agitator (the huge spindle in the centre of some machines). Place the pillows in the tub vertically if you must use an agitator-style top loader; this will help protect them from being harmed by the agitation.

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It should go without saying that you should always read the care label on your pillow and follow the instructions properly. Use this step-by-step guidance if you can’t find the instructions or snipped off the tag.

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  1. Add an extra cold water rinse and spin cycle to the gentle cycle and use warm water.
  2. You can add a small bit of detergent, such as Tide, to the water.
  3. To dry the pillows, use a low-heat tumble dryer and fluff and turn them frequently. Add a few Nellie’s dryer balls to your pillows to keep them plump. Hand-fluffing and lump-breaking should be done a few times during the drying cycle, rather than waiting until the end.

How to Wash Solid Foam Pillows

Unlike down pillows, latex and memory foam pillows cannot be washed in the washing machine. Dust mites can’t live in foam pillows, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean them regularly. You should always read the pillow’s tag for washing instructions, or follow Forte’s cleaning technique here:

  1. Make sure to follow the instructions on the care tag when washing your pillow cases or covers. Instead of hand washing, use a washing machine with a regular or casual cycle and hot water to remove the care tag from the pillows and duvet covers before washing them. Add a detergent, like Tide with the Good Housekeeping Seal.
  2. Vacuum both sides of the pillow, or put it in the dryer for 20 minutes on the no-heat or air-only setting.
  3. Make use of a moderate sudsy washing solution to clean any contaminated spots. Use a moist cloth to lightly rinse. Because wet foam is prone to tearing, use caution when mixing the water and soap.)
  4. Before putting the pillow back on the bed or couch, let it air dry fully.

How to Know When You Should Replace Your Pillows

Even if you are meticulous about cleaning your pillows, you will ultimately have to replace them. Toss them if they don’t spring back into shape after being folded in half, according to Forte’s simple rule. It’s also a good idea to replace your pillows if they have a strange odor even after a thorough washing. Use liners under your pillowcases and wash your pillows every four to six months to extend their lifespan.

How to Spot Clean a Pillow

There are many pillows that cannot be washed in a washing machine. Wet pillows, whether feather or memory foam, just don’t work. Even if your pillow gets a spot of ink, food, or drink on it, you don’t want to take it to a dry cleaning every time you spill something over it.

A trip to the cleaners is unnecessary because there is spot cleaning. You may prevent ruining your pillows in the washing machine by learning how to spot clean them. Then, let’s talk about how to do it.

Stain Removers

The spots on your pillow cover can be removed with a variety of natural stain removers. Stain removers can be dangerous if used incorrectly, causing the stain to set in or creating a new one.

To avoid wetting the fill, try angling your pillows when rinsing them so that just the cover gets wet. To get the water to drain into the sink, try slanting the pillow downward.

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Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent because of the acid in it. There are a couple of ways to use lemons to spot clean a cushion.

  • Use an old cloth or sponge to gently dab the stain until it’s gone with one part lemon juice and two parts warm water.
  • Pour salt over the discoloration after squeezing a lemon directly over the surface. Repeatedly blot the juice and salt to remove the discoloration. Rinse with water to remove any remaining dirt.

Dish Soap

A decent dishwashing detergent is very effective in removing grease stains. Blot the stain with a wet white towel after applying a little amount of Dawn or other dish soap. The soap may need to sit on the stain for several hours before it can be completely removed by rinsing only the stain with very little water.

White Vinegar and Baking Soda

Even stains that have been there for a long time can be removed with vinegar, which is another acidic substance. To remove stubborn stains:

  1. White vinegar can be used to remove the discoloration.
  2. To remove the discoloration, make a paste of 12 vinegar and 12 baking soda.
  3. The paste should be rinsed off as soon as the stain is removed.

Upholstery Cleaners

Pillows can be cleaned with upholstery cleaners (also referred to as furniture vacuums).

Dry Vacuuming

You can vacuum your pillow without using water if you want to get rid of dust or dry dirt. It is possible to remove brown or yellow streaks caused by dirt that hasn’t really discolored your cushions by vacuuming the area. To get rid of dust mites from the surface of your pillow, use a dry vacuum cleaner.

Wet Vacuuming

Hot water or steam can be used to clean upholstery with some vacuums. For pillows with fillings that can’t be wet, scrubbing the stains with hot water and upholstery wash that is quickly sucked back into the vacuum is a terrific option.

The drying process is complete if you take care to eliminate any excess moisture and fluff up your pillows after steam cleaning. Also, check the care label on your pillow to see if it can withstand the heat.

What Pillow Types Can I Wash?

To make things easier, we’ve put up a list of the pillows that can and can’t be washed.

Throw in the washer-friendly pillows by using:

  • Down comforters
  • Pillows that don’t use down
  • Pillows made of goose or duck feathers

Feather pillows can be tricky to clean, and some require dry cleaning only.

Pillows that can’t be washed usually have the following items on the list:

  • Pillows made from memory foam are extremely comfortable.
  • buckwheat pillows
  • Wedge cushions
  • Pillows with contours

However, certain shredded memory foam pillows can be washed. To learn more about how to clean memory foam pillows, check out our guide.

Because of this, you’ll want to think about how much time and money you’ll need for your pillow. Buckwheat pillows are a good option if you prefer an organic pillow over a pillow that can be washed.


Can I dry clean my pillow?

You’ll have to check the care directions on your pillow to see if it can be dry cleaned. Dry cleaning pillows that can’t get wet, such feather and foam pillows, is usually possible. It’s possible that the pillow’s care label will include instructions on how to dry clean it, if it can be done at all.

Is my pillow machine washable?

You should be able to determine from the care label whether or not you can machine wash or hand wash a pillow. The label should also tell you whether to use a soft or a spin cycle, hot or cold water, or a regular or mild detergent, among other options.

Some general guidelines apply if your pillow doesn’t have a label. Suede and silk, for example, cannot be washed in a washing machine. Bead or sequin cushions, for example, should never be washed. Additionally, certain materials like as feathers and foam should never be exposed to water.

Will a pillow protector help keep my pillow clean?

Help keep your pillows clean by using pillow protectors. There is a distinct difference between a pillow protector and a pillowcase. When it comes to bedding, pillowcases play an important role in keeping you cozy and matching your sheets. Even though they don’t zip up and aren’t normally waterproof, pillowcases can offer some protection for your pillow.

When you use a pillow protector, the entire surface of your pillow is shielded from allergens such as dust, sweat, and oil. Pillow protectors that are waterproof are very common. You can keep your pillow clean and dry for a long time by using a pillow protector underneath your pillowcase.

What’s the pillow material with the easiest maintenance?

Some pillows can be machine washed if you don’t want to deal with spot cleaning or dry cleaning. Cotton and fiberfill pillows, for example, can be washed on the gentle cycle and dried on low or no-heat settings in the washing machine. However, down pillows can also be washed in the bathtub or in the washing machine without an agitator, but you should always dry them either on the no-heat option or by lying them out. ”

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Avoid feather pillows and foam pillows if you want machine-washable cushions. Feathers can get permanently clumped when exposed to water. As a result, foam absorbs water as though it were a sponge, which can lead to structural damage and the growth of mold or mildew.

Should I use cold or warm water to spot clean?

Depending on the stain’s chemical composition, the temperature at which you should use water to remove it varies. When it comes to removing particular stains, the colder the water, the better.

  • Certain meals, beverages, and water-based paint are better served by cold water.
  • With synthetic textiles, hot water works better than cold water for removing stains.

Unless you are certain of the stain’s origin and the fabric’s composition, the best method for stain removal is to start with cold water. Start with the warm water and see if it helps.

Bottom Line

Stains can be removed even if your pillows aren’t washable. Your soiled pillow coverings can be restored to their former glory with just a little time and care!

Spot clean any filthy places on the bed or the couch by using a damp cloth to wipe them.