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Yes, You Need to Wash Your Pillows — Here’s How to Do It

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Be honest: When was the last time you spot-treated or actually deep-cleaned your pillows? They’re a household item that we all often overlook when we’re tidying up, but knowing how to wash your pillows is critical to a fresh, clean bed — and peace of mind.

Why is it important to wash your pillows?

Even if you regularly wash your bedding and other linens, your pillows themselves slowly become a hotbed for dust, hair, dead skin, sweat, and other microscopic debris. If you think about it, it’s pretty gross to be lying in that for eight hours a night for months and years at a time, even if you use pillowcases.

Additionally, while pillow-washing is important for their longevity and for your health, you’re still going to want to replace your pillows every one to two years. Even with the best maintenance, they’ll lose their shape and support over time, and debris will slowly accumulate no matter how often you clean them if you’re using the same items for many years at a time.

How often should you wash them?

Luckily, you don’t need to wash your pillows weekly or even monthly; going through this process quarterly — only four times per year — will give them the deep clean they need without overdoing it.

How should you wash your pillows?

While you don’t have to go all in on scrubbing your pillows that often, they do require some ongoing maintenance to keep them fresh in between washings. Be sure to fluff your pillows out daily while you’re making your bed, and once a month, either run your pillows through a no-heat dryer cycle or hang them up outside on a sunny day. This allows them to air out and removes some of the loose debris.

After that, you’re ready to give those pillows a deeper clean every three months. The process will differ depending on the types of pillows you have. For down or feather pillows, you can run two pillows at a time through a cool rinse cycle in your washer with a mild detergent. Steer clear of any fabric-cleaning additions like fabric softener, and then throw them in the dryer on a no-heat setting.

For your memory foam pillows, you’ll want to avoid using your typical appliances since they can break down the structure of the foam and are also potentially flammable. Instead, use a handheld vacuum to extract any debris from the pillow, then spot-clean the pillow using the stain remover of your choice, a mild detergent, and a damp cloth. Leave pillows out flat to air dry, which may take more than a few hours.

The biggest element of washing your pillows that’s often overlooked is the drying process, so make sure your pillows are dried in a timely manner to avoid mildew. Spread them out so that they’re flat, and don’t leave them bunched up.

How can you wash your pillows without a washer or dryer?

Have down or feather pillows but don’t have a washer dryer at your disposal? You can still spot-treat those pillows like you would your memory foam ones, then set them in a dry place to air out.

With these easy steps, your pillows will feel like new, and you can rest easy every night knowing that they’re as fresh as possible.

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