How to Spring Clean Your Pillows

Are you starting to think about Spring Cleaning?  I am!

The sun is out in California which means you can see every bit of dust in every room. This time of year I start getting into a bit of a frenzy to make sure every room and closet and drawer gets cleaned out.   I also like to freshen things up and move out the winter stuff and lighten and brighten for spring and summer.

So I wanted to post about how to clean and dry pillows because I have a bit of an issue with pillows.  A long time ago I read a little tip in Real Simple magazine that your pillow can actually double in weight over time due to dust, dirt, skin cells and other nastiness best not to think about.

Is that just the grossest thing ever or what?  Like I don’t have enough problems, now I need to sleep with one eye open thinking of the yuckiness creeping into my pillow. #nothankyou

So I actually wash our pillows every 2 months because we have small children and a great big dog and such but I wanted to pass along some great tips to be sure your pillows are nice and clean for a great night of sleep.

Please note if you have a memory foam pillow these tips will not apply.

Tips to Clean Microfiber or Feather Pillows:

1. First check the pillow.  If it is yellowed or stained, you want to treat the pillow (see tip #4).  If your pillow seems pretty floppy and thin, it is probably time to just replace the pillow.  You should get fresh pillows about once a year or at least once every two years.

(Give your pillow a karate chop in the center and fold it over. If it stays in the folded position it is for sure time to replace.  If it bounces back to a flat position you have a nice pillow and no need to replace.)

2. Pillows should be washed in the washing machine every 3 months.  Check the care instructions first on your pillow but if you cut off that tag you should be able to just pop them in the washing machine.  You want to wash with hot or warm water and it is very important to get the moisture out from washing the pillow (or it can get moldy inside and seriously how gross is that?)   A second spin cycle on the washing machine is a great idea to really push out a lot of moisture.

If you feel fancy you can put a few drops of essential oils (lavender is nice or maybe rosemary or something calming) in the rinse cycle to give them a hint of fragrance.  Your face will be smooshed into the pillow so if fragrances bother you or you have any skin issues don’t do this :) .  

3. When you are ready to put the pillow in the washing machine, try to push all the air out of your pillows first and add 2 pillows at a time to balance the load.   If you have a top load washing machine, try to fit the pillows in vertically instead of horizontally so they don’t get wrapped around the thing-y in the middle of the washing machine.    If you really smash the pillows down to get all the air out it will help to fit them in the washing machine.  (I have King size pillows on our bed so I have to go Crocodile Dundee style on my pillows to squish them enough to fit nicely inside our front load washer.)

4. If you have yellowed pillows or pillows that are a tiny bit smelly- you can try a few things.  First you can add 1/2 cup baking soda or 1/2 cup vinegar with your laundry soap to the machine.  The vinegar is for odor and the baking soda helps with both odor and stains.   If your pillows are really in need of TLC from staining and such I would use the hot water for sure on your load.

And once they are nice and clean it is time to dry the pillows:

1. As mentioned above it is super important to get all the moisture out.  It is best to dry the pillows on a low setting for a long time as opposed to a short time on a hot setting.

2. I like to add two tennis balls to my dryer and the bouncing motion of the tennis balls does two things- it helps fluff the pillows and it also helps to beat the heck out of the moisture inside the pillows. Depending on your tennis balls- if they have that yucky plastic-y smell to them or they are a bright color, you might want to pop the tennis balls inside a clean, white sock first.  That will protect your pillow against any odor and discoloration.

(Side note–I have tennis balls on hand because they are awesome for working out tight shoulder muscles or pain from exercise.  Just position your back against a wall and put the tennis ball where it hurts and push.  Almost like a mini massage.)

3. Once you think the pillows have dried long enough take them out and give them a giant hug.  You are feeling for any moisture and you might as well push your head into the pillow and smell.  (My family already thinks I am crazy so they wouldn’t bat an eye at this, but if you have yours fooled into thinking you are normal you might do this in a private place.)  You are smelling for any dampness and if it does still smell damp just toss back in the dryer.

All done!  You can hit the hay tonight knowing you have perfectly washed and clean pillows.  Yeah!