Bedroom Tips 101: How To Wash Your Bed Pillows The Right Way

Bed pillows are very personal items that you have a close relationship with. Some people get so close to their pillows that they can’t sleep without their favorite ones. Some people prefer soft and squishy pillows, while others prefer firm ones.

Pillows are essential for quality sleep. It helps you get comfortable and gives you your healthy dose of Zzz’s. However, over time, they accumulate your sweat, drool, and dead skin cells. You may not notice it, but it can become dirty and smelly. That said, you need to regularly clean it for optimal comfort and to prevent it from wearing too quickly.

Read more: 9 Reasons Your Bedroom Isn’t A Healthy Place To Sleep​

Here are tips on how to wash your bed pillows:

Determine The Best Cleaning Method

Read the care label first before doing anything else. Care labels should indicate whether it is safe to wash in the machine or if it recommends only dry cleaning.

  • Down, feather, polyester, and fiber-filled pillows are usually safe to wash in the washing machine, on a gentle cycle. If it is not, the care label should indicate it.
  • Some down pillows shouldn’t be washed in a washing machine because the down could come out. Always check care labels.
  • Memory foam and latex can be washed but not in the machine. The motions, even a gentle cycle, could damage memory or latex foam.

Machine-Washing Pillows

Machine-Washing Pillows

  • When washing bed pillows, use a gentle detergent. Harsh chemicals could damage the foam, down or whatever filling of the pillow.
  • Set the washer on a gentle wash cycle. You might also want to set at least two rinse cycles to rinse all the detergent off. Once that’s done, spin dry it at least twice to get as much water out.
  • Set the water temperature of the washing machine according to what it says on the care label of the pillow.
  • Feather and polyester pillows use cool water, while fiber-filled pillows use cool or lukewarm water. Down and foam should use warm water.
  • Use the highest water capacity when washing pillows. You should also submerge the pillow first before the cycle starts.
  • For a well-balanced load, wash a pair of pillows at a time. If you only have one pillow to wash, you can throw in some bath towels to balance the load.

Hand-Washing Machine

Hand-Washing Machine

Some pillows, such as latex and memory foam, should not be washed in a washing machine. However, you might be able to hand wash them.

  • Foam pillows are prone to tearing so you might want to use a pillowcase or a mesh laundry bag when washing them.
  • You want to be able to submerge the pillow in water so you can use a basin, your bathtub, a pail or a box. Fill the container up with water and add the gentle laundry detergent.
  • Push the pillow to allow it to soak water in. Then, you can squeeze the foam accordingly and turn it over until you feel you’ve gone through the whole foam.
  • Once you feel it’s clean, gently squeeze the soapy water out of the foam. Drain the soapy water and then fill it up again with plain water to begin rinsing the pillow.
  • Continue to squeeze the pillow until only clear water comes out. You should change the rinsing water as often as necessary. Remember, you don’t want remainders of soap because it could cause irritation.
  • Once you are happy with the rinse, squeeze it carefully, as dry as you can.

Drying Pillows

Drying Pillows

Once again, make sure you follow care instructions on the label. There are two basic ways to dry pillows. One is in the dryer, and the other is by air drying or line drying.

Foam Pillows

  • Don’t dry foam pillows in a dryer. Even low heat could cause it to melt. The motions in the dryer are also too harsh and could tear the foam.
  • Use a towel to squeeze as much water as you can, out of the foam. Then you can hang it in a shaded area where the breeze can catch it. Turn it frequently to dry them as consistently as possible.

Feather Pillows

  • Dry feather pillows on a line because dryers can cause the feathers to smell. Allow it to completely dry before you use it again.
  • You should also fluff the pillow a few times as it dries to rearrange the feathers and to dry it thoroughly.

Down Pillows

  • You can dry down pillows in the dryer, unless the care label says you can’t. The temperature of the dryer should be at its lowest.
  • Add a tennis ball or tennis shoe to shake the pillow in the dryer. You can also take it out of the dryer every few minutes for fluffing and shaking.

Fiber-Filled Pillows

  • To dry fiber-filled pillows, hang them out in a shaded area, where there are breezes. You should also toss and turn it a few times to dry them more thoroughly.
  • You can put the fiber-filled pillows in the dryer on the lowest setting. Add in a tennis shoe or tennis ball to agitate the pillow in the dryer.

Whatever type of pillow you have, you generally want to dry it completely before you use them. Dampness can create a stench and can also cause molds. It can also harbor more bacteria if it is damp.




With a little extra care, your pillows can feel brand new again. Don’t wait until it’s too late to save your pillow. To check if it’s still good, fold your pillow in half. If it returns to its original shape, then you can still salvage it. If it doesn’t, then it might be time for a new pillow.

As you well know, pillows contribute to your quality of sleep. With a clean pillow, you might be on your way to better nights. You should wash pillows at least twice a year to keep it clean and to maximize its lifespan.

If you have tips that you’d like to share about washing pillows, comment them below! We’d love to hear them.

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Jake Tyler
Hi all, I’m Jake Tyler, over the past decade I’ve been working strong on my personal fitness levels. From the age of 16, I have been a kickboxer, and I’ve built up an incredible passion for fitness & self-improvement. This experience has led me to a career in personal training and health & fitness.

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