Pillow Care 101: Best Guide to Get Fresh Pillows for Better Sleep Now!

While my pillows were excellent in keeping my head and neck support, I was always confused on how I should clean them. Not only that, but how long do they last and when should I replace it? This wasn't something we learned in school, after all.

With so many types of pillows, it can get confusing on how you should keep them lasting long. I'm sure you're also wondering the same thing, which is why I did my research. So read on as I show you everything you need to know about pillow care!

How To Wash The Pillows

Contents

Pillow's Life
The Real Lifespan of Your Pillow
Wash Pillowcase
STEP 1
Washing Pillowcases
Best Ways to Wash Your Pillows
STEP 2
Airing Your Pillows
How to Clean The Pillow
STEP 3
How to Wash or Clean Your Pillow?
Washing Your Pillows
STEP 4
Drying the Pillow Well
How to Clean Your Throw Pillows
Clean Your Throw Pillows
Protect Your Pillows
Tips on Making Your Pillow Last Longer
Caring Pillows
Bonus
General House Cleaning Services Reviews
Caring Your Pillows
Frequently Asked Questions

The Real Lifespan of Your Pillow 


Lifespan of Pillows

Did you know that you need to replace your pillow once it hits a year old? With proper maintenance (and provided it is made of quality materials), it can last for up to two years at most.

How will you know it's time to replace it?

  • When there are signs of foul odor
  • When you see mold or mildew that can't be cleaned off
  • If its elasticity began to wear down (it doesn't bounce back after folding)
  • If you notice any of these signs, then it's time to replace your pillow.

Unfortunately, not a lot of us are able to replace our pillows due to lack of time, money, or its sentimental value. But, you can still get your money's worth with your old one by:

  • ​Use its stuffing as decoration or packing material
  • ​Donate the pillow to animal shelters or use the stuffing as pet bedding
lifespan of pillow - cleaning pillow

When to Clean Your Pillow?

  • Your white pillows start to turn yellow or have stains
  • You spilled something or start to have allergies after waking up in the morning (from pet dander or dust)
  • It starts to emit a smell
Layla Parker

Editor's note 

While it isn't necessary to wash them every day, it's best to clean them every three to six months. As for your pillowcases, that's a different story.


I'll be talking about the four main steps of cleaning a pillow, starting off by washing your pillowcases. Then, the next three steps will focus all on the pillow, from airing it out until drying and placing it back in the bedroom!

STEP 1
Washing Pillowcases


First, washing pillowcases are different from cleaning the actual pillows. Since these covers are exposed to the bedroom air and our skin, it's best to wash them more frequently.

You should clean them separately from your pillow to avoid the dust and oils from mixing together.

When to Clean Your Pillows

Follow these steps to washing your pillowcases:

  • 1
    Use liquid dish soap and a stiff brush to remove any dirt and residue. If ever there's body oil or other pesky stains that won't disappear, then add a splash of vinegar on the stain and brush away, which can remove most of the discoloration.
  • 2
    Throw the pillowcase in the washing machine and set it on a hot cycle, which will keep it fresh. Use a gentle or mild detergent when washing.
  • 3
    Take it to the dryer to dry before placing it back on the pillow.
Layla Parker

Editor's note 

I recommend that you wash or change your pillowcases at least once a week. If you're more prone to acne or breakouts, giving your pillowcases a deep cleaning every two to three days will help lessen that. You'll know when to throw the cases away once they start to yellow and incur permanent stains.

STEP 2
Airing Your Pillows


Airing Your Pillows Before Washing

To air out a pillow is to help freshen it out by placing it outdoors and letting it get some fresh air, which gives your pillow a clean and crisp scent.

Here are the steps to follow:

  • 1
    Hang your pillows on a clothesline or clean chair outside your home. For those who live in colder climates, you can "air out" your pillow by throwing it in a dryer and letting it tumble for 15 minutes on medium heat.
  • 2
    Make sure that you don't put it under direct sunlight! Air it out during overcast days or under the shade, as prolonged exposure would deteriorate the natural fibers, shortening its lifespan.
  • 3
    Once you're done, fluff your pillows daily to keep its shape redistributing the filling evenly while preventing dust collection.
Layla Parker

Editor's note

While this isn't absolutely necessary (you can skip this step and go on to the next!), I still recommend to air out pillows on a clothesline or a clean chair once a month.

STEP 3
How to Wash or Clean Your Pillow?


Then, washing your pillow at least every three months is essential to get rid of excess oil, sweat, moisture, or dust it incurs while you sleep. After all, you spend at least six hours using it every night, which is why it's essential for your health, too.

But, there is no "one cleaning method" for all pillows. Because of the many different materials, there are also different ways of washing. Here are the details guides to wash them:

How to Wash or Clean Your Pillows

Down, Feather, and Cotton

For these types of material, I recommend that you use a washing machine. Follow these steps:

  • 1
    Remove the pillowcase and check for any rips or holes (sew them before washing)
  • 2
    Place two pillows in the washing machine, using low-sudsing laundry detergent (liquid form to avoid residue and buildup). Pour less detergent than you would generally use for clothes to avoid having to rinse repeatedly.
  • 3
    Set the washing machine to the delicate cycle, using hot water as much as possible. But, with down or feather pillows, use warm or cold water to avoid damaging the feathers.
  • 4
    Rinse and use an extra spin cycle just in case, to remove any soap residue and get rid of excess moisture.
Layla Parker

Editor's note 

When washing these pillows, you'll notice that while they're a bit easier to clean. The feathers may cause a problem on drying and sticking out. Pillow protectors can help keep the feathers in, and you can use a tennis ball in the dryer to plump feathers.


Memory Foam, Latex, and Bamboo

These types of pillows shouldn't be machine-washed, but hand-washed. You don't need to wash the entire to treat stains in specific areas. I'll show the different steps on how to clean them, depending on if you're focusing on spills, odor, or stains.

Clean Spills

  • 1
    Remove the pillowcase and wash it according to the instruction. As for the pillow, use absorbent towels as soon as possible, blotting it to avoid damaging the foam structure.
  • 2
    Dab the spilled area with a mild detergent and wet cloth, using cold water.
  • 3
    Once the spill is cleaned, blot using a dry towel and air dry the pillow.

Remove Odor

  • 1
    Mist the pillow with fabric freshening spray, then sprinkles baking soda over it. Let it sit for half an hour.
  • 2
    ​Vacuum the baking side and make sure that all powder is removed.

Remove Stains

  • 1
    Dab the stain with water and mild detergent first. If it doesn't disappear, use enzymatic cleaner and let it stay for five minutes. If you don't have an enzymatic cleaner, then a vinegar solution (one part vinegar and one part water) will do.
  • 2
    ​Blot the area and do not brush it. Continue to blot until the stain is gone and let it air dry.
Layla Parker

Editor's note 

Take note that you should NOT place this kind of pillow in a washing machine, nor can you submerge it in water. This will lose the filling's density and conforming features. The only way to clean it is through blotting stains away and ensuring that its pillowcase is clean at all times.


Polyester Pillows

Just like cotton, polyester pillows are best cleaned through a washing machine. You can wash these once or twice a year unless there has been a spill or it starts to become smelly.

  • 1
    Place two pillows in the washing machine, adding towels if needed (to balance and allow smooth operation). Use cold or warm water, only placing two teaspoons of mild detergent.​​​​
  • 2
    Set the washing machine on the gentle cycle. Once complete, add another rinse cycle to get rid of all detergent.
Layla Parker

Editor's note 

You can also hand wash in a deep sink or bathtub using cold water and small amounts of detergent. Submerge the pillows and let them swish in the water. While doing so, squeeze them gently to distribute the detergent around the filling. Rinse until there is no more soap and press the pillows to remove excess water.


You'll notice that polyester pillows are more flexible when washing. But, they should still be treated gently to prevent it from losing its shape.


Buckwheat Pillows

Buckwheat pillows are a bit different from washing, as the hulls shouldn't be submerged in water or it will lose its support and shape. Because of this, you'll need to remove them from the pillow so you can wash the casing just as instructed in the previous section.

To dry buckwheat hulls to keep its freshness, follow these steps:

  • 1
    Place the hulls in a clean container, ensuring that everything fits inside. Pour it carefully.
  • 2
    Put the container and hills near the bright and sunny window for a few hours, fluffing it now and then.
Layla Parker

Editor's note 

You need to dry it for a few hours once or twice a year, either outside or by your sunny window.


​Gel Pillows

A gel pillow should be washed by hand, like those made of memory foam or bamboo material. There are different methods on how to clean this type of pillow, depending on if you want to remove stains or odor.

Remove Stains

  • 1
    Mix two cups of water and a few drops of mild dish soap, mixing until it produces an inch of bubbles on the water bowl. Add a few more drops of soap if it doesn't create bubbles. If you want to remove odor as well, add one or two tablespoons of vinegar.
  • 2
    Use a damp cloth or sponge to clean the pillow, rubbing it lightly until the stains or marks disappear. If the stain still stays, soak a cotton swab in 3% hydrogen peroxide and rub it on the stain until the stain is gone.

Remove Odor

  • 1
    Sprinkle two tablespoons of baking soda and allow it to sit on your pillow for half an hour. (If it smells so bad, place it in a plastic bag with the baking soda, leaving it for two days)
  • 2
    Vacuum the baking soda and dust using the brush attachment until it's clear from residue or powder.

Water Pillows

A washing machine is the best way to wash a water pillow. Here are the steps to follow when doing so:

  • 1
    Remove all the water from its pouch and search for any rips or seams that need to be fixed before placing it in the machine.
  • 2
    Use warm water and set the machine on the gentle cycle, either tumble drying it in low heat or air drying. If you choose to air-dry it, ensure that the pillow is 100% dry.
Layla Parker

Editor's note 

For those who don't have a washing machine, you can hand wash the pillow, following the steps like washing a pillowcase. Just make sure that you only wash the cover and remove foam inserts, if included.


You'll notice that these pillows are like washing a casing, as it has no filling (which is water you drained and will replace after).

STEP 4
Drying the Pillow Well


How to Dry Your Pillows Well

Finally, once you've washed your pillows, it's important to dry them right away! This is necessary to prevent mold and mildew from building up. But, it isn't as simple as throwing it in the dryer like what you'll usually do with clothes.

Layla Parker

Editor's note 

Drying your pillow after washing and airing it out are two different things.

  • 1
    Place two pillows in the dryer, using the low setting and letting it dry for a more extended period (about an hour) to allow both outer and interior parts to be free from moisture. This is done because, with its filling, the dryer would only detect surface moisture, leaving you with pillows that are damp inside.
  • 2
    Once it's done, check the entire pillow, fluffing it while ensuring that everything is dry before placing it back in the pillowcase.

Some extra tips to follow:

  • I also suggest that you place two tennis balls in the dryer, which helps fluff out your pillows while also removing as much moisture in it as possible.
  • If you have no tennis balls, you can also use a dry, absorbent towel.
  • Another suggestion is to sprinkle two tablespoons of baking soda over your pillow then vacuuming it after allowing it to sit for half an hour. Use the brush attachment, working in sections and ensuring that you repeat the process until you remove all traces of baking soda.

Clean Your Throw Pillows


Did you know that you can also clean your throw pillows without having to wash them? A thorough vacuuming will do fine, which is optimal if you don't have much time to clean or only want to deodorize and remove the outer residue. Follow these steps:

Cleaning Throw Pillows by Vacuum Cleaner
  • 1
    Remove your vacuum's exhaust cover and use the dusting brush (with curved wand)
  • 2
    Put your pillows inside a plastic bag, flattening it to avoid damage.
  • 3
    Place the curved wand handle inside the plastic bag, positioning the dusting brush at the cushion. Just make sure to angle the wand in a way that the plastic won't get sucked in. If you want to enrich the smell of your pillows, you can add a splash of mild fragrance in the water you use for the vacuum.
  • 4
    Now, connect your vacuum's exhaust vent and remove the cover. Blow up your plastic bag with fresh air, then redo steps 3 and 4 about three times.
Layla Parker

Editor's note 

These are best used for throw pillows, mattresses, and beddings, though it isn't best for other types of bed pillows. This method can also be used to clean your pillows, replacing the typical washing.

If you want to learn more about how to use a vacuum to clean your pillows, then this video will help you:

Tips on Making Your Pillow Last Longer


At ASleepyWolf.com, we are always researching to find the best products and methods to help people have better sleep and health. But, we aren't responsible for how long a pillow will last for if you don't care for it properly!

To lengthen the products' lifespan, here are some useful tips to follow:

Tips on Making Your Pillows Last Longer

1. Don't Iron

Do NOT iron the pillow, as this would merely flatten it out. When you begin ironing as a way to straighten creases and dry it, don't expect it to keep its shape for long.

3. Use the Right Cleaning Method

Use the correct cleaning method based on the type of pillow you have. You can refer to the list above for more specific details and steps to take.

2. Never Bleach

While bleach can whiten your pillow, it's also filled with a ton of chemicals which destroy the natural fibers. If you want both your pillow and mattress to last, then make sure to avoid using bleach when cleaning.

4. What Washing Detergent?

Use a gentle detergent that is known to be safe with your pillow and its material. Refrain from using fabric softeners or harsher washing detergents that your pillows won't be able to take.

5. Using a Pillow Protector

Just like making a soft mattress firmer and protecting it with a mattress pad, a waterproof pillow protector can keep the insides away from dust, oil buildup, and the like.

Bonus
General House Cleaning Services Reviews


General House Cleaning Services Reviews for Cleaning Pillows

If you have no time or energy to clean your bed (and entire home!), then you can opt to find general house cleaning services instead. Here are the top five best house cleaning service companies in the USA, ready to serve:

These types of cleaning companies offer a host of services to improve your home's cleanliness, such as:

  • Sweeping and mopping floors
  • Decluttering and taking out the trash
  • Vacuuming nooks and crannies in the house
  • Bed cleaning
  • Outdoor work (cleaning porch or sweeping curbs)

The significant advantage of using house cleaning services is that they do the work for you. By hiring skilled cleaners, there's no worry about missing a spot, with the company leaving everything pristine.

What's great about home cleaning services that these companies have to offer is that they provide good prices depending on your budget. You can either start off by hiring a house cleaner starting at $15 per hour or a fixed rate of $80 to $100, which provides the full and experienced cleaning service from inside to outside your home.

Layla Parker

Editor's note 

Just like cleaning your pillows, I recommend that you hire such cleaning services every two to three months for the entire house.

Frequently Asked Questions


FAQ About Caring Your Pillows

1. Why do my pillows turn yellow?

  • The reason why your pillows turn yellow is that of sweat or moisture from spills or lying down with wet hair. If you lie down with skin products or makeup on your face, that can also cause discoloration on parts of the pillow.

2. How do I get my pillows white again?

  • You can spot treat stains with a mixture of vinegar, detergent, and washing soda. Use half a cup of vinegar, 3/4 cup washing soda, and one cup of dishwasher detergent for every three tablespoons of laundry detergent you use (For two pillows).

3. How do you clean smelly pillows?

  • To reduce odors from your pillows, you can soak it in white vinegar (one part vinegar with five parts of hot water). Leave it for a few hours before washing it regularly. Airing it outside can also help kill bacteria which might be the one causing the smell.

4. Do you have to wash pillows with tennis balls?

  • Washing your pillows with tennis balls isn't necessary, but helpful in retaining its shape and having it dry evenly. But, if you don't have tennis balls, a good alternative is by using absorbent towels.

5. Is it safe to put tennis balls in the dryer?

  • Yes, it's safe for place tennis balls in the dryer. As long as you use quality balls without any odor, then you'll have no problem while the pillows dry.

Now It’s Your Turn


Just as how crucial it is to clean your pillowcases, it's also essential to clean pillows for better health and for it to have a longer lifespan!

Through proper cleaning, you get rid of dust and mites that cause allergies, as well as pesky stains that ruin your bed's aesthetic. Plus, no one likes sleeping on dirty pillows, which is what makes cleaning all the more imperative.

Hopefully, this article gave you all the help and knowledge you need! If you found the article attractive or have any questions, make a comment below. Your shares and comments are much appreciated!

Best Ways To Wash or Clean Your Pillows

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