- Use two pillowcases, or invest in a high-quality pillow protector—a plain, zippered pillowcase to keep dirt and dust out. Then your pillows won't need to be washed as often.
- Memory foam can be damaged by water. Waterproof pillow protectors are available to keep them clean and safe.
- Fluff pillows every day to get out dust and keep the stuffing from clumping
- Air them outside or by an open window monthly to get rid of odors
Cleaning and Laundering
How a pillow should be washed depends on its stuffing. Always check care labels to see what the manufacturer recommends, but if the tag is long gone, here are some basic guidelines.
Down / Feather
- Always check for holes or ripped seams first, and repair them before attempting to clean.
- Down and feather pillows can be dry cleaned, and will retain their softness and fluffiness.
- If you put down or feather pillows in the washing machine, do two at a time or one with a few towels to balance the load.
- Use cold water and the delicate cycle, with a gentle detergent like Ivory Snow.
- If you hand wash, do the same, but use ½ cup vinegar in your rinse water to make sure all the soap dissolves away.
- To dry, put pillows in on lowest heat setting or no-heat tumble dry. Add a few clean tennis balls or shoes to fluff them in the drier. This may take three hours or more.
- Make sure down and feather pillows are completely dry before using or storing. Mildew can grow inside and ruin them.
- Do not over-clean down or feather pillows. The natural oils in the material will be stripped over time.
- If your pillow is made of "memory foam," do not wash—because of its unique composition, it may take weeks to dry and mildew can grow inside. Contact the manufacturer for specific instructions.
- If your pillow is made of a different kind of foam, it may be hand washed.
- Do not machine wash foam pillows. Take to a dry cleaner to get out dirt and oils that have sunk deep inside the foam.
- To clean just the surface of the pillow, hand wash in cold water with a gentle detergent like Ivory Snow.
- Press gently with towels to remove excess water. Do not put foam pillows in the drier or wring them out. Line dry outside, moving frequently to help keep the shape. Or, lay flat on top of a drying rack.
- Kapok is made from Ceiba tree seed coverings. It cannot be washed. Lay pillows out in the sun for several hours to freshen them.
Not all polyester-filled pillows are the same. Some are washable, some are not. Check the care label and follow washing instructions. If the care label is gone, take it to a dry cleaner to be safe.