Not sure if you can wash pillows in a washing machine? You are not alone. While many pillows are machine washable, this is not true of all pillow types, and there are certain rules to follow to ensure you don’t ruin them (especially important if you’ve invested in the best pillows for your sleep setup).
According to cleaning expert Robin Wilson, designer and founder of the lifestyle brand, Clean Design House (opens in new tab): “We spend a third of our lives sleeping, and since sleep is so important to our mental and physical health, we must ensure that this element of our bed is clean.”
It’s not just about keeping stains away, it’s also important to clean the pads for hygiene reasons. You only need to read what happens to pillows when they are not cleaned to know that dirty pillows will see yellow stains and become heavier due to dirt buildup. So, to learn how to wash pillows in your washing machine without ruining them, stay here.
Can you wash pillows in a washing machine?
Generally speaking, most synthetic, down and cotton pillows are dishwasher safe. Wilson tells us, “Almost all pillows can be washed in a front load washer or top loader that does not have a center column agitator.” (Officially, you should check the care etiquette and base your approach on the instructions.)
However, there are two specific types of pillows that you cannot put in the washing machine. Namely:
- memory foam pillows
- latex pillows
Putting any of these pillows in the wash would damage the filling as well as damage your machine. If you have a memory foam or latex pillow, clean them using warm water and detergent. Rub the stain in careful circular motions until the soiled areas begin to lighten. Be sure to let the memory foam and latex pillow dry completely before putting back the pillowcase and pillowcase. Again, if you’re not sure, check your pillow’s washing instructions.
How often should you wash your pillows?
If you’re wondering how often you’ll need to wash your pillows, Robin has some advice. She says, “Alternative feather pillows are the easiest to wash and also the most hypoallergenic,” says Wilson. “Feather and down pillows can be washed, but they should be done less frequently – around six months.”
Experts say that, on average, you should wash your pillows every four months. But as soon as you notice sweat or body oil stains on your pillow, be sure to wash them out. After all, they are two of the biggest culprits for why pillows turn yellow. And the longer you leave your pillows unwashed, the harder it will be to get stains out of them. If you are wondering how to clean a mattress head this way.
How many pillows can you machine wash at a time?
This will depend on the size of your washing machine, but you should be able to wash one or two pillows at once. Make sure you don’t put too much into the drum, or the pillows won’t be able to move during the cycle and, as a result, won’t be cleaned properly.
Start by taking off the pillow covers and removing the pillow covers as well. These can easily be washed separately more regularly.
Should you use detergent?
Wilson says, “Use half the amount of detergent. Two pads can take up a lot of space, but they don’t need as much detergent.”
Which washing machine cycle should you use?
Again, you should refer to your pillow care label for specific instructions – some pillows can be safely washed at a higher temperature, for example, while others need to be machine washed at a cold temperature). However, the general rule of thumb is that synthetic, down or cotton pillows can be washed on a gentle cycle with warm water. Wilson recommends using a strong spin cycle to remove as much water as possible and make the drying process faster and simpler.
Can you dry pillows?
Again, follow the official washing instructions, but pillows can normally be tumble dried on a very low heat. Wilson says, “Dry it in the tumble dryer and add tennis balls during the drying cycle. Put the tumble dryer on low and remove frequently and tumble to limit lump formation.”
Adding a tennis ball to the dryer can help prevent pillows from becoming lumpy and misshapen, which is common with items that contain fluff. To ensure they return to their shape after washing, check how your pillows are drying before the dryer cycle ends.
Should I use a pillow protector?
We’ve covered this already, but an important tip is to add pillow protector before putting on the pillowcase. Pillow protectors are much easier to wash than pillows; they are essentially lightweight pieces of material that can be put in the washing machine regularly, with the rest of your white clothes, without fear of damage. But that’s not to say these crucial protectors can’t withstand sweaty sleep or other natural bodily fluids.
Everyone should have a pillow protector. But this is especially the case if you’re prone to night sweats or using facial moisturizers or oils at night. Easily extend the life of your pillows and ensure they stay fresh longer.