How to Wash Pillows in the Washing Machine Safely?

Let’s be honest, pillows are often the last thing that people think about washing.

It not only sounds overwhelming to wash but also looks like a time-consuming task.

But wait!

Washing pillows aren’t that difficult and it is not at all time-consuming.

On the contrary, it takes the same amount of time to wash a pillow as it does to wash your regular laundry items.

It’s just that it takes a while to dry.

At some point, you will have to wash your pillow as they can actually be a breeding ground for dust mites and other allergens if not washed in a timely manner.

In this post, you will learn how to wash pillows safely and effectively in a washing machine as well as by hand.

Here is the list of topics covered in this post.

Why You Should Wash Pillows?

Pillows come in contact with your face and hair all night long, so it’s important to wash them regularly.

Just like bed sheets, pillows can collect dust mites, which are tiny creatures that thrive in warm and humid environments.

Dust mites are known to cause allergies and asthma, so it’s important to keep them away from your sleeping area.

Washing your pillows regularly is the best way to keep dust mites and allergies at bay.

Furthermore, washing your pillows regularly will also keep your bedroom looking fresh and clean.

How Often Or How Frequently Should You Wash Pillows?

Ideally, pillows should be washed every six months, or consider washing them every month if you have allergic to dust, pet hair, or other allergens.

If you have pets at home, you may need to increase the frequency.

At the very least, pillowcases should be washed every one to two weeks if you have pets at home.

With that said, a lot depends on the type of pillows and their usage.

If your pillows are working overtime, then it’s best to stick to a monthly schedule, and weekly or bi-weekly if you have pets.

How Do Pillows Accumulate Dirt?

We tend to choose different attires daily but what about pillows? We use pillows every day, whether it is while sleeping at night or during a small power nap of the day.

It is quite common for a pillow to accumulate dirt through regular contact with the human body as well as pets.

Pillows are placed as per your comfort, either below a waist, knee, foot, or head.

This is where the pillows attract dirt, sweat, oil, makeup, etc.

A spill of juice, water, coffee, or other food items is another reason why they need to be washed.

Pillows that are secured with a pillowcase or cover are an exception from regular cleaning.

Depending on the conditions you should wash a pillowcase at least once every 2 weeks.

Can Pillows be Washed in the Washing Machine?

In General, PIllows can be washed in the washing machine, unless the care label recommends any other method.

Just be sure to use the gentle cycle and only wash one or two at a time so they have enough room to move around.

With that said, make sure that you are using mild detergent and avoid fabric softeners.

If your pillow is made of foam, you can place them in a mesh bag and then put it in the washing machine.

Placing pillows in Mesh Laundry Bag helps to protect pillows from damage during washing.

So, the majority of pillows, including those made of cotton, feather, or down material, can be placed in a mesh bag and washed in the washing machine in a gentle cycle with Warm OR Cold water settings.

Does the Type of the Washer Matter?

You can use any type of machine to clean pillows, as long as it has an agitator and gentle cycle settings.

The only pre-requisite is to make sure that the pillows are always washed in warm or cold water settings along with a low spin speed.

So, the type of washing machine does not matter as long as you are able to control the spin speed.

With that said, a front-load washer without an agitator is considered to be gentler as compared to a top-load washer with agitators.

How To Wash Pillows In A Washing Machine? (The Right Way)

Washing pillows in a washing machine is easy and not as overwhelming as you might think.

In fact, it is one of the easiest things and does not require any special preparation.

In order to wash pillows using a washer, follow the below step-by-step instructions.

Instructions to Wash Pillows in a Washing Machine.

Step 1: Read the Care Label

In order to wash any fabric, the first step that you should take is to go through the care label thoroughly.

In most cases, the care label will have important instructions and information that you should not ignore.

Not all fabrics and pillows are made the same.

Some may be suitable for machine wash and machine drying, while others may not go well with dryers and washers.

Therefore, go through the care label, it won’t take much time to get this step completed.

Step 2: Spot Treat Minor Stains

This is an important step as you may not get the desired results if the stains are not eliminated OR loosened before you put the pillows in your washer.

Here’s how you spot treat the stains on your pillow.

  • Apply some mild detergent diluted in water to the stained area.
  • Next, gently rub the stained area with your fingertips or a soft brush.
  • Rinse the area with warm water.
  • Repeat steps 2-4 if necessary.
  • Allow the area to air dry or blot dry with a clean, dry cloth.

Note: Always spot treat your pillows as soon as it gets dirty to avoid permanent stains. A lot of time if stains are not treated right away, it tends to settle into and become permanent.

Step 3: Put Pillow in Mesh Laundry Bag

The next step is to take a mesh laundry bag and put the pillow in them.

It keeps the pillow from getting tangled in the washing machine and it is gentle to the pillow, therefore limiting the wear and tear.

Step 4: Put the Pillow in the Washer

Now, put the pillow in the washer.

Just make sure that you don’t wash any other items along with the pillow.

If you still want to wash pillows along with other laundry items, it’s highly recommended to space out the pillows so that your washer does not get a hard time going through the cycles.

Step 5: Add Laundry Detergent

Once you have placed the pillow in the washer, it’s time to pour some suitable laundry detergent into the washer.

So, pour a mild detergent into the washer’s detergent compartment.

Step 6: Set the Washer

Next, set the washer to the right wash settings.

Here are the ideal settings to wash pillows in the washing machine.

  • Soil Level: Normal
  • Wash Type: Gentle/Delicate
  • Water Temperature: Cold
  • Pre-Wash: Not Required if pre-treated

Step 7: Hit the Start Button

Once you have gone through the prep work, it’s time to hit the start button.

Let the washer complete the wash cycle.

Step 8: Dry the Pillow

After the wash cycle is completed, the final step is to dry the pillow.

To start with, let the pillow spin dry for a while so that excess water is flushed out.

Next, air-dry the pillow by hanging them.

You may even use a dryer depending on the type of pillow.

Not all pillows can be machine dried, therefore it’s important to read the care label before choosing the drying approach.

Stay away from machine drying if your pillow is made of foam as they do not tolerate heat well and are prone to catching fire.

Note: If your pillow has a removable cover, strip it off and wash that separately. Check the care label to see if the cover is machine-washable. If it is, wash it in warm water on the delicate cycle. If not, you can hand-wash it or dry-clean it.

How to Handwash Pillows? (Step by Step)

Hand washing any laundry item gives you control over the washing process.

It allows you to be gentle OR aggressive while washing.

Furthermore, it’s much faster than a washer, as you get to work on the stains while you rinse the pillow.

Handwashing a pillow is simple as you only need Pillow, Mild Detergent, Tub OR Sink, and Cold or warm water.

Let’s take a quick look at the process to wash pillow by hand.

Step 1: Pour Water into the Sink or Tub

Start by pouring cold OR warm water into the tub or sink, sufficient enough to soak the number of pillows that you are planning to wash.

Step 2: Mix Mild detergent

Next, add mild detergent in a limited quantity OR as per the instructions on the detergent instruction label.

And then, gently swish the water in the tub or sink so that the detergent mixes well.

Step 3: Soak the Pillow

Now soak the pillow in the tub OR sink filled with detergent solution.

Let it soak for 5 minutes so that the detergent solution can do its magic.

Step 4: Wash the Pillow

The next step is to hand wash the pillow using a soft brush for removing any stains.

Once the stains have been removed, hand wash them and make sure you reach every corner of the pillow.

Step 5: Rinse the Pillow

Once the pillows have been washed, rinse them in clean water so that the detergent residues are washed away.

Step 6: Dry the Pillow

Air-Dry the pillow by either hanging them on a clothesline OR depending on the material type you can opt for tumble drying.

Just be sure to read the care label before opting for air-drying option.

How to Wash Pillows With Baking Soda? (Easy Way)

In order to wash pillows with baking soda, you will need:

  • ½ Cup of baking soda
  • 2 cups of water
  • Mild Detergent
  • Pillows that need to be washed

Once you have the above ingredients ready, follow the below step-by-step instructions to wash pillows using baking soda.

Instructions to wash pillows using baking soda

There are two ways to use baking soda, let’s take a look at both the methods below.

Method 1: Presoaking in Baking Soda

Step 1: First, mix the baking soda and water together and make sure that the baking soda is fully dissolved.

Step 2: Next, fill a tub or sink with water and pour the baking soda solution.

Step 3: Soak the pillow in the solution for approx. 10 minutes before machine washing them.

Step 4: Add mild detergent to the detergent dispense tray.

Step 4: Then, Machine-Wash the pillows on a gentle cycle and cold water OR warm water settings.

Step 5: Air Dry the pillow

Method 2: Machine Wash

The other method to wash pillows is to directly wash them using baking soda.

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Prepare the baking soda solution by mixing ½ cup baking soda and 2 cups water.

Step 2: Pour the solution into the detergent dispenser compartment.

Step 3: Set the washer to delicate cycle and cold water settings.

Step 4: Run the wash cycle

Step 5: Air Dry the pillow.

How to Wash Feather or Down Pillows?

The process to wash feather OR down pillows will remain the same.

You just need to be extra careful with water temperature.

Down pillows do not like hot water, therefore it’s recommended to wash them using cold water.

To wash your feather or down pillows, simply put them in the washing machine on a delicate cycle with a mild detergent and cold water settings.

With that said, be sure to use a down-specific detergent if you are able to get one, OR else mild detergent should do the trick.

After the cycle is complete, put the pillows in the dryer on a low setting.

Lastly, don’t forget to fluff them up by gently patting them.

Also Read: How to Wash Pillow Pet?

Can Pillows Be Put Into The Dryer?

You can put pillows in the dryer, but it’s not recommended.

Foam pillows will shrink and become misshapen, and the pillow that is recommended to air-dry will become hard and crunchy.

If you still want to put pillows in the dryer, use low heat and remove them as soon as they’re dry.

How to Dry Pillows? (the right way)

There are different ways to dry your pillows.

The most common way is to hang them for air-drying on a clothesline, but you can also tumble dry on low heat settings depending on the material type.

However, all of these options can affect the pillows.

For instance, if you tumble dry your pillow made of foam on high heat, it may pose a risk of catching fire.

Air-Drying is considered to be a safer option.

Once the pillows are dried, you can later pat and fluff them up.

When Should You Replace Your Pillows?

It’s recommended to replace your pillow every 18 to 24 months.

Most professionals advise changing pillows every one to two years in order to stay free of allergens and maintain good hygiene.

With that said, the duration may vary drastically depending on the usage and the type of pillow you are using.

For example, If you have pets at home you may need to replace them much faster. On the other hand, if you use your pillows scarcely, the replacement period may go well beyond 2 years.

Similarly, A latex pillow could last up to three years and beyond, while a polyester pillow might only last a year or two max.

So, considering you don’t have pets at home and you regularly use a pillow, the ideal time to replace a pillow should be around 18 months.

Final Thoughts

No matter what method you choose for washing, it’s extremely important to go through the care label first.

If the care label recommends not to machine wash pillows, it’s best to hand wash them.

In some cases, the care label may recommend dry clean only so read the instructions carefully.

Also, don’t forget to replace the pillows every two years to maintain hygiene and stay away from allergy-causing dust and mites.

Lastly, always spot clean your pillows the moment there is any spillage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some common questions related to washing pillows.

How do I bleach pillows in the washing machine?

If you’re looking to freshen up your pillows, bleaching them in the washing machine could be a better option. Before you do this ensure that the pillow is bleach washable, you may need to check the care label. If they are suitable for bleaching then you may follow the below steps.

  • Start by mixing ½ cup bleach in a bowl of water, and mix the solution thoroughly.
  • Next, add your pillows to the washing machine and pour in the bleach solution.
  • Run the cycle on a warm setting and then dry your pillows on low heat.
  • Once they are dry, gently tap and fluff them up.

How many pillows can I wash in my washing machine?

If you have a lot of pillows, do not try to put them together in your washing machine at once. It depends on the size of your machine and the type of pillows you have. For most standard-size washing machines, you can wash two to four pillows at a time. If you have larger pillows or down-filled pillows, you may only be able to wash one or two at a time. When deciding how many pillows to wash at once, also consider their weight. Heavier pillows will take longer, so you may want to wash them in smaller batches.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)