Pillow talk. It’s usually sexy and almost never about how clean or dirty your pillows actually are. We get asked all the time here at the CMS HQ about how to clean pillows properly. Well, I’ve investigated the situation, and have discovered the best way to clean a pillow—an often overlooked cleaning task! There’s also a fairly quick test you can do that’ll let you know when it’s time to replace your pillows. If they do pass the test, then you can use the pillow cleaning method explained below to clean your pillows quickly and easily! Oh, just a quick warning, this may get gross!
The Pillow Replacement Test
Did you know that your pillow doubles in weight over a span of time from absorbing dust, mold, oil, bacteria, allergens, and dead skin cells when we sleep on them? Oh joy! To test if you need a new pillow simply fold your pillow in half. If it doesn’t bounce back, get rid of it, it’s time for a new pillow. If it springs to life when folded over, it’s still good!
Best Pillow Cleaning Practices
As a general rule, you should wash your pillows 3 times a year, and replace them once every 2 years—unless you take really good care of them and can’t part ways with a pillow you absolutely love! I usually wait until they go on sale, because what department store isn’t having their year’s biggest bargain-basement-blowout sale on the exact weekend you need new pillows?
Fillings, Nothing More Than Fillings…
You can wash polyester and feather-filled pillows the same way. For memory foam or silk pillows, wash them separately and follow product care instructions. You will never be able to get the water out of a memory foam pillow (they are ‘cellular’ and won’t release soap or water) and silk pillows are a whole other scenario. I’ve never met anyone with a silk pillow nor have had the opportunity to clean one so I cannot speak from experience and have not come across any solid information on how to do it. I’d recommend taking the pillow to a dry cleaner.
How To Clean Your Pillows
- Use a gentle detergent that is ideally scent-free.
- Press out as much air as possible before loading it into the washer.
- For top load washers, do 2 at a time for balance (or else you will hear a loud knocking sound coming from your washer and may think there is a monster, Chuckee or Jason in your basement and who the heck needs that additional stress?).
- Front load washers don’t have an agitator so you can do 1-2 per load. Set your machine to run a full cycle using warm water. Run a second spin cycle to help eliminate excess moisture. By removing excess moisture, you’ll help reduce mold growth and any unpleasant odors from developing.
- To dry, take 2 tennis balls and split them into 2 socks. Tie the socks to secure the tennis balls in place. The tennis balls will help beat out excess moisture while putting them in socks will prevent the smell and color of the tennis ball from transferring to your pillows. Put the pillows in the dryer using a low heat setting. It may take a few cycles to fully dry the pillows. Once dry, take a deep smell of the pillow to test if there’s still moisture in the pillow.
BONUS PILLOW CLEANING TIP!
If your pillow smells, add half a cup of baking soda into the wash. If your pillow is musty, moldy or has mildew, throw in some vinegar into the wash cycle.