May 21, 2014

6 Steps to Clean Pillows & Sweet Dreams

Teenage Girl Sleeping with Teddy Bear

The sheets get changed at least once a week, maybe twice because I just love the feel of clean, fresh sheets. So why did it never dawn on me that the pillow(s) upon which I lie my head each night also needed a tumble in the washing machine now and then?

Turns out washing pillows is pretty easy, and you don't need to wash them as frequently as you wash your sheets. Washing every six months or so is enough to keep them fluffy and relatively germ-free. Here's how:

1. Check the label to make sure that your pillow can be machine washed (most can be). If you can't find the care label and you have down or fiberfill pillows, you're still in luck.

2. Toss two pillows in the washing machine at a time. This way, the machine will stay balanced while it spins.

3. Use mild liquid detergent rather than powder detergent — powder will leave residue on your pillows.

4. Use warm water and choose the gentle cycle. It's also a good idea to add on an extra cold-water rinse and spin to make sure that the detergent is completely removed from the pillow.

5. Tumble dry pillows on low heat, and add in a couple of tennis balls wrapped in white socks to help refluff.

6. Your pillows should be completely dry before you take them back to bed. Even slight dampness can lead to mold.

Foam or Memory Foam Pillows?

Forget the washing machine. Wet foam is heavy and tears easily. Some foam pillows include instructions for hand washing. If you choose to hand wash, be very gentle and let the pillow air dry completely before using it again. Otherwise, spot-clean any soiled areas with a cloth dipped in a mild sudsy solution. Rinse with a damp cloth. Allow the pillow to air dry completely before putting it back on the bed.

To remove dust from foam pillows use your vacuum's upholstery tool or tumble the pillow in the dryer on the no-heat or air-only cycle for 20 minutes.

What unusual cleaning chores have you tackled lately?

About Greenwrite
Greenwrite is a prolific writer with an eclectic range of specialties that reflects her curiosity for just about everything. A former advertising creative director, she makes her home in Vermont, but escapes to a sunny beach whenever the opportunity presents itself.