When was the last time you washed your bed pillows? If it was more than six months ago, you might be due for a trip to the laundry room. Even if you clean your sheets regularly and use a pillow protector, when you sleep on your pillow every night, stuff—saliva, sweat, dirt, oil, bacteria—builds up over time, which means that a full-on trip through a wash cycle, not just spot cleaning, should take place at least two to four times a year, according to Good Housekeeping Institute. Not only does this get rid of any nasty residue, but it also helps your pillows last longer.
So how do you actually wash a pillow? First of all, check the tag to make sure it's not dry-clean only. The good news is that most down and fiberfill (a.k.a. down-alternative) pillows can easily be washed in a standard machine. Read on for the steps.
Stain pre-treatment spray
Dryer balls (or tennis balls)
How to Wash Pillows
1. Check the pillow cover for any noticeable stains and spray them with a laundry pre-treatment. Let sit for 15 minutes.
2. Place pillows in the drum of your washing machine. Always wash two pillows at a time, if possible—this keeps the machine from becoming unbalanced.
3. Add a small amount of detergent to the dispenser. (No, more detergent won't make the pillows cleaner, it'll just leave more residue behind.)
4. Wash in warm water and add an extra rinse cycle to make sure that any excess detergent gets removed.
5. After the cycle is complete, put the pillows in the dryer with a couple of dryer balls (or tennis balls). This keeps the fill from clumping up so you end up with extra-fluffy pillows.
6. Dry the pillows for about an hour on low-to-medium heat for fiberfill, or extra-low or no heat for down fill.
7. When the dryer is done, take the pillows out and check for any remaining moisture by squeezing them firmly in a few different areas. (Putting even slightly damp pillows back on your bed can result in mildew, so you'll want to make sure they're really dry!) Keep drying in 30-minute increments as necessary.
8. To keep your newly-clean pillows fresh, use a pillow protector under the pillowcase and allow the pillow to air out occasionally. And, of course, wash them again in no more than six months!
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