Pillows are a vital part of our sleeping arrangement, and we spend around a third of our lives using them.
Considering most of us sweat a lot when we sleep (among other things), pillows can get pretty dirty. So, how often should you wash pillows?
Read on to find out the answer, along with some tips for making your pillows last as long as possible.
How Often to Wash Pillows
Bed pillows should be washed every 4-6 months. You don’t need to wash them as often as you might think because your face isn’t making direct contact with them. This helps to at least reduce the amount of oil and skin cells that end up on your pillow!
For other pillows (e.g., sofa cushions, throw pillows, etc.), at least once every 6 months should be fine. It depends on how often you use them, where they are, and whether you have pets or smoke indoors.
Of course, you should check whether your pillows can actually be washed. Memory foam pillows, for example, shouldn’t be machine washed. Instead, you’ll need to sponge them clean and air them out.
Pillowcases on bed pillows should be washed much more often than the pillows themselves, since they come into direct contact with your skin. You should wash pillowcases at least once every two weeks, along with your bedsheets.
Is It Safe to Wash Pillows in the Washing Machine?
Down or polyester pillows should be fine to be washed in the washing machine.
Generally, you’ll want to use a cool water setting (30 degrees Celsius) to avoid damaging the material. If the instructions say you can tumble dry, go ahead, but most pillows should be air dried.
You’ll ideally want to wash pillows in pairs to balance your washing machine drum. However, you’ll only be able to do this with a large 8 kg drum at the minimum.
Pillows absorb a lot of water and get very heavy. If you’re in doubt, wash them one at a time and hope for the best, or wash by hand.
Turning your machine’s spin speed down can help with balancing, but obviously means the pillows will be wetter when they come out.
Either way, some pillow washing tips include:
- Add silicone dryer balls (or tennis balls) to the wash to help keep your laundry distributed.
- Don’t be afraid to use some oxygen bleach to remove yellow stains, unless you’re washing memory foam.
- Bicarbonate of soda is a good odour neutraliser, so sprinkle this on your pillows if you can’t wash them. Hoover it off after a few hours.
- If you’ve bought new pillows and know you can’t wash them, consider putting them inside pillow protectors. These are the same as mattress protectors, except they’re for pillows.
- Use liquid laundry detergent rather than powder, and use a bit less than normal. It can soak into the pillow when it enters the machine and not dissolve properly as a result.
Washing pillows can be a bit hit or miss. If you don’t treat them properly, they’ll become lumpy and unpleasant. If this happens, or it’s been a while since you washed them, consider buying some new ones!
Jacob is a freelance writer based in Wales, where he lives with his partner and two dogs. All his work is fuelled by extensive research and buckets of coffee.