When sprucing up your house or deep cleaning, you can easily forget about your pillows. Despite the fact that they are used every single day for several hours, we can so easily overlook having to clean them.

Pillows collect dust and bacteria which is why it is important to ensure that you’re keeping them clean, for hygiene reasons, and for your and your family’s health.

Here are what the experts have to say about cleaning your pillows the right way.


Your first port of call is to wash them. You must first determine whether it is safe to machine wash them or not. You might want to wash them in pairs, in order to ensure the weight is balanced as they will become heavy due to the water.

Most can be washed with warm water, a gentle cycle, and a little mild detergent.

Check for any holes or small tears, because if it is damaged, this can cause a huge mess, and these should not be machine washed.

Pillows should be washed in a front-loading machine.

It will take some time for it to fully dry. If you decide to tumble dry them, you might need to give it extra time even if their exterior feels dry. Consider adding clean dryer balls or towels to help speed up the drying process.

Checking that a pillow is completely dry before putting on a pillowcase and placing it back into your bed is important. If you did so and there is still some moisture, this can lead to mold growth!

Some suggest washing them twice a year. If you live in a warm, humid area, you should do it more than this. This is because dust mites thrive in this weather and so you should aim to wash your pillows once every few months.



Not every pillow should be dried in a tumble dryer. Like some of our clothes, pillows have different washing and drying requirements as well to ensure they remain intact. One thing you could do to dry them is to try sunning your pillows, laying them out in the sun, especially when the sun is at its peak. This way, you disinfect them naturally. It also helps to fluff them up, as they can get fairly flat as they are so consistently used.

You could also sun them even if they haven’t been washed as this will help them to fluff up. Whilst sleeping, the moisture from sweat and drool ends up in the pillows. When placed directly in the sun for a few hours, that moisture evaporates and they will begin to fluff up.

This is an easy way to look after your pillows, as you simply need to open your curtains and ensure the sunlight is hitting them.

Sunlight is also a natural disinfectant, with the UV rays being able to kill off bacteria, mold, and mildew. You can lay them outside or hang them, wherever they reach the sunlight best is ideal.



If you have foam pillows, you should not be washing them in a machine. Instead, you should vacuum them to clean any dust and spot clean with a damp cloth, dipped in a mild soap mix. You can place them in the sun however you like so you can be sure that any bacteria is being cleaned thoroughly, thanks to the power of the sun’s UV rays.

Foam pillows shouldn’t be machine washed because the wash cycle is too harsh for it. It is very likely the padding in it will break. On the other hand, if it has a removable cover, ensure this is removed and machine washed.

If you find that you’ve carried out all the steps above but your pillows are still looking worse for the wear, it might be time to replace them. Carry out a quick test by folding them in half, if it doesn’t bounce back to its original shape, it’s time to replace them.

Use these tips above to help you clean your pillows well. It’s an easily overlooked part of cleaning, however, once you’re done, you’ll feel that much better knowing that you’re sleeping on clean and fresh pillows.

Cleanliness is an important part of sleep hygiene, many people harbor dust allergies or other problems that could be exacerbated by an unclean pillow. We shed millions of cells every night during our sleep, and leave sweat, drool, and who knows what else is on our pillows. Pillowcases are not enough protection, which is probably why so many neglect their actual pillows. 

Ensure you reach the care instructions for each pillow so further damage is not caused. 

Published on Holr Magazine