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Creating the perfect bed requires a few essentials. One of these is a clean pillow. Washing your pillows regularly can help decrease allergies and improve overall sleep quality. We believe that a pillow is more than a place to rest your head. By washing your synthetic, down, feather, and foam pillows regularly, you can support healthy sleep for yourself, your family, and your guests.

The Use of Pillow Protectors is a Must

Pillow protectors are a must both for the protection of the pillow and the sleeper.  Zippered pillow protectors offer a superior level of protection from moisture and allergens while minimizing wear and tear. They should be checked each time the pillowcase is removed.  Pillow protectors should be washed at least monthly, or more frequently, if they become soiled. Pillowcases should be washed every week, or more frequently, if they become soiled. Regular washing will reduce the lotion, dust, moisture, and skins cells shed during sleep, all of which become trapped in the material.

How Often Should I Wash My Pillows?

We recommend washing your pillows twice a year if you use pillow protectors. If you do not utilize pillow protectors, you will want to wash your pillow more often. If your family experiences a higher level of allergies or lives in a warmer climate, washing pillows quarterly can help reduce allergy-related symptoms. You should certainly wash pillows immediately if they become soiled.

The Best Tips for Washing Your Pillows

Washing pillows is easy, a small step to take with the major payback of ensuring your pillows are clean for your friends and family to enjoy. This process varies slightly depending on whether you own synthetic, down, feather, or foam pillows. These steps were created with each in mind so you have long-lasting pillows that continue to support healthy sleep.

Before you wash your pillows, confirm they are machine washable, the recommended temperature, and a suitable cycle. Manufacturers often recommend the delicate setting. For the best results, follow these pillow-washing guidelines based on the pillow’s fill.

Down Etc.’s Top Tip: Wash two pillows at once to evenly distribute the load while washing. This helps reduce the wear on your washing machine, as well as minimizing excess noise during the wash cycle.

Synthetic Pillows

Before washing your synthetic pillow, check its quality. Fold it in half and release. If it stays folded, it’s time to replace it. The material inside won’t withstand the washing cycle, nor will it provide suitable support for your head and neck. If a pillow like this is washed, the material will break down and leave the pillow flat and unsupportive. 

We also recommend rolling synthetic pillows lengthwise to avoid clumping. Use rubber bands  around the pillow on each end and in the center to keep them rolled throughout the wash cycle. Liquid detergents leave less residue than powders, though we recommend running a second rinse cycle to ensure none remains.

Then, lay flat to dry. Before placing it inside the pillow protector and pillowcase, fluff the pillow and make sure it’s completely dry. A damp pillow inside a pillow protector can lead to mildew, increasing the risk of allergies.

Down Pillows

Washing down pillows, like our Diamond Support Down and Feather Pillow, involves a similar process. Add the pillows to the washing machine and add a low amount of mild detergent. Low-sudsing detergents like Woolite work best. Even when using this special laundry detergent, we recommend running a second rinse cycle.

Transfer the pillows to the dryer and add two wool laundry balls. (New tennis balls will work in a pinch.) These laundry balls help fluff the pillows while drying, resulting in a clean, fluffy pillow you won’t be able to resist.

If your down pillows require air drying, lay them outside on a towel on a sunny day to dry them faster. If that isn’t an option, lay them on top of the washing machine until fully dry. Fluff the pillows to make sure they are dry and the down is evenly spread. Once your are sure they are thoroughly dry, place your down pillows into freshly laundered pillow protectors and pillowcases.

Feather Pillows

Feather pillows are also machine-friendly, as long as there are no holes in the encasing. Balance the load with two pillows, add a small amount of low-sudsing detergent, and run on the delicate setting. Feather pillows also benefit from a second rinse cycle. If your feather pillows can be placed in the dryer, make sure to add wool dryer balls to help the fluffing process.

Feather pillows can clump easily, which is why we recommend stopping the dryer once or twice to fluff them by hand. Carefully break up the clumps, then restart the drying cycle. If the pillows still smell musty after drying, set out in the sun until they dry completely.

Once these feather pillows are dry, slide them back into your pillow protectors and pillowcases and enjoy a restful night’s sleep on fresh-smelling pillows.

Foam Pillows

Washing foam pillows is a more involved process because they can’t be machine-washed. Remove the pillow protectors and pillowcases and wash separately from the pillows. Use this opportunity to decrease the total water used by washing with other bedding.

Vacuum the foam pillows with an upholstery tool, decreasing the suction level if possible. Spot clean any soiled areas with a damp cloth and a very small amount of mild laundry detergent. Air dry completely before placing back into pillow protectors. If your dryer has a no heat or air-only setting, a short cycle is suitable for foam pillows.

While some foam pillows have instructions for hand washing, we recommend following them only if the light wash method doesn’t work. Wet foam tears easily, making hand washing a foam pillow a delicate process. Our Essential Memory Foam Pillow is built to withstand years of use, but gentle washing will always help them last longer.

What if the Labels are Gone on My Pillows?

If the labels are no longer attached to your pillows, choose the conservative option when laundering. Use a mild detergent, wash on a delicate cycle, and dry flat in the sun. This will help keep your pillows in beautiful condition.

Washing your pillows regularly is one of the best ways to support healthy sleep. It reduces allergens, freshens them up, and extends their life. Whether you use a synthetic, down, feather, or foam pillow, these washing tips will help you sleep better every night.

At Down Etc., our goal is to help you create an environment to ensure a great night’s sleep, every night. Healthy sleep is the foundation of health and wellness, and we’re honored to partner with you to create a relaxing and comforting bedroom oasis.

Updated Links August 1, 2022

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