How To Properly Care For And Clean Your Pillows

Wrapping your head around pillow care isn’t always easy, but don’t worry! We’re here to light your way through the complexities of maintaining the fluffiness, freshness, and durability of your head’s favorite resting place. In “How to Properly Care for and Clean Your Pillows,” you’ll find your road-map to prolonging your pillows’ lifespan while ensuring they remain clean and comfortable. Away with the panic about stains, dirt, and allergens, and hello to peaceful nights on spotless, top-notch pillows that feel just like new. ‘Pillow care and cleanliness’ may seem a mouthful, but with these tips and tricks, it’ll be a comfortable and easy task.

Understanding Pillow Types

Pillows are more than just comfortable headrests. They can also significantly affect the quality of your sleep and therefore play a significant role in your health and well-being. To keep them in the best possible condition, it’s essential to understand their types and how each type should be cared for.

Identifying your pillow type

There are a variety of pillow types, each made with different materials and suited to different sleep styles. Your pillow might be filled with goose down, feathers, polyester, memory foam, or latex. To identify your pillow type, check the product tags, as this will often list what the pillow is made of. Of course, the feel and heft of a pillow can also provide clues to its type – down and feather pillows, for instance, tend to be soft and squishable, while memory foam and latex ones are firmer and heavier.

Understanding different care instructions per pillow type

Each type of pillow comes with its own care instructions. For instance, you can generally machine-wash synthetic fill pillows, while foam pillows should be spot-cleaned only. Always check the care tag for specific instructions. The label is there to guide you, so take advantage of this!

Regular Maintenance for Pillows

Regular maintenance plays a crucial role in keeping your pillows clean, fresh, and functional. And it doesn’t take much time or effort.

Importance of regular care

Regular care prevents the buildup of dust mites, dead skin cells, and body oil – all of which can irritate allergies, affect the pillow’s performance, and shorten its lifespan. By maintaining your pillows regularly, you can enjoy a healthier sleep environment and increase the lifespan of your pillows.

How often should you change your pillowcase?

It’s recommended that you change your pillowcase at least once a week. This helps to keep your face clean and clear, as a dirty pillowcase can transfer dirt and oil to your skin, leading to breakouts.

Daily fluffing and airing

Fluffing your pillows daily will help them maintain their shape and improve comfort. Also, try to air your pillows once in a while to remove humidity and keep them fresh. This could mean leaving them in a well-ventilated room or even outside on a dry, sunny day.

How To Properly Care For And Clean Your Pillows

Spot Cleaning Pillows

Spot cleaning is a wonderful method to get rid of stains without washing the entire pillow.

When and why to spot clean

If you notice a stain on your pillow, you should spot clean it as soon as possible. The faster you tackle a stain, the better your chances of removing it completely. Spot cleaning can target specific dirt areas without subjecting your pillow to the rigor of a full wash, which can help maintain its structure and integrity.

Materials needed for spot cleaning

For spot cleaning, you’ll need a few items: a clean cloth, mild liquid soap, and warm water. An optional addition is a soft brush, which can be helpful in cleaning heavier stains.

Step by step guide to spot cleaning

To spot clean, first, dampen a cloth with warm water mixed with a small amount of soap. Gently dab at the stain, being careful not to wet the inner stuffing of the pillow. For stubborn stains, use a soft brush to rub the stained area gently. After cleaning, rinse out the soap by blotting with a clean, wet cloth, and then let the pillow air dry.

Deep Cleaning Pillows

Sometimes, your pillows just need more than a quick spot clean. Deep cleaning will essentially rejuvenate your pillows, making them seem nearly new.

When to perform a deep clean

Your pillows should be deep cleaned at least twice a year, or whenever they start to look or smell less than fresh.

Materials necessary for a deep clean

A deep clean usually requires a mild detergent, warm water, and a washing machine for most pillow types. Always check the care label first!

Step by step process to deep clean pillows

To deep clean pillows, pre-treat any stains with a small amount of detergent. Next, carefully follow the care label instructions for machine washing. If machine washing isn’t recommended, consider washing by hand in a bathtub with lukewarm water and detergent. Rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear to ensure all detergent is removed, as leftover detergent can damage the pillow material.

How To Properly Care For And Clean Your Pillows

Cleaning Pillows in a Washing Machine

Many pillows, particularly those filled with down or synthetic fills, may be cleaned in a washing machine. However, it’s best to check the care label first.

Identifying machine washable materials

Typically materials like down, feather, and synthetic fills are machine washable. They should, however, be washed on a delicate cycle with warm water and a gentle detergent.

Steps to clean pillows in a washing machine

Always balance the washing machine by washing two pillows at a time or adding towels if you’re washing a single pillow. Use a gentle cycle and warm water. Once the wash cycle is done, run a rinse cycle once or even twice to ensure all the detergent has been washed out.

Drying pillows after machine washing

After washing, squeeze out excess water from the pillows gently, avoiding wringing them. Then, tumble dry the pillows on low heat, throwing in a few clean tennis balls to break up any clumps and help the pillow regain its fluff.

Hand Washing Pillows

For pillows that aren’t suitable for machine washing, don’t worry: you can still keep them clean.

Identifying pillows suitable for hand washing

Pillows made from more delicate materials, such as silk, or those with labels explicitly stating “hand wash only,” are most likely suitable for hand washing.

Steps to clean pillows by hand

Fill a tub with warm water and a small amount of mild detergent. Swish the water to create suds, then put in the pillow. Gently squeeze the pillow to ensure it’s thoroughly soaked. Rinail deep clean slight agitation, but avoid strong twisting or wringing.

Drying pillows after hand washing

Like with machine washing, gently squeeze out excess water after washing, then leave the pillow to air dry in a well-ventilated spot. Ensure the pillow is fully dry before using it to prevent mold and mildew buildup.

How To Properly Care For And Clean Your Pillows

Cleaning Foam Pillows

Foam pillows require different care and shouldn’t be fully submerged in water.

Disposition of foam pillows towards cleaning

These pillows, particularly memory foam and latex types, will absorb water like a sponge, which can damage their structure and make them very difficult to dry.

Steps to clean foam pillows

Instead of washing, consider spot cleaning for foam pillows. If the pillow has a removable cover, you can usually wash this in the machine. For the foam part, vacuum regularly to remove dust and allergens, use a damp cloth for spot cleaning, and freshen it up by sprinkling baking soda, letting it sit, then vacuuming it up.

Drying foam pillows

For foam pillows, always air dry – never use a machine dryer. This allows moisture to slowly and safely evaporate without damaging the foam.

Proper Pillow Drying Recommendations

Proper drying is essential to avoid issues like mold and mildew, which can destroy a pillow and pose health concerns.

Using a dryer to dry pillows

If you’re using a dryer, choose a low heat setting. Including clean tennis balls can help fluff up the pillow and distribute the heat evenly. Remove pillows promptly to avoid unnecessary heat exposure, and make sure they are completely dry before use.

Air drying pillows

Air drying is another reliable method, especially for pillows that can’t be machine dried. Opt for a flat dry in a well-ventilated, warm location. Bear in mind that it can take a while longer than machine drying.

Ensuring pillows are fully dried before use

Whether air drying or using a dryer, make sure your pillows are entirely dry before using them. Any retained moisture can cause unpleasant smells and allow mold and mildew to grow.

Maintaining Pillow Hygiene Between Cleanings

Even between deep cleans, there are ways to keep your pillows fresh and clean.

Utilising pillow protectors

Pillow protectors are a handy tool for guarding against dirt, oils, and allergens, thereby extending pillow cleanliness. They’re easy to use – you simply encase your pillow in the protector before adding your usual pillowcase.

Regular changings of pillowcases

As we’ve mentioned earlier, changing your pillowcase every week is a good rule of thumb. This can help prevent skin issues caused by dirty pillowcases, like acne and irritation.

Dealing with common pillow stains and odors

Light stains and odors can often be handled via spot cleaning, and airing out your pillow regularly can work wonders for freshness. For stubborn odors, consider a baking soda treatment: sprinkle the pillow with baking soda, let it sit for an hour or so, then vacuum it up.

Pillow Replacement Recommendations

Every pillow, no matter how well cared for, reaches a point where it should ideally be replaced.

Life expectations for different pillow types

The general expectation is that you should change your pillow every one to two years. However, this depends on the type of your pillow; for example, down pillows can last more than a few years, while polyester pillows might begin to lose their shape after a few months.

Signs a pillow needs replacement

If your pillow is lumpy, flat, or you’re waking up with neck or shoulder pain, it’s probably time for a new pillow. You can also do the “fold test”: simply fold your pillow in half. If it stays folded instead of springing back into shape, it might be time to start shopping for a new one.

Choosing a new pillow

When choosing a new pillow, consider your sleep position and personal comfort preferences, as these can guide you to the right pick. Whether you prefer a firm pillow or one that’s soft and squishable, remember to always look after your pillow to prolong its lifespan and performance. And don’t forget to read the care instructions!