Why & How to Wash Pillows

May 02, 2023 • Jamie Dorman

Raise your hand if you don’t wash your pillows as often as you should. It’s okay, we didn’t either until we learned what can happen to them if you don’t. Follow this guide to find out why it’s important to regularly wash your pillows, how to wash your pillows, and the important maintenance steps to take in between washes.

Why do I need to wash my pillows?

Pillows should be washed every six months. If they aren’t, they can harbor a buildup of all sorts of gross stuff you really don’t want to be resting your head on. They can collect dust mites and absorb grease, saliva, and a variety of bacteria. Gross—we know.

This was news to us, and had us running to the washing machine, stack of pillows in hand!

How do I wash my pillows?

This part is easier than you might think. No laundromat or dry cleaner needed. Most down and synthetic pillows can be safely and easily machine washed. (Although, if you aren’t sure, always check the care tags. Not sure what those laundry symbols mean? Check out our handy TikTok video to decode their mysterious meanings!)

First, don’t overload your washing machine. Depending on the size of your machine and the size of your pillows, 2-3 pillows per load is probably your limit.

When it comes to washing pillows, machines without an agitator work best. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have success if your machine has one. Simply place your pillows into the machine vertically, and make sure it only agitates for 1-2 minutes on the gentle cycle.

Agitator or not, use a small amount of gentle laundry soap, like ½ sheet of our Sheets Free and Clear Laundry Detergent Sheets. If you want a refreshing added boost of scent and stain fighter, toss in one of our Sheets Booster Plus Stain Fighters. Our stain remover for clothes works equally as well on pillows.

Once everything is loaded in, set your machine to the delicate cycle, make sure it’s using warm water, and add on an extra rinse cycle. To remove any excess moisture, let them spin dry.

How do I dry my pillows?

Okay. Your pillows are nice and clean, but they’re soaking wet. Now what? Good news! Synthetic and down pillows are perfectly safe to put in the dryer. Load your pillows into the dryer (don’t overload it!) and set it to the lowest possible temperature on the delicate cycle. It will probably take about three cycles for them to completely dry but be sure to check them in between each one.

Once they’re dry, shake them out and fluff them up to your desired shape. Voila! Clean, dry, grossness-free pillows!

How do I maintain my pillows between washes?

You’re now peacefully sleeping (we hope) on fresh, clean, fluffy, germ-free, delicious-smelling pillows. But how do you keep them like this between washes? We recommend fluffing them daily. This not only restores their shape, but also removes any dust that may have collected.

If possible, leave your pillows in the sun for a while every 10-12 days. This will kill any dust mites that may be lurking inside.

Finally, lay back, relax, and enjoy your fresh, clean pillows!