Pillows need seasonal cleanings

It’s important to regularly clean bedding, which includes mattress covers, sheets, blankets and, of course, pillows.

Pillowcases and pillow protectors should be cleaned once every month, while pillows should be cleaned seasonally. Pillows that are not regularly cleaned will begin to build up with dead skin cells, dust mites, mold, mildew and fungus.

Synthetic, cotton and down pillows can be hand washed, machine washed or dry-cleaned. It is important to read the care instructions on the pillow tag before attempting to wash a pillow.

Most pillows are machine washable for consumer convenience, however, if a pillow is old and the care instructions can no longer be read, either throw out the old pillow and buy a new one or follow these instructions.

Hand washing

When deciding to hand wash a pillow, choose a mild detergent. Fill a tub with warm water, add detergent and a half cup of bleach. If the pillow is a color other than white, use color-safe bleach.

Wash the pillow gently by squeezing the pillow from one end to the other. Rinse the pillow thoroughly with fresh water to remove the detergent. Squeeze the pillow one section at a time to drain excess water.

Machine washing

Begin by allowing the washing machine to fill half way with water. Next, pour detergent and a half cup of bleach into the machine until completely diluted by the water. If the pillow is a color other than white, use color-safe bleach.

Squeeze the air out of the pillow, place it into the washing machine, and set the washer on the gentle cycle. Use the spin-dry feature twice to ensure that most water has been removed.


After hand or machine washing, place the pillow into the dryer with two tennis balls and dry on medium heat for two cycles. The tennis balls will help evenly distribute the microfiber blend, down or cotton and add fluff back to the pillow.

Once the dryer has finished both cycles, the pillow is almost ready to be returned to the bed. However, even though the pillow may feel dry, the inside might still contain moisture. It’s important to ensure the pillow is completely dry before putting a pillowcase back on it to prevent mold from growing.

Remove the pillow from the dryer and place it on a flat, moisture-free surface that allows air to pass through (a sweater drying rack works well). Keep the pillow there for a day to allow it to completely dry.

Information courtesy Lands End

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