Bedding Care Guide:

Washing Pillows

It’s quite the dilemma: when a pillow becomes old and flat or just slightly dingy, do you throw it away and get a new one, or do you try to revitalize this cushion you’ve become so attached to?

Of course a new pillow will be, well… brand new, but sometimes you can breathe life back into the cushion which has supported you through so many nights of sleep. That’s why we’ve created a guide with some great tips to help you return your pillows to the soft clouds you’ve always wanted to sleep on.

If you need more justification for washing your pillows monthly, see the disturbing facts about dead skin, bacteria, and other nasty things in the infographic to the right.

Item of note: When washing your pillows always follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. This is usually found on the tag.

Step #1 The Wash

The first step of washing pillows is to get them wet.

Foam, feather and down pillows need to be hand-washed. We’ve found the best way to take care of this is in the bathtub. First clean the tub well and then fill about ¼ of the way with lukewarm water and a normal laundry-load’s worth of detergent. Dunk the pillows and knead them gently, working in the soapy water. Then use the showerhead to rinse the pillows well and wring them out. Wrap in a dry bath towel and squeeze to try to get as much moisture out of the pillow as possible.


For all other pillows you can use the washing machine on a gentle cycle. Use a normal amount of laundry detergent and keep the water on cold or warm (not hot). The best washing machines for pillows are actually top loading machines because you can put one on either side of the basin. This keeps the machine from becoming unbalanced and causing a loud knocking sound, and possibly leading to severe damage. Front loading machines work, but you have to keep an ear open.

PRO-TIP: Evaluate your pillow type

Before doing anything, make sure you know what kind of pillow you are dealing with. This can make a big difference in the way you want to wash your pillow. If you are dealing with a down or feather-filled pillow for example, you do not want to use a washing machine, because the high agitation and fast spin cycles can do some serious damage. In some cases this can lead to a washer full of feathers. Look at the tag (if it hasn’t been removed) to find this information and you also might discover some care instructions.

Additives, like bleach and fabric softener, can be used sparingly if recommended by the manufacturer, but keep in mind that you will be putting your face on this for 7-8 hours every night. Who wants to breathe in bleach fumes while they sleep?

Step #2 The Dry

When your pillows are ready to be dried you can use the dryer, but be cautious. Keep the heat on low/medium and don’t use an auto-dry setting. The sensors in your high-tech dryer will only detect surface dryness, so your pillows will almost certainly still be holding water at the end. Before putting them into the dryer you will want to make sure that the fill in the pillows hasn’t gone all to one end of the encasement. Spread out the fill again, about halfway through drying.

You can also hang dry your pillows outside if the weather is nice. This is honestly a preferred method if possible. It is less damaging on the pillows and leads to a more consistent shape. One tip when line drying your pillows is to hang them sideways and not longways, so that all of the fill doesn’t get pulled down to one end.

Step #3 The Fluff

One of our favorite tricks for washing pillows is tennis balls.

Tennis balls? You heard right.

Grab a few clean tennis balls, put them in separate socks, and throw them in the dryer with your pillows. As they bounce around your dryer they will fluff your pillows and keep the fill from bunching up. This also leads to a more consistent dryness throughout the cushion and shorter drying times.

One customer even swears by throwing a clean shoe in with her pillows, but we cannot attest to the effectiveness of this.

If you are looking for something a little more refined than tennis balls or shoes, you can find products called dryer balls that are often made of wool or a synthetic material that do the exact same thing. Just try to get ones that are heavy enough to fluff your pillows while they dry.

Washing Pillows - The Wash
Washing Pillows - The Dry
Washing Pillows - The Fluff

And that’s it! Follow these instructions and you’ve got yourself a clean, fluffy pillow to lay down with at night. Or skip the hassle and buy yourself a fresh new pillow. You deserve it!

Slumber Cloud pillows have temperature regulating technology built right in, to give you a more comfortable, restful night’s sleep. You should also consider purchasing covers to protect your newly purchased pillows. These pillow covers are a full encasement just underneath your normal pillow case.

How do you wash your pillows? Submit your helpful tips in the comments section below.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *