Do you still remember the last time you wash your pillows? Are you sick and tired of seeing your pillows turned yellowish and grossed, whenever you pull off their pillowcases for laundry?
While you are in the hype of habitual washing your sheets and pillowcases, but often overlooked to what lies beneath, YES, I am referring to your pillows, dear. A general rule of thumb is to clean and wash your pillows, at least twice a year to keep them fresh, clean, and dust-mites free.
Therefore, for today's topic, I am going to show you how to wash your pillows, not by a machine but by washing your pillows with your hardworking hands. So, let us get these bad boys clean!
Most people wash their pillows by tossing them inside the washing machine. However, you must expect that pillows tend to come out lumpy when machine-washed, so you try to consider washing them by hand.
To wash pillows by hand, you need to fill the sink with hot soapy water. Massage your pillows to release the trapped dirt, oil, or stains and then rinse your pillow until the bubbles disappeared. Lastly, squeeze out the water absorbed by the pillows before you hang the pillows to dry completely.
It would be nice if you have a schedule for laundering your pillows, like washing them every six months. However, be mindful that some pillows need extra care, and you fully read and understood the pillow's care label instructions.
Otherwise, you will end up damaging your pillows and eventually may become prone to wear and tear if not handled with care. You wonder which pillows are "YAY" for washing and which are "NAY." Do not worry; many people are not sure about these things either.
Therefore, for today, aside from teaching you how to wash pillows by hand, we will answer all your pillow-washing related questions; in short, we will have some #pillowtalk.
Types of pillows suitable for washing
Unless your pillows have a special care label, "dry clean only" you should wash your pillows at least twice a year, following their stated care label instructions. Washing a pillow is not difficult, though it can take many hours to get it dry.
If you are in doubt whether your pillow is suitable for laundering, you better read these directions for the specific type of pillow fills.
Foam or Latex pillows
These pillows require strict rules for not washing them, either by machine or hand-washed. The best possible way to clean this kind of pillow thoroughly is by spot cleaning. You can start wiping the surface of the pillow with a moist-gentle cloth and use a pillow cover to maintain its shape.
Shredded Foam pillows
Compared to the previous one, these kinds of pillows are suitable for washing. However, avoid tossing them in the washing machine, it would be easier and safe if you hand-washed these pillows. A piece of advice, remember not to soak these pillows completely in the tub.
Down or Feather Pillows
These types of pillows are suitable for washing either by machine or hand washed.
Here are some tips for washing these pillows:
• Choose mild to extra sensitive detergents: these detergents do not contain additive or some harmful chemicals, which is very worthy of taking down notes.
• The temperature of the water should not be hot
• Dry the pillows completely: For faster drying, I know some of you knew this famous hack of using tennis balls. Toss two tennis balls wrapped inside a sock when drying your pillows in the dryer.
YES! These pillows are fit for washing. Be extra careful when washing these pillows; use cold or lukewarm water and a mild detergent.
Pillows filled with gel
It is a BIG NO to wash these types of pillows. However, you can clean them by spot cleaning.
These pillows are easy to maintain. You can wash these pillows as if you are washing your clothes. These pillows are also easy to dry. Use mild detergent and warm water when washing these kinds of pillows.
Just like the cotton pillows, these pillows are easy to wash and dry. Be careful with the use of detergents for these pillows, as these pillows use a special detergent that is best for wool-filled pillows. In addition, try to check the water temperature that is best for wool pillows.
Sadly, these types of pillows are not suitable for washing in any way. This is because a large amount of water or moisture can ruin the quality of your buckwheat pillows.
In conclusion, remember that a clean pillow is a sick-free pillow. Pillows can accumulate a lot of dirt, dead skins, facial sebum, and dust mites, therefore washing your pillows at least twice a year is a must-do.
However, just be mindful of choosing the right method for cleaning your pillows.
To help you not to be confused, here is a table I made, to sum up, the types of pillows that are fit for washing, for spot cleaning, or not suitable for any way of washing:
|Pillows Not Suitable For Washing||Pillows Best For Spot Cleaning||Pillows Best For Machine Wash||Pillows Best For Hand Wash|
|Buckwheat pillows||Foam pillows||Shredded foam pillows||Down pillows|
|Latex pillows||Polyester fiberfill pillows||Feather pillows|
|Shredded foam pillows||Wool pillows|
|Gel pillows||Polyester fiberfill pillows|
Therefore, you are now knowledgeable about which pillows are fit for washing by hand and machine-washed. We can now move on with our main topic for today, which is to wash pillows by hand. Just follow these step-by-step procedures and some tips to make your task easier when laundering your pillows.
Washing pillows by hand
Washing pillows is probably one of the most difficult household chores to do. Washing up to drying your pillows, which may take a couple of hours to dry, will drain your energy the whole day. Cheer up! I will make this difficult task to a simpler task that will put your mind at ease, and literally, you will have a good night's sleep. Therefore, you stop what you are doing right now and sit on a couch while you read.
Things you will need:
• Mild, low-suds detergent
• Deep sink or tub
Washing pillows by hand regular way
Prepare first all the things you will need before you start washing your pillows. After you gather all the things you need, this is the right time to start washing your pillows. Just follow the instructions below:
1. Check any special care label on your pillow
As we have discussed earlier, there are specific types of pillows that are best and suitable for hand-washing. If your pillows belonged to one of those, therefore you can wash your pillows.
Never ever try to hand wash pillows that are best for "spot-cleaning only," or those pillows that are labeled for "machine-washed only," as this can ruin the pillow fill and eventually will damage your core pillows.
2. Remove the pillowcases or protectors
If your pillow is fit for hand-washing, then it's time to undress your pillow. Take the pillow out of the pillowcase or unzip it first to remove it from the pillow protector.
Tip # 1: Use a zippered protector together with a pillowcase. This will help in keeping your pillows cleaner and longer.
3. Fill the sink or tub with warm water
If you are planning to wash your pillows in the sink, make sure that it has enough space to hold the pillow. This also applies when washing pillows in the tub. The first thing to do is to run the water until it is half-full, and then put the plug in the sink.
Tip #2: Use warm to hot water in washing your pillows. This will kill dust mites that are living in your pillows.
4. Pour a gentle and mild laundry detergent
Pour one tablespoon if it is powder detergent, or 15mL if you are using liquid detergent for each pillow dissolved in hot water. Then use your hand to swirl the water to make it bubbly.
Tip #3: Use low-suds laundry detergent to wash off and rinse your pillows easily.
5. Submerge the pillow into the sink or tub
Soak your pillow into the hot soapy water and submerge it down to absorb the water. Then use your hands to squeeze and massage your pillows. Continue doing this for several minutes or until you remove the dirt to your pillow.
Tip #4: Wear gloves when the water is too hot, or the soap irritates your skin.
6. Rinse the pillow until the water becomes clear
This step is the most challenging during the hand-washing process. So, be ready to burn your calories away, as this requires a lot of your energy. After you washed all your pillows in the soapy water, it is time to remove the pillow and squeeze out the soapy water.
Therefore, what you will do next is to drain the sink or tub and rinse it out. Then fill the tub or sink with running water and then put your pillows. Squeeze and rinse your pillows before you drain the sink.
Note: You will have to rewash your pillows a few times until the pillow does not feel soapy. This is because leaving soapy residue will only stain the pillow and make it harder to dry.
7. Squeeze out excess water using a dry towel
Once the pillow is no longer soapy, squeeze hard the pillow with your hands to remove some water. Then put the wet pillow on a dry towel. Fold the towel over the pillow and press down to remove excess water.
8. Dry the pillow
There are two ways to dry your pillow, either you dry them in a household dryer or hang your pillows in the clothesline to sun and air-dry.
For pillows that will be dried using a dryer, here are the things to consider:
• Check if your pillow has a care label instruction; otherwise, you will ruin the fillers of your pillow. For down or feather-filled pillows, these types of pillows require a no-heat cycle. However, remember that low and no-heat cycles will take longer, so brace yourself. Tip #5: Place a few towels or tennis balls to accelerate the drying.
• Check for dampness, as most driers have programmed to stop drying once the surface of the pillow is dry. Tip #6: To ensure that your pillow is completely dry, hang them in direct sunlight to evaporate all the moisture. In addition, sun drying can kill unwanted bacteria and can whiten your pillows.
For pillows hanged outdoors to sundry, here are the things to consider:
- You hang your damp pillows on your clothesline on a sunny and cool-dry day to evaporate all the water absorbed during washing
- If you do not have a clothesline, no problem, you can lay your pillows on a flat surface, as if your pillows are sunbathing. Kindly, be vigilant for any formation of lumps or cold spots. You can avoid this happen, by squeezing the corners of your pillow for achieving an even distribution fill.
- When you noticed that almost all of the moisture content of your pillows evaporated, you fluff it gently and turn the side of your pillow to side after every hour or two. The heat of the sun will fade any remaining dampness and moisture of your pillows while it freshens and acts as a natural bleaching agent leaving your pillows a natural and odorless smell.
Whichever drying technique you will use, you always need to check for any dampness or moisture inside the pillow. If your pillow is completely dry, it is time to dress them up. It is highly recommended to use pillow covers to protect your pillows against sweat, facial oil, stains, and facial creams. Replace both pillowcases and pillow cover regularly.
Finally, we are done with the step-by-step procedures on how to wash your pillows by hand. I hope that all the tips that I shared will be helpful whenever you wash your pillows. However, there are some worst-case scenarios, where your pillows turned yellowish, and they smell musty because of mold growth.
No worries, I won't leave you hanging, because I will give you the method 2 for treating the yellowing and the musty odor of your pillows.
Washing yellow or stinky pillows by hand
Prepare first all the things that you need in this method.
Things you will need:
• Baking soda
• Laundry detergent
• Powdered dishwasher detergent
• Essential oils
After you have prepared all the things you need, let us start treating your pillows like a pro.
1. Add baking soda if your pillows smell bad
Your pillow will probably smell good after washing, but if you are worried that it is stinky, try to add baking soda to the soapy water. Then wash your pillow and rinse all the suds completely.
Fact #1: Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that has the ability to remove the unwanted smell from fabrics.
2. Submerge your pillow in a mixture of a peroxide-vinegar mix
If your pillows are filled and covered with yellow stains once you remove your pillowcases, try to soak your pillow in hot water while you make the soaking treatment.
Mix and stir the following ingredients until they are completely dissolved:
• 1 cup of powdered laundry detergent
• 1 cup of powdered dishwasher agent
• 1 cup of bleach
• ½ cup of borax
Soak your pillows in the mixture for half an hour before rinsing.
3. Add 2 to 3 drops of essential oil when you rinse your pillows
Adding essential oil to the water, you will be using to rinse off the pillow will add a subtle scent to your pillow and will cover any unwanted odors.
Some good essential oils you may try to add:
• Citrus scents such as lemon or grapefruit
4. Hang pillows outdoors
If your pillows smell old or musty, try to hang your dry pillows for a few hours on a clothesline outdoors to get enough sunlight. Sometimes just getting enough sunlight and fresh air blowing through your pillows will make your pillows smell better.
Fact #2: Sunlight acts as a natural disinfectant that can kill bacterial growth in your pillow.
Other helpful tips
These tips will surely help you a lot whether your pillows are still worthy of washing or not, and how to keep intact the fillers of your pillows.
Fold your pillows in half
This tip has nothing to do with cleaning and washing your pillows; rather it is a test whether your pillow is still worthy to wash. If your pillow is memory foam, all you need to do is to fold your pillow in half, and then let go.
If your pillow springs back to its normal shape immediately, then your pillow is still good as new, if it does not, this means that your pillow cannot make it safely through a wash cycle. Well, sorry, but your pillow is old and needs for replacement.
Roll it longwise with a rubber band
This tip will help the foam to stay intact. All you need to do is to roll the pillow lengthwise and then secure it with rubber bands before washing. After you washed and rinse your pillows, remove carefully the rubber bands and lay it on a flat surface to dry.
FINALLY, we are really done with all the steps and tips on how to wash and clean your pillows in the best possible way. Just follow the steps above to guide you, and you can easily slay washing your pillows like a pro!
Feruza is a mom and a blogger. She had a neck pain for 15 years, which made her interested in everything about pillows.
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