How To Wash Pillows

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Guide to Washing a Pillow

Having a clean pillow is essential for a happy, healthy night’s sleep. Although most people wash bedding and pillow cases on a regular basis, pillows often get forgotten about, and left to collect dust.

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How Often to Clean Pillows

Ideally, pillows should be cleaned every six months to prevent mould and bacteria. Washing pillows will also get rid of any odours, stains and dust.

Before Cleaning

Before cleaning pillows, be sure to carefully read the cleaning instructions. Some filling varieties may state they are dry clean or hand-wash only, and going against this advice can cause damage.

How Long Does It Take?

Washing a pillow can be quite a lengthy process, because it takes a lot of care. On top of this, pillows can take a while to dry out naturally, so it’s best to set aside a couple of days for the whole process.
white pillows on bed with grey headboard
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Can You Wash a Pillow in the Washing Machine?

The majority of pillows (down and synthetic) can be washed in the washing machine on a low heat and gentle cycle. It is advised to use just a small amount of liquid detergent, as powder detergent can leave a residue behind. To ensure pillows stay protected throughout the washing process, place them in pillowcases during the cycle. If there is enough room in the washing machine, putting two pillows in at a time can help to balance out the load.

Washing Foam, Silk and Latex Pillows

For more delicate pillow fillings like foam, silk and latex, care instructions normally advise against washing in a machine. This is because the heat and cycle motion can cause damage. Foam and latex pillows should generally only be wiped clean with a damp cloth, and left to air dry. However, if you decide to hand wash, use lukewarm or cool water and a small amount of detergent, making sure not to wring the pillow out. Also, bear in mind that foam pillows become especially heavy when wet, which makes them likely to tear.
white pillows on bed
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Drying Feather, Down or Synthetic Pillow

Feather, down and synthetic filling: After washing, most feather, down and synthetic pillows can be placed in the tumble dryer on a low heat setting, but it’s best to double check the pillow’s care label beforehand. Adding a couple of rubber drying balls can help the pillows to dry, and keep them plump and fluffy. After tumble drying, leave the pillows in a warm place, like an airing cupboard for a day or so, until they are completely dry. Not allowing pillows to dry out completely can cause damp.

Drying a Foam, Silk or Latex Pillow

Tumble drying foam, silk and latex filled pillows is not advised as they need to be treated very gently. After carefully washing, these pillows can take a long time to dry, so it’s best to press excess water out with a towel, then leave them outside on a warm day (not in direct sunlight) or in an airing cupboard for a couple of days. Having spare pillows to sleep with during the washing and drying process is recommended.
white pillows on bed with blue headboard
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Getting Pillows White Again

Machine washing may be enough to get your pillows white again. However, for more stubborn stains, try spot treating with spray stain remover. If the pillows are quite far gone, you can mix a cup of vinegar and washing soda in with your wash - followed by a hot wash with no detergent.

When to Replace Your Pillows?

If your pillows are stained beyond repair, even with the above methods, it may be time to replace them. If they’ve become lumpy and uncomfortable, that may also be a sign to get a new set. Take a look at our range and read our guide on bedding or pillow guide to find out more.