There is nothing like a brand new pillow that is all fluffy and clean. No matter what your preferred material, it is pure heaven to sink down into the softness of it when it is time for sleep. After a while that clean, fresh smell is gone and you know it wonâ€™t be too long before you are punching it angrily, trying to get some loft.
Good news. You donâ€™t have to keep sleeping on a flat, dust mite infested pillow, and you donâ€™t have to go out and buy a new one every year. Actually, with the proper care you pillow should last you for three to five years.
Most allergists recommend that you clean your pillows at least once every three or four months. If you have bad allergies, then once a month is even better. All types of pillows can be cleaned but the materials will determine how you clean and dry them.
While you couldÂ have a pillow fight to fluff them up, adding a tennis ball or two to the dryer will add loft and softness just as well. Make sure they are really dry or your pillow will smell like mildew.
Of course, you should always follow the manufacturerâ€™s instructions.
Pillows made with synthetic fibers are the easiest to clean. Youâ€™ll just need to toss them in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, letting the machine agitate for about two minutes. Turn the machine off and let them soak for a bit and then drain the water from the machine. Turn on the spin cycle and spin the pillows out until they arenâ€™t dripping wet.
I like to hang them outside for an hour or so at this point. The sunshine helps take care of any bacteria and I love that fresh smell! Bring them in when they are damp and put the pillows in the dryer on low heat. Add a couple of tennis balls to break up any fibers and help them get fluffier. Remove the pillows as soon as they are dry.
Youâ€™ll need to clean these by hand washing them in a sink or bathtub. Add room temperature water to the bathtub along with a tiny bit of baby shampoo. Mix it up with your hand and then add the pillows. Gently squeeze the water through them â€“ donâ€™t twist or wring. Soak them for thirty minutes and then let the water out of the tub. Rinse with tepid water until the water runs clear and there is no soap left.
Wash your feather pillows by hand, squeezing the water through them to make sure they are really wet all the way through, because the feathers repel water. Let them soak for about thirty minutes and then squeeze the water through again.
Rinse until the water runs clear and then put the pillows in the dryer on high. Add tennis balls to help them not to clump up. Make sure they are thoroughly dry before returning them to the bed.
Down is part of the waterfowl that insulates it from wet and cold, so down filled pillows arenâ€™t easy to get wet. Fill the washing machine with cold water and some gentle laundry soap. Squeeze the water through the pillows to ensure they get wet all the way through.
Soak the pillows for three hours or so and then turn on the machine using a gentle cycle. Adding tennis balls will help the pillows to get clean without clumping.
Dry the pillows and the tennis balls in the dryer on high heat. Give them a shake and a punch or two to fluff them up before putting them back on the bed.
Does It Need to Be Replaced?
You can test your pillow to see if it does need to be replaced by one of these tests:
- If your pillow is feather or down, fold it in half and press it to your chest to remove as much air as you can. When you release the pillow it will unfold on its own. If it doesnâ€™t it needs to be replaced.
- If you have manmade fibers, fold the pillow in half Â like with the feather pillow but put a shoe or lightweight book on top. The pillow should unfold despite the extra weight â€“ if not head for your favorite pillow store.
photo credit: David Shankbone