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We all change and wash our bedding regularly, but how often do we wash our pillows? Yet, washing your pillows can improve their longevity and freshness and give you an improved night’s sleep. However, if pillows are not washed correctly, it can reduce their lifespan and leave them lumpy and uncomfortable.

In this article, you will find details on how often to wash your pillows and how to wash pillows correctly so they will stay fresh, retain their shape, and last longer. So continue reading to get the best out of your pillows for as long as possible.

Washing Feather or Down Pillows

Washing Feather or Down Pillows

Both feather and down pillows can be washed using a washing machine. Follow the steps below to get the best results when washing them.

Read the Label

Even though most feather and down pillows can be washed in the washing machine, it is always best to check the label. The label will also give you specific details on using a washing machine for your pillows such as the maximum temperature they should be washed in.

Inspect the Seams

Before you put the pillows in the washing machine, check all the seams carefully. If you have weak seams, they might break in the wash and let out the filling. Mend any weak or already broken seams before the wash.

Set Your Washing Machine on a Gentle Wash

When washing pillows in a washing machine, choose a delicate or gentle wash and spin setting. Wash the pillows using a mild detergent and a conditioner if you like. It is a good idea to throw in some towels in the same colour to pad out the washing machine. If you have a big enough washing machine, you can do two pillows at once, which helps keep the machine balanced and prevents damage to the pillows.


Because of the size of the pillows, it can be difficult to get the detergent out of them in a single rinse. Therefore, it is often beneficial to run a second rinse to completely remove all residue from the pillows. It is important to get all detergent out because the residue can make the pillow less comfortable and attract dirt.

Tumble Dry on a Gentle Setting

You can safely use a tumble drier to dry feather and down pillows. However, ensure you choose a low setting. Adding in some dry, clean towels will help absorb moisture from the pillows to speed up the process. You can also add a couple of clean tennis balls or dryer balls into the dryer. They will help keep the pillows fluffy and break clumps in the filling.

If you do not have a tumble drier, you can let the pillows air dry. When your pillows are air drying, break any clumps by hand.

Washing Tip For Top-Loading Washers

If you are using a top-loading washing machine to wash your pillows, you can pause the programme occasionally and open the lid. Press air from the pillows, then close the lid and continue the wash cycle.

Washing Foam Pillows

Washing Foam Pillows

If you have foam pillows, you should never wash them in a washing machine or use a tumble drier. The motions of the washing machine and the dryer can tear the foam pillows apart. In addition, the dryer will reduce the lifespan of a foam pillow significantly. The best thing for foam pillows is to use a vacuum and then clean any spots with a damp, clean cloth.

Remove and Wash the Protective Inner Cover

After you have removed the pillowcase, remove the inner cover of the foam pillow carefully. Note that not all foam pillows will have an inner cover. If yours has an inner cover, wash it by hand after you have removed it. Only use a mild detergent to wash the cover and let it dry fully before putting it back on the pillow.

Spot Clean

Next, clean your foam pillow using a mixture of lukewarm water and mild detergent. Dampen a clean sponge or cloth in the mixture and lightly dab any spots that need cleaning on your pillow. Press gently into the foam to break down the stain.

Leave the Pillow to Dry

When you have spot-cleaned your pillow, leave it to dry completely. You can speed up the drying process by pressing a dry towel on the treated areas to get them as dry as possible. When you cannot get any more moisture from the pillow, leave it to dry in a well-ventilated area. If possible, let them dry outdoors in the sunlight.

Vacuum Clean

When your pillow has completely dried, use a vacuum cleaner to suck out any dust, lint, and hair from the foam. Pay extra attention to the seams of the pillow as this is where bed bugs are most likely to hide during the day. Once you have vacuumed your pillow, you can cover it with a clean pillowcase.

Washing Gel Pillows

Gel pillows, which have cooling properties for better body temperature regulation, should not be washed in a washing machine or dried in a tumble drier. Similarly to foam pillows, they can break if washed and dried in the machines. You can follow the same steps as used for cleaning foam pillows if you have gel pillows.

Baking Soda for Foam and Gel Pillows

If you have foam or gel pillows and want to make them fresher, use baking soda. It will remove odours and dampness from the pillows and leave them smelling fresh and clean. Baking soda is also great for removing stains.

To use baking soda, mix it with water in a bottle or jar and let it sit for a few minutes. Shake the bottle or jar until you get bubbles. With a brush or a sponge, dab some bubbles into the pillow. Continue to apply the solution until the stains disappear. Leave the pillow to air dry completely.

Why Do You Need to Wash Your Pillows

Why Do You Need to Wash Your Pillows?

Just like your bedding, your pillows need regular washing, too. While pillowcases will protect your pillows, they cannot stop sweat, oils, dust, bacteria, and dust mites from collecting on them over time.

Washing your pillows regularly will help remove dust and dust mites, bacteria, sweat, and oils from the pillow. This is especially important for anyone who suffers from allergies as sleeping on a pillow with allergens can make the condition worse.

What is the Best Washing Schedule for Pillows?

Most experts recommend that you wash your pillows twice or three times per year. However, if you use a pillow protector, you may only need to wash your pillow once a year. If you or someone in your household has allergies, you might like to wash your pillows more often to keep them as dust, bug, and debris-free as possible.

How Often Should You Replace Pillows?

How often your pillows need replacing depends on your pillow type. If your pillow has lost its shape and fluffing does not make it any better, consider replacing it. You can also do a quick test to check if your pillow is still supportive. Simply fold your pillow in half and let go. If it does not bounce back to the original shape, you should replace it.

Most people keep the same pillow far longer than they should, which can reduce the quality of your sleep. When you are ready to replace your pillow, consider your sleeping habits. For example, if you sleep on your side most of the time, look for the best pillows for side sleepers to get the right pillow to support your spine. Or if you often get hot during the night, some pillows can help you stay cooler.

The Importance of Using Pillowcases

Pillowcases help our pillows last longer and stay fresher by preventing oils, dirt, and sweat from staining the pillow and making them smell unpleasant. Pillowcases also reduce the risk of bacterial and fungal infections as they form a barrier between the pillow and your face.

Wash your pillowcases regularly to maintain the freshness and cleanliness of your pillows. This will prevent sweat, oils, and moisture from accumulating and forming yellow stains on your pillows. How you wash your pillowcases depends on the material used to make them.

Choosing the right pillowcases can also help you sleep more comfortably. For example, if you often get hot during the night, choosing bamboo or silk pillowcases can help you stay cool. They will help regulate your body temperature and prevent sweat from building up. The right pillowcase can also reduce spots and acne as you are less likely to wake up with an oily face.


Pillows, like any part of your bedding, including your mattress, need regular cleaning to prevent the build-up of dust, sweat, oils, bed bugs, and other debris. You can wash many types of pillows in the washing machine and dry them in a tumble drier. However, check your pillow’s care instructions before you put them in either appliance. Some types of pillows, such as foam and gel pillows, should not be washed using a washing machine nor dried in a tumble drier.

To maintain the freshness and cleanliness of your pillows wash them two or three times a year. You might need to wash them more often if you or members of your household have allergies. Replace your pillows if they lose shape or get lumps. When replacing your old pillows, do your research, for example, you can read bout the best pillows in Canada here and choose the right pillow for your body type and sleeping habits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most pillow types can be washed in the washing machine using a gentle setting, cool wash, and mild detergent. In general, down, feather, cotton, and polyester-filled pillows are fine in the washing machine but you should not machine wash foam pillows.

However, always check the care instructions on your pillow before putting them into a washing machine. Also note that foam, gel, and bamboo pillows should not be put into a washing machine as their fillings could get damaged in the washing machine’s drum.

Whether you can tumble dry your pillows depends on what they are made of. You should not put memory-foam pillows into a tumble drier but other types of pillows can be tumble dried on a low-heat setting. However, check your pillows’ label before you put it into a dryer for any specific instructions.

Many types of pillows can go into the washing machine, including down and feather pillows. Foam, gel, and bamboo pillows should not be machine washed as their cycle can damage the filling. Some of these pillows can be hand washed, but always check the care instructions before washing them. This applies to all pillows before you wash them for the first time as some should be dry cleaned only.

Before you wash your pillow for the first time, check the recommended temperature on the care label and never exceed it. As a general rule, always use cool water when washing pillows either by hand or in the washing machine.

While you can use either a front- or top-loading washing machine to wash your pillows, a front-loading one is better. In a top-loading washing machine, the pillows can float, which can result in dry patches that do not get washed as well.

 If you use a top-loading machine, open it during the washing programme to move the pillows about and press air out of them for best results. Alternatively, you could take your pillows to a laundrette where you can use a front-loading machine and wash several pillows in one cycle.