How to Keep Your Pillows Clean and Fresh

When it comes to creating a warm and inviting atmosphere in your home, throw pillows are a great choice. However, over time, they can accumulate dirt and odors from our bodies and the surrounding environment. That’s why it’s essential to know how to clean and care for your pillows. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you may think! In this article, we’ll guide you through two simple methods for cleaning your pillows: machine washing and hand washing.

Machine Washing Pillows

Before you start washing your pillows, take a moment to check the care labels. Most synthetic, fiberfill, and down pillows can be safely washed in a machine, while foam pillows are usually spot-clean only. Knowing this information beforehand will help you avoid any mishaps. If your pillows are machine washable, follow these four easy steps to get them fresh and clean again:

Step 1: Spot Clean Deep Stains
Remove the pillow from its pillowcase and protector. Use a clean cotton or terry towel dipped in a paste of baking soda and water to dab any deep stains on the surface of the pillow. Alternatively, you can use a stain removal spray.

Step 2: Wash with Special Mixture
Place up to two pillows in the washing machine. Prepare a mixture of detergent, vinegar, washing soda, and dishwasher detergent. These added ingredients help whiten the pillows. Avoid using bleach, as it can sometimes worsen stains. Here’s the mixture for two pillows:

  • ½ cup of vinegar
  • 1 cup of dishwasher detergent
  • ¾ cup of washing soda
  • 3 tablespoons of laundry detergent

Step 3: Rinse and Repeat
After the pillows have been washed with the mixture, run a second wash cycle with hot water only to remove any remaining detergent or washing soda.

Step 4: Dry and Fluff
Place the pillows in the dryer on the air dryer or low heat setting. To help maintain their fluffiness, add a couple of tennis balls to the dryer. If you’re sensitive to the rubbery smell of tennis balls, put them in a pair of socks before adding them to the dryer.

Hand Washing Pillows

Some pillows, such as memory foam and certain outdoor or throw pillows, cannot be machine washed. These pillows typically require hand washing. If your pillow falls into this category, follow these four simple steps to give it a thorough hand wash:

Step 1: Address Stains and Odors
Remove the pillow from its protective cover and spot clean any stains using a paste of baking soda and water. For strong odors, you can spray a mix of equal parts vinegar and water onto the pillow. Let it sit for five minutes before blotting the pillow dry with a towel.

Step 2: Sun and Treat Discoloration
Place the pillow in the sun to help lighten any discolored spots. For deep yellow stains, use a toothbrush to apply bleach or vinegar. Baking soda can also be used to soak up dampness and eliminate odors. After applying baking soda, wait a day before shaking or gently vacuuming it up.

Step 3: Hand Wash Gently
Fill a basin with warm water and add a gentle detergent. Immerse the pillow and squeeze it to help the detergent work its way through the material. Avoid harsh cleaning methods like rubbing or wringing, as they can damage foam or tear the netting around the pillow. Finally, rinse the pillow under cool water and squeeze out the excess water.

Step 4: Air Dry Thoroughly
Lay the pillow flat on a ventilated surface and allow it to air dry. Depending on the pillow’s material, it may take up to 24 hours to dry completely.

Maintaining Clean and Fresh Pillows

Now that you’ve cleaned your pillows, it’s important to establish good cleanliness habits to keep them in top shape. Here are six tips to help you maintain clean and fresh pillows:

  • Wash your face before bed: Removing makeup and excess oil can prevent stains on your pillows.

  • Change pillowcases regularly: Aim to change your pillowcases at least once a week to minimize the accumulation of sweat and natural body oils.

  • Use natural linen sprays: Keep mold and mildew away by using linen sprays that also have a soothing effect on your sleep.

  • Use pillow protectors: Cover your pillows with protective cases to reduce the amount of dirt, hair, dead skin, makeup, and sweat that come into direct contact with them.

  • Vacuum pillows: For pillows that cannot be machine washed, regularly vacuuming them can help remove dust mites and skin flakes.

  • Machine wash regularly (if possible): If your pillows are machine washable, make it a habit to wash them at least twice a year. Experts recommend washing them every three months, but the frequency depends on your individual body and sleep habits.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your pillows stay clean, fresh, and comfortable for a long time to come. And if you’re in the market for new bedding to accompany your clean pillows, be sure to check out our personalized bedding options!


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