A Complete Guide on How to Wash Pillows Wet or Dry

You might think that stripping the bed, washing the sheets, and primping your pillowcases are enough, but it’s not. The job should include washing the pillows as it’s really important to get done.

Check out the complete guide on how to wash pillows below for your ultimate reference.

How to Wash Pillows

How to Wash Pillows
Photo by Deconovo on Unsplash

Machine-washable pillows

Prepare these supplies:

  • Laundry detergent
  • Stain remover

Follow these steps:

Check the care instructions

Before you start, make sure that your pillows are indeed machine-washable because some of them are not. Some manufacturers also include the proper ways on how to clean your pillows like what cycle to run, temperature water to use, and so on.

Treat the stains on the pillows

If there are some stains on your pillows, you should treat them first before washing them. To do this, you can use an enzyme-based stain remover which is good to break down the stains but doesn’t damage the softness of the fabric.

You can follow the instructions, but in general, you just have to spray the cleaning agent into the stains, then let it sit for around 15 minutes before tossing the pillows into the washing machine.

Place the pillows in the machine

Once you are sure that the stains are treated properly, place the pillows in the washing machine. If you have a front-loading machine, it’s the best option to wash pillows since they don’t agitate them too much.

However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do so with top-loaders. Place the pillows vertically in the top-loading washing machine so they won’t get wrapped around the spindle.

Some of the pillows can be washed on their own which you can check on the care instructions. If it’s not allowed to do so, you can wash the pillows with other stuff like towels.

Start washing the pillows

As mentioned before, you should check the care instructions for the pillows that will tell you the right ways to wash them. Most of the pillows can be washed in a gentle cycle and cold or warm water, but it’s a wiser idea to always double-check.

If you don’t find clear care instructions on your pillows, always use a gentle cycle and cool water to wash them. It’s considered the safest option to wash the pillows.

Run a rinse cycle if necessary

Remove the pillows from the washing machine and it still feels soapy, you can run a second rinse cycle to finish the process. To avoid this, using less detergent is recommended.

Hand-wash-only pillows

Prepare these supplies:

  • Laundry detergent
  • Stain remover

Follow these steps:

Check the care instructions

If your pillows are made of latex, foam, and buckwheat, you can’t really wash them in the machine. That being said, always check the care instructions whether you can toss them into the washing machine or not.

Wash the cover

If your pillows come with covers, check them out first. The covers are sometimes machine-washable even if the pillows are not. Remove the covers and toss them into the washing machine if the care instructions allow you to do so.

If you can only hand-wash the covers, wash them together with the pillows.

Treat the stains

Check the stains on the pillows, and handle them with the stain remover. Spray the cleaning agent into the stains and let it sit for around 15 minutes.

Wash the pillows

Before you start washing, check the care instructions on whether you have to use cold or warm water. Once you are sure, soak the pillows in the water and massage them gently with detergent for a few minutes. Rinse the pillows once they are clean enough to remove the soapy residue completely.

Dry-clean-only pillows

Prepare these supplies:

  • Vacuum
  • Clean cloth
  • Stain remover

Follow these steps:

Check the care instructions

There are some pillows that literally can’t get wet, like the memory foam pillows. If yours are the dry-cleaning only, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get the fresh ones. Again, the care instruction will tell you more about this.

Wash the cover

Check the care instruction whether the cover of the pillows can be washed in the machine or not. Pillow covers are mostly made more durable so you can treat them differently from the pillow itself. If it’s not machine-washable, get the job done with your hands.

Treat the stains

Even if your pillows can’t get wet, they are still able to handle some stain remover. Spray the cleaning agent into the stains directly and leave it for around 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can also spray a small amount of luke water and rub gently with a soft cloth.

Vacuum the pillow

Since you can’t actually wash dry-clean-only pillows, you can vacuum them instead. Vacuuming the pillows can be a good way to clean up the dirt and grime which has been built up in your pillows over time.

Use a small vacuum attachment like the upholstery attachment to get the job done. Shake the pillows every so often.

(Read also: Gas Fireplace Cleaning Guide | DIY Home Maintenance)

How to keep the pillows clean longer

The easiest answer is, to use a pillow cover in addition to the pillowcase. They work really well to protect your pillows from dirt and keep them in a good shape in long run at the same time.

On the maintenance side, regularly change your pillowcase and make sure that you flip the pillows every time you make the bed. These simple steps will totally let the pillows give the best performance for you.

For further care, you can also bring your pillows out and place them under sun exposure. Sun exposure can help to kill bacteria in a natural way. However, you still need to check the care instructions since some materials are not safe for sunning like latex pillows.

The deep cleaning steps above are recommended to get done every 3 months or 4 times a year. Some experts recommend doing it on a seasonal basis. You can reduce the frequency of deep cleaning if you use a pillow protector, twice a year is enough.

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