Hotel-quality pillows help you drift off to dreamland quickly and sleep deeply. When you invest in your sleep by buying great pillows, you want to make sure they last. We’ll show you how to keep your new pillows clean and fluffy with the same level of care and attention that 5-star hotels use.
Down Pillow Maintenance Tips
Try these tips to keep your pillow in good condition between washes.
- Use a pillow protector. You can keep your pillow cleaner longer by using a pillow protector. A pillow protector is similar to a pillowcase, but it zips closed to fully protect the pillow. This goes on first, and then a pillowcase goes on top of that. Adding this additional protective layer prevents some of the dust, oil, and sweat from seeping into your pillow as you sleep. You will still need to launder your pillows, but they’ll be less soiled and the natural yellowing process will take longer.
- Wash pillowcases and protectors weekly. Treat them as you do your bed linens.
- Never go to bed with wet hair. This can lead to mildew, especially if your pillows are made from down.
- Fluff your pillow often. Gently pull your pillow in and out lengthwise and widthwise. This adds air into the pillow and helps maintain its loft. You can do this daily as part of your bed-making routine. This works for all pillows types except foam, which can’t be fluffed.
How Often Do You Need to Wash Pillows?
Over time, pillows collect sweat, body oils, skin cells, and dust mites. To keep them fresh and make them last longer, it’s important to wash them periodically. Washing your pillows every six months is a good rule of thumb. However, if you sweat a lot in your sleep, consider washing your pillows every three to four months.
How to Wash and Dry Down Pillows
The first step to washing a pillow — no matter what type it is — is to check the label. It may provide specific care instructions, such as dry clean only, that should be followed for best results.
For machine washable pillows, follow these steps:
- Take off the pillowcase and pillow protector (if using).
- Spot clean stains with a stain remover.
- Put the pillow in the washing machine. For top-loading washing machines, put pillows in vertically.
- Ensure the load is balanced by washing pillows in pairs.
- Wash the pillows with cold water on the gentle cycle using a mild detergent.
When washing pillows, it’s important to keep the size of your washer in mind. It’s generally a good idea to wash pillows in pairs to balance the load, but don’t force two pillows in if your washer is small. It’s more important to ensure your pillows have space to circulate in the wash. This ensures the detergent is properly distributed and keeps pillows from becoming misshapen.
How to Wash Down Pillows in a Front-Load Washer
Many down or feather pillows can be machine washed using the steps above. However, always check your pillow’s cleaning label first as some may be dry clean only.
If possible, always wash down and feather pillows in a front-load washer. This washer type doesn’t have a spindle in the center, allowing pillows to circulate easily without getting twisted or damaged.
Even if you have a front-loader at home, your down and feather pillows will benefit from a trip to the laundromat. Commercial washing machines are larger and give your pillows plenty of room during the wash cycle which allows them to hold their shape better.
Mild detergent, cold water, and a gentle wash cycle are especially important for down pillows to avoid damaging the delicate filling.
How to Wash Down Alternative Pillows
Most down alternative pillows can be machine washed using the steps above. Unless the pillow’s label indicates otherwise, it shouldn’t need any special modifications.
How to Wash Foam Pillows
Foam pillows must be hand washed. Putting them in the washing machine will break down the foam and ruin the pillow.
To hand-wash your foam pillow:
- Remove the pillowcase and protector.
- Vacuum the pillow to remove dust and debris.
- Fill a large sink with warm water and mix in a mild detergent.
- Put the pillow in the water and gently squeeze it to help the water and detergent seep in.
- Continue agitating the pillow for five to 10 minutes.
- Drain the sink and refill it with clean water.
- Rinse out the detergent by repeating the squeezing action in the clean water, draining and refilling the sink until it’s no longer sudsy.
- Gently press out excess water, and then allow the pillow to air dry.
The key to effectively hand washing your foam pillow without damaging it is to focus on squeezing gently. Never dig your fingers into the pillow or use a wringing motion, as this will tear the foam.
How to Dry Down Pillows
Thoroughly drying your pillow is essential to prevent mildew and odors. (Yes, it will take a while. Be patient!) If your pillow’s label doesn’t provide specific drying recommendations, you can use the steps below.
- Put the pillow in the dryer.
- Use a low-heat setting for synthetic fiber-filled pillows and a low- or no-heat setting for down or feather pillows. (If you need to use high heat to kill allergens such as dust mites, do so only for the first 20 minutes of drying time.)
- Time dryer cycles for about one hour.
- Check the pillow after each cycle. If it feels even a little damp, return it to the dryer for another cycle. Pillows made from synthetic fabrics typically dry within an hour to an hour and a half. Down and feather pillows take several hours.
Air drying is also a great option for all pillow types (and the only option for foam pillows). If the weather is sunny, you can air dry your pillows outside for extra freshness. Otherwise, air dry them inside in a room other than the bathroom or laundry room to avoid humidity, which can slow down the drying process.
Find Your Perfect Hotel-Quality Pillow
Purchasing a hotel-quality pillow is the first step toward better sleep. THe next step is maintaining that pillow so it lasts as long as possible. With proper washing and drying techniques, you can extend the life of your pillow and get countless nights of quality sleep.Wondering where to buy hotel pillows? FluffCo can help you find the pillow of your dreams with our hotel-quality selections.