Instead of throwing away your bed pillows when they feel flat and look gross, wash them instead to see if they can look good as new.

You know you are supposed to wash your pillows, right? 

If it has been more than 6 months since you washed your pillows, then your pillows are overdue for a washing. 

Since most people sweat while sleeping, pillows and pillow cases can turn yellow just like under shirts. 

In order to get your bed pillows clean and back to the color white, try the following solutions:


How to Wash Pillows at Home and Make Them White Again Instead of Buying NewCare Instructions
Whether it is synthetic or down, always check the care instructions on your pillow before washing it . 

The care instructions should always be followed if available. 

Many memory foam pillows and some down pillows cannot be machine washed, however they can be hand washed.  For hand washing pillows that will not fit in your sink, consider washing them by hand in your bathtub.  You can also try vacuuming them or putting them in your dryer on a no-heat tumble setting.

If your pillow's washing instructions are unavailable, you can try using the directions below for washing pillows in a washing machine and hope for the best.

Make sure to remove the pillow cases and pillow covers before washing.


If your pillow has a hole in it, make sure to sew it completely shut before washing else the hole will likely get bigger and your washer or dryer will be filled with pillow stuffing.


Two at a Time
To keep your standard top loading washing machine balanced, it is best to wash 2 pillows at a time.

If you are only washing 1 pillow, put a folded up towel or two in the washer with the pillow to fill the empty space.

Place the pillows in the washer on their side horizontally and wash them like you would wash clothes.

If you have a smaller washing machine, they might not fit (especially king sized pillows).


Cleaner Options
If your pillows are still not white after washing thems using your usual detergent, here are a few options for cleaners to use. 

You may need to wash your pillows multiple times if they are very stained.

Chlorine Bleach
You can wash your pillows in hot water with chlorine bleach and your regular detergent. In order to ensure that the water in your washing machine starts out hot, run hot water in a nearby sink until it turns very hot before starting the washer.  If you start a hot water load without doing this, the water entering the washer will initially be cold, then become hot water, so you will end up with the cold water and hot water mixing to become warm water instead of the hot water you need.  You can even boil water in a kettle on your stove and add that boiling water to the washer if you desire extra hot water.  After the washer has agitated for about 5 minutes, stop the wash cycle for about an hour or two and let everything soak before starting the washer again.  Make sure to use an extra rinse cycle when using bleach to ensure the bleach is completely rinsed out.  You can even wash your pillows in just bleach then wash them another time using your normal detergent. Keep in mind that bleach tends to weaken fabric, so be careful not to use too much bleach, use bleach too often, or let the pillows soak in bleach for too long.

Borax, which is hydrated sodium borate, has been used for over 100 years as a detergent booster.  Add 1/2 cup of borax to your laundry to aid your regular detergent in cleaning and odor removal.  You can use borax with the bleach method above if you desire extra cleaning power.

Powdered Dishwasher Soap
You can add 1 cup of powdered dishwasher detergent to the washer in addition to bleach, detergent, and borax.  All 4 cleaners working together should get your pillows ultra white.

Vinegar & Hydrogen Peroxide
Some people like to wash their pillows with a mixture of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide (about 1/2 cup to 1 cup each).  Simply mix your regular detergent with the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide and wash in your washing machine with hot water.


Dry your pillows in the dryer, but add dryer balls or new tennis balls to the dryer to fluff the pillows as they dry. 

Do not dry foam pillows in the dryer, hang them to dry instead.

An additional way to whiten pillows is to hang them outside to dry where the sun will bleach them and make them smell fresh.


Tips and Tricks

If you have allergies or sweat a lot, you should probably wash your bed pillows at least once a month. 

Use a pillow protector to keep your pillows from getting as dirty.

Many experts believe you should only keep a synthetic bed pillow for 2 to 3 years and a down pillow for 5 to 7 years to ensure good neck support and a good night's sleep.

Another way to determine whether you need a new pillow is to fold it in half.  If it springs open, then it is most likely still good.  If it stays folded, then you probably need a new pillow.

Before throwing your pillow in the trash, contact local animal shelters to see if they might want it.


For more information on washing pillows, see the video below.


You might also like the article How to Get a Dishwasher to Clean Better.


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