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Crisp white sheets and pillowcases on a freshly made bed.

How to Wash Pillows

Can you wash pillows in the washing machine? Yes, it's simple with these easy steps! Read our handy guide for tips on washing pillows.

A good night’s sleep not only helps you banish under-eye circles but is also a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. A clean bed is essential for helping you relax and unwind when turning in for the night, but when was the last time you washed your pillows?

Understanding how to wash pillows is simple and the good news is that they don’t need to be washed as regularly as sheets and pillowcases. Pillows should be washed twice a year to keep them fresh, hygienic, and free from dust mites.

Sleep well knowing your heads resting on a clean pillow with these quick and simple tips on washing pillows!  

Can you wash pillows in the washing machine?

Many cotton, down, and synthetic pillows can be put in the washing machine. Always refer to the care instructions first. This is a quick and easy way of washing pillows, the only down-side to washing your pillows at home is that they can take a long time to dry.

If you do machine wash pillows, ensure that the machine is large enough. Take care that the fabric case is robust and will not allow the filling to come loose, causing potentially serious damage to the machine. Foam pillows should not be put in the washing machine. The washing instructions on foam pillows may state you can hand wash them.

Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions and be gentle if hand washing foam pillows yourself. Professional dry cleaning may be a better option, but ensure that the pillows are well aired after to get rid of any residual fumes.  

Washing pillows in the washing machine: 4 simple steps

  1. Check the care label on your pillow and if it states that it is machine washable, then you can clean it in the washing machine with a laundry detergent like Persil small & mighty, following the dosing instructions on the label

  2. Place the pillow inside a pillowcase to prevent any snagging of the filling and set the temperature according to the pillow’s care label. We recommend using a gentle wash cycle

  3. If you can fit two pillows in the washing machine at the same time this will help to balance the load

  4. Once the wash cycle has finished, it’s important to dry your pillows properly to avoid growth of mould and mildew. Check that the care labels permit tumble drying and place the pillows in the tumble dryer on a low heat. After tumble drying, allow your pillows to thoroughly dry out by placing them in the airing cupboard for a couple of days. If your pillows cannot be tumble dried, leave them to air-dry in a well-ventilated room, or outside in the sun

Top tips for washing pillows

  • Prevention – always cover pillows with pillowcases to prevent stains from happening

  • Treating stains – if a stain does transfer through the cover to the pillow itself, treat the stain as soon as possible. Use a dab of Persil small & mighty to pre-treat the affected area, then wash as normal. If the filling is feather or down, shake the feathers away from the affected area to isolate the stain. Then treat the stain according to what it is

  • Can I wash cushions too? – yes! The inner cushions of scatter cushions can be washed in just the same way as pillows. Follow the instructions on the cushion's care label and consult the above tips for advice regarding different fillings

Remember, if in doubt about the material of your pillows, consult a dry cleaning professional for advice. Now you’re all set with these tips on how to wash pillows, why not refresh your duvet too with our tips on washing duvets and quilts?