How to clean pillows

Clean pillows are essential for maintaining good hygiene and ensuring a restful night’s sleep. However, many people overlook the importance of regular pillow cleaning, which can lead to a variety of issues. In this article, we will explore effective methods to clean different types of pillows, discuss why pillows get dirty, and provide additional tips for pillow care. Let’s dive in!

clean pillows

Why Do Pillows Get Dirty?

Pillows can accumulate sweat, oil, and dirt over time, making them a breeding ground for allergens and dust mites. These microscopic pests can trigger allergies and respiratory problems, leading to discomfort during sleep. Regular cleaning is crucial to maintain a clean and healthy sleeping environment.

Regular Maintenance:

To keep your pillows in good condition, it’s essential to perform regular maintenance. Start by fluffing your pillows daily to restore their shape and remove dust and debris. Additionally, washing your pillowcases frequently will help prevent the buildup of oils and sweat on the surface of the pillows.

Cleaning Different Pillow Types:

Different types of pillows require specific cleaning methods. Synthetic pillows are generally machine washable, making them relatively easy to clean. On the other hand, down and feather pillows require more delicate care. Memory foam pillows should not be machine washed but can be cleaned through alternative methods.

Machine Washing Pillows:

Before machine washing your pillows, check the care label for specific instructions. Most synthetic pillows can be safely washed in a machine using a gentle cycle. It’s important to balance the load with additional items to prevent the pillows from becoming lopsided. After washing, thoroughly dry the pillows using low heat or an air-dry setting, and fluff them afterward to restore their loftiness.

Hand Washing Pillows:

For down and feather pillows, hand washing is the preferred method. Create a cleaning solution by mixing a mild detergent with warm water. Submerge the pillows in the solution and agitate them gently. Rinse thoroughly and squeeze out excess water before air-drying the pillows.

Removing Stains and Odors:

Stains and odors can make pillows unappealing. Treat common stains by applying a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and dish soap directly to the stained area, gently rubbing it in, and then rinsing thoroughly. To tackle odors, sprinkle baking soda on the pillows and let it sit for several hours before vacuuming it off.

Additional Tips for Pillow Care:

To prolong the lifespan of your pillows, consider using pillow protectors underneath the pillowcases. These protective covers act as a barrier against sweat, oils, and stains. Additionally, sunning and airing out pillows periodically can help eliminate moisture and odors. Remember to replace old and worn-out pillows to ensure optimal comfort and support.


Maintaining clean and fresh pillows is essential for both hygiene and a good night’s sleep. By regularly cleaning and caring for your pillows, you can create a healthier sleeping environment, free from allergens and dust mites. Invest time in cleaning your pillows using suitable methods according to their types, and follow additional tips to keep them in the best possible condition. Sleep well and wake up feeling refreshed!


  1. How often should I clean my pillows? It is recommended to clean your pillows every 3 to 6 months, depending on usage and personal preference.
  2. Can I wash memory foam pillows in a machine? No, machine washing memory foam pillows can damage their structure. Instead, spot clean them or follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. What if my pillow is not machine washable? If your pillow is not machine washable, consider hand washing it using a gentle detergent or spot cleaning the stains.
  4. How do I remove stubborn stains from a pillow? To remove stubborn stains, apply a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and dish soap to the stained area, gently rub it in, and then rinse thoroughly.
  5. When should I replace my pillows? It’s time to replace your pillows when they become lumpy, flat, or no longer provide adequate support for a good night’s sleep.

Sharing Is Caring:

The Howtowise team has helped thousands of homemakers fix their household problems with step-by-step tutorials. Howtowise has been featured in The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, Lifehacker, and more.