Washing pillows in the washing machine may seem daunting at first, but with guidance, it’s actually quite simple. Whether you’re using a top-loader or front loader washing machine, there are specific steps you should take when cleaning your pillow so that it comes out looking good as new. Not only will following these steps help your pillow last longer; but it will also make sure that all dust mites and bacteria have been completely removed from the fabric.

Types Of Pillows

Soft and cozy, pillows provide a welcome reprieve after a tiresome day. Whether they are down pillows, synthetic pillows or memory foam pillows, there is something magical about being able to rest your head on one at night. Down pillows are filled with feathers from ducks or geese; they’re lightweight and fluffy but require more maintenance than other types of pillow fillings. Synthetic pillows contain materials such as polyester fibers and may be hypoallergenic for those prone to allergies. Memory foam pillows contour to the shape of your neck and head providing support in all the right places. With so many styles of pillow available, it’s not hard to find one that suits you best! As we move into preparing our pillow for washing, let’s take a look at how each type should be handled differently.

Steps For Washing A Pillow In The Machine

Are your pillows looking a little dingy? It’s time to give them some TLC and wash them in the machine! Pillow washing may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With just a few easy steps, you can make sure your pillows are clean and fresh once again. Read on for simple instructions on how to safely wash a pillow in the machine.

Preparing The Pillow

Before washing a pillow, it is important to pre-wash it. Begin by removing the pillowcase and checking for any stains that need special treatment. Apply an appropriate stain remover and allow it to sit before laundering. Consider spot treating areas with heavy staining as well. Once this is complete, move on to choosing detergent for the wash cycle.

1. Choosing Detergent

Here are some tips for choosing the best detergent:

  • Look at what type of detergent will be used – liquid, powder, tablets, etc.
  • Consider the levels of cleaning power you need from a detergent and select accordingly.
  • Pay attention to special instructions on any product labels regarding recommended dosage per load size and water temperature settings when using specific types of detergents.

2. Setting The Machine

Before washing the pillow, it’s important to properly set up the machine. First and foremost, adjust the temperature of the water in accordance with what is recommended on the care label of the pillow or by manufacturer’s instructions. Hot water should not be used as this can cause shrinkage and damage to fabrics.

Machine SettingsAdjustment
TemperatureFollow Care Label Instructions/ Manufacturer Guidelines
CycleChoose Gentle or Delicate Cycle

3. Adding Detergent And Pillow

Next, the washing detergent must be added. Generally, a small amount of machine detergent should suffice for pillow washing purposes. A capful or two is usually enough; however, if using an extra-large load setting more may need to be used. After adding the detergent, place the pillows in the washer and make sure they are distributed evenly around the drum. Make sure that any zippers or buttons on the pillows are securely closed before putting them into the machine as well. Once all of this is done, it’s time to move onto selecting a cycle and temperature.

4. Selecting A Cycle And Temperature

Here are three things to consider when selecting an appropriate setting for your pillow:

Washing Cycle:

  • For synthetic pillows, use a gentle or delicate setting on your machine.
  • For down-filled pillows, opt for a low spin cycle with no additional agitation.
  • If possible, choose a wool-specific option if available.

Water Temperature:

  • Use warm water instead of hot as this will prevent shrinking or fading in color.
  • Hot temperatures may also damage any foam fillings inside the pillow.
  • Be sure not to exceed 104°F (or 40°C).

5. Choosing A Rinse Option

Once you have chosen the appropriate cycle for washing your pillow, it is time to select a rinse option. If you’re using a standard washer, there are usually two options: regular and extra rinse. Selecting the right one depends on how soiled or stained your pillow is. The regular rinse setting should be enough for most cases; however, if the pillow has heavy soils or stains, then an extra rinse may be needed to completely remove them from the fabric. Generally speaking, selecting the extra rinse will ensure all residue has been removed. It’s important to note that some newer machines provide additional rinse cycle options which can be used as well. Be sure to check your model’s instructions before making a selection.

6. Finishing The Cycle

Once the washing cycle is complete, most machines will automatically move on to a rinse and spin cycle. If not, press the start or power button again until you hear it begin. When this step of the cycle has finished, check your pillow for any remaining dirt or grime that may have remained after the wash. If there are still visible stains, repeat the entire process from adding detergent and water. Finally, turn off the machine and unplug it from its power source when all cycles have ended. As a safety precaution, do not leave the washer unattended while running through cycles as it could cause flooding in your home. The next step is to dry the pillow so that it is fresh and clean.

7. Drying The Pillow

Once all the dirt and grime have been washed away, it’s time to dry your pillow. There are three main methods for drying a pillow: machine drying, air drying and sun-drying.

Machine DryingFastest way to dry; Lessens chances of shrinkage or discolorationCan be noisy; Hot temperatures can damage fabric; May require special setting on washing machine
Air DryingQuieter than using a machine; Safer option if you're worried about heat damaging the fabric or colors fading in sunlightTakes longer (usually 1-2 days) depending on humidity levels; Possibility of mildew forming due to moisture being trapped during slow drying process.
Sun-DryingNatural method that doesn't involve any extra energy costs; Great at eliminating odors quickly and naturally without added chemicals.Must be careful not to leave out too long as UV rays can fade colors and weaken fabrics over time; Needs direct exposure to sunlight which isn't always available.

8. Benefits Of Regularly Washing Pillows

Maintaining good pillow hygiene is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Regularly washing pillows helps to remove dust, dirt, and sweat that accumulates over time. It also prevents the growth of bacteria and other allergens. Here are some great benefits of regularly cleaning your pillows:

  • Improved air quality: Cleaning your pillows on a regular basis can help improve the indoor air quality in your home by removing any airborne particles from them. This will help reduce potential allergies or asthma symptoms caused by dust mites or mold spores.
  • Reduced dust build up: Washing your pillows regularly will minimize the amount of dust buildup on them, which can lead to irritation and allergy flare-ups if left unchecked. Not only does this keep you more comfortable when sleeping, but it may also reduce snoring as well!
  • Healthier sleep environment: A clean pillow creates a healthier sleep environment by preventing any unwanted pests like bed bugs or fleas from taking up residence in them. Furthermore, regularly washing your pillows ensures they remain free of mildew and odors that can interfere with quality

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Type Of Detergent Should I Use When Washing A Pillow?

Ans: It’s also essential to ensure that the right amount of detergent is being used according to manufacturer instructions. Too much or too little can affect how well the pillow cleans and may even lead to discoloration or wear-and-tear on the fabric. When selecting a detergent for your pillow, look for products that contain natural ingredients such as baking soda instead of harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia; these types of cleaners tend to be more effective at removing dirt and stains but are gentler on fabrics than harsher alternatives. Additionally, make sure you select an enzymatic cleaner if possible – this type helps break down organic matter like sweat and oils better than traditional laundry soap so that they don’t become trapped inside the fibers.

2. How Often Should I Wash My Pillow?

Ans: When considering how often you should wash your pillow, there are several factors to take into account:

  • The type of material used for the pillow
  • How much wear and tear it gets from daily use
  • Whether or not anyone has allergies or sensitivities
  • Any specific instructions given by the manufacturer
  • The environment where the pillow is stored (i.e., temperature and humidity)

3. Is It Safe To Wash A Pillow With Other Items In The Washing Machine?

Ans: One of the most essential rules when it comes to washing-machine-safety is that you should never put more than two pillows in at once. This helps evenly distribute any dirt or debris throughout the wash cycle and prevents overloading the drum with too much weight, which could potentially lead to mechanical issues with your appliance. Additionally, be sure to select an appropriate setting for the type of fabric used in making your pillow; this will help avoid unnecessary wear and tear caused by high heat or agitation levels. Furthermore, use mild detergent specifically designed for delicate materials when cleaning your pillow, as harsher chemicals may cause further damage rather than providing good results. Paying attention to these details while also following manufacturers’ instructions will make sure that your pillows stay safe during their trip through the washing machine.

4. Can I Use A Bleach Solution When Washing A Pillow?

Ans: Bleach solutions should not be used on all types of pillows, as certain materials aren’t suitable for bleaching. It’s also important to dilute the bleach with water, which will help reduce damage caused by direct contact with the chemical. Furthermore, it’s essential that you read the instructions on your specific type of pillow prior to using any cleaning agents or solutions – including those containing bleach – in order to ensure you don’t cause any permanent damage.

5. Is It Possible To Dry A Pillow In A Dryer?

Ans: Here are some key points to consider when tumble drying:

Know your materials:

  • Natural fibers like down and feather should be dried on low heat with no added fabric softener.
  • Synthetic fiber pillows can usually handle higher temperatures and may even benefit from adding a damp towel to help fluff up the filling during drying.

Monitor progress:

  • Keep an eye on your pillow while it’s tumbling so you don’t end up ruining it due to over-drying. It’s also important that you check regularly if there are any lumps forming inside the pillow which could indicate clumping or damage caused by too much heat.
  • If needed, stop the cycle periodically to smooth out any lumpy areas or adjust temperature settings accordingly.


It’s essential to use the right detergent when washing a pillow. Using too much can be damaging, while using too little will not clean your pillow properly. Regularly washing your pillows with the appropriate detergent ensures that they remain fresh and free of dust mites and other allergens.

When it comes to mixing pillows with other items in the machine, it is best practice to wash them separately. This will prevent any snagging or tearing during the cycle which could cause damage to both your pillow and other garments. Additionally, bleach solutions should never be used on pillows as this can affect their color and reduce their lifespan significantly.

Finally, drying a pillow in a dryer is possible but caution must be taken as high temperatures can cause shrinkage and fading of fabrics over time. Instead opt for air drying outdoors or indoors away from direct sunlight or heat sources for optimal results. By following these simple steps you’ll ensure that your pillows are kept safe, clean and long-lasting!