A Simple Guide To Cleaning Your Pillows

When was the last time you cleaned your pillows? We’re talking the actual pillows themselves—not just the pillowcases. If it’s been a while or if you didn’t know you could even clean pillows, your pillows have probably seen better days. Before you run out and spend your hard-earned money on brand new pillows, however, you may want to consider washing your pillows at home. It’s easier than you think and doesn’t require much more time (or effort) than washing any other load of laundry.

By having a better understanding of why and how you can clean your pillows at home, you can rest your head a little easier at night.

Why Clean Your Pillows?

You already wash your pillow cases, sheets, comforters, and other bedding (think cleaning your mattress) on a regular basis—and for good reason. Over time, bacteria from sweat, along with things like dust mites, can make your bed a less-than-ideal place to sleep. However, the same bacteria and creepy-crawlies can make their way past your pillowcases and directly into the pillows themselves over time.

When you take the time to consider what comes into contact with your pillows and pillowcases, it’s easy to see why they should be cleaned regularly. Chemicals from hair products, makeup, and saliva (if you’re a drooler!) can all lead to a breeding ground of bacteria within your pillow. By taking the time to thoroughly clean your pillows on a regular basis, you can cut down on this bacteria—and of course, enjoy the scent of freshly laundered bedding when you rest your head at night.

In addition to getting rid of bacteria and creepy-crawlies, cleaning your pillows can also help to restore the “fluff” to pillows that have otherwise become dull over time. This could result in a better night’s sleep for you and fewer mornings waking up with neck or back pain.

How often should you clean your pillows? It really depends on how quickly they become soiled. In most cases, washing them once every 2-4 weeks is fine, but some may prefer to wash them just as often as the rest of their bedding. Ultimately, it’s about what makes you feel the most comfortable.

Signs Your Pillows Need To Be Cleaned

First of all, if you’ve never cleaned your pillows or if it’s been more than a few months since you’ve done so, your pillows almost definitely need to be cleaned. Some other possible signs that your pillows are in need of a good washing include:

  • lack of “fluff” or support for your head and neck
  • frequent acne breakouts or blemishes
  • waking up with a stuffy or runny nose
  • noticeable stains or spots on your pillows

If you go through the process of washing/cleaning your pillows (as described in detail below) and are still experiencing these issues, please note that it may be time to simply replace your pillows (especially if it’s been more than a few years since you bought them and you sleep on them daily).

How to Clean Your Pillows

So, where do you begin when it comes time to clean your pillows? The process is easier than you might think. Just keep in mind that different steps may need to be followed for different types of pillows. Cotton and down pillows are still among the most common, but memory foam is becoming increasingly popular as well. We have outlined the washing and drying steps for each type of pillow below, so be sure to follow the specific process for your pillow type(s).

Washing Pillow Cases

Start by removing any pillow cases that may be covering the pillows themselves. Check the tags to find out more about their specific care instructions. For common materials, such as polyester and cotton, you may be able to wash your pillowcases in the same load of laundry where you wash the pillows themselves. For more delicate materials, however, you may need to hand wash them or wash them on a delicate cycle.

Before you wash your pillow cases, give them a quick check for any stains that may require use of a stain-removing product prior to being washed. This is more common for people who may fall asleep with eye makeup on, as cosmetics like mascara and eye-liner are notoriously difficult to remove from many fabrics.

Washing Cotton and Down Pillows

Cotton and down pillows are the easiest to clean, as they can generally be tossed into your washing machine like any other laundry. The key to cleaning pillows in your washing machine is to wash at least two at a time, as this will help better balance the load and will thus reduce any additional wear and tear on your pillows. This is especially true if you have a washing machine with an agitator (as most top-loaders have).

Once you’ve added your laundry detergent, you’ll generally want to wash your pillows on a “bulky” or “heavy” cycle. Check your washing machine for any setting that is designed for heavier items. Some washing machines even have a special “bedding” option, but if yours doesn’t, you can use your standard setting.

Drying Cotton and Down Pillows

Once your pillows have completed their wash cycle, it’s time to dry them. How you dry your pillows is extremely important; for down pillows, you’ll want to make sure to avoid using any heat. Use an air-dry or fluff setting instead. For cotton and synthetic pillows, a low-heat setting will be just fine.

You can help to cut down on the drying time of your pillows by adding a couple of clean tennis balls to the dryer. This will not only help them dry faster, but will have the added benefit of fluffing your pillows as well!

You may need to run your pillows through the dryer for a couple of cycles before they’ll be completely dry. Once they are, however, all you need to do is put your clean pillow cases back on and enjoy your fresh, like-new pillows!

What About Memory Foam Pillows?

Memory foam pillows will require a little more care to clean. Specifically, they’ll need to be hand washed and air dried. The best way to do this is to fill a bucket with warm water and some of your favorite laundry detergent. From there, dunk your pillow in the water and gently massage/squeeze it to wash it. From there, you’ll want to rinse the pillow thoroughly with warm water to remove excess soap and suds.

Once your memory foam pillow is nice and clean, gently wring it to remove as much water as possible. From there, it should be set out to dry (ideally in the sun for faster drying). This process can take quite awhile, especially when you consider that memory foam is made of a sponge-like material. Still, your patience will pay off when you have a nice and clean pillow that has retained its shape and comfort.

Can a Professional Cleaning Service Help?

Taking the time to clean your pillows regularly can provide a number of health and wellness benefits, and is a lot cheaper than replacing your pillows when they become soiled. Still, washing pillows can be time-consuming, especially when you have enough laundry to worry about as it is. This is where having a professional cleaning service can make all the difference.

By having a professional cleaner handle other aspects of your household chores, such as laundry and sweeping, you can free up more time to tackle things like pillow cleaning while still having plenty of time to do more of the things you enjoy.

Maid Sailors offers a wide range of cleaning services in New York City and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to find out more about the specific services we offer and book your first cleaning with us.

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