Healthy Living

How to Wash Your Pillows

Tips to get rid of stains, sweat and dust mites

Most folks wash their bed sheets once a week, but put off washing their pillows. We understand; it’s a big job, and for many people, it probably seems easier to sleep on pillows until they fall apart, and then toss them. But you should wash your pillows at least twice a year. Need incentive? Here it is: Unwashed pillows are full of dust mites. Ick. So if it’s been six months or more since you gave your pillows a bath, now’s the time.
Check the care label. If it’s down or made with synthetic fibers, it can be machine washed. Use a front or top-loading machine without an agitator, and wash two pillows together to keep the machine balanced. For best results, use a mild liquid detergent (powder tends to leave residue). Wash the pillows on the gentle cycle, and run them through two rinse cycles.
Dry down and feather pillows on the air cycle. Make sure they are completely dry; leftover dampness can cause mold growth. Use the low heat setting for pillows made with synthetic fibers. Toss in a couple of tennis balls (wrapped in white socks to avoid dye transfer) to help plump the filling.
If your pillow is foam, you can’t clean it in the washing machine. To remove dust, vacuum both sides with your vacuum’s upholstery tool. Or give them a 20-minute spin in the dryer on the no heat or air-only cycle. Some foam pillows can be hand washed. If you go this route, be very careful. Wet foam tears easily. Spot clean soiled areas with a cloth dipped in a mild sudsy solution and rinse with a clean damp cloth. Air dry completely before putting the pillows back on the bed.
To help pillows stay cleaner longer, use liners under your pillowcases and wash those liners once a month. Even with all this cleaning, pillows have a short lifespan. Replace them every three years.

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