How to wash pillows in the washing machine

Clean pillows that are fresh and germ-free are a necessity. We often fail to clean pillows regularly and develop an allergic reaction, the reason for which mostly goes unnoticed. Did you ever wonder if it could be from pillow covers or pillowcases? When you wash pillows thoroughly, you remove them from the germs they accumulate, including dead skin.

In this article, we will discuss how to wash pillows in the washing machine to make the process easier. As we know, most pillows can be washed in the machine, there are different types to it like feather pillows, synthetic pillows, down pillows, throw pillows, etc. The process of washing pillows of different types will vary. We will address how you can go about washing your pillows, pillow covers, and pillowcases, without making a pillow limp. Let us get started!

Is it safe to wash pillows in washing machine?

how to wash pillows in washing machine

Deciding if washing pillows in your washing machine is possible or not can be made simple for you by checking the care label. Most pillows, pillow covers, and pillowcases will carry instructions on how to be washed on their care label. You can check the care label to gather all information on washing your pillows.

The type of water to be used; cool water, hot water, cold water, or warm water, how do you add detergent (the usual detergent or a mild detergent), the kind of wash cycle on the washing machine (a gentle cycle or spin cycle), etc., are different details that are essential to follow when you wash pillows.

A proper washer balanced wash cycle will guarantee that the pillows are washed with care. Be it hand washed or machine washed, pillows made of cotton and fiberfill usually have the green signal to wash them on the care label. Additionally, a feather pillow can also be washed in the machine. The point to remember while washing a feather pillow or down pillows by washing machine is to use a warm water delicate cycle and use only half the amount of the usual detergent. This is because, down and feather pillows might go clump when you add detergent more than required.

How often should you wash pillows?

How often should you wash a pillow is another commonly asked question. Although you might be tempted to wash pillows regularly to remove dust mites and keep them germ-free, it is not recommended to wash pillows quite often.

Experts suggest that you can clean pillows every once in a few months or thrice in a year. A pillow cover can be washed often in a machine to remove dust mites and clean the soiled areas. Other ways to freshen pillows, pillow covers, or sheets is to try spot cleaning using a damp cloth or to dry-clean them. Dry cleaning is one of the most effective ways to ensure that soiled areas are cleaned thoroughly, maintain the long life of the pillow, keep it gree-free and safe from dust mites.

Nevertheless, it is important to check the fabric care label for instructions.

How many pillows can you put in the washing machine?

Depending on the size of the pillows you are adding to your top-loading machine or front loading machine, you can add one or two pillows to the washer. It is important to keep the washer balanced in weight so that the washing machine does not move around.

A tip that is often practiced to keep the washer balanced is to add the pillows along with another laundry load. If you are adding two pillows or more to the washing machine and the weight is sufficient, you need to worry about the weight of the drum. If you do not have the necessity to add two pillows to the washer, you can always opt to hand wash the pillows.

What cycle should you use to wash pillows?

The cycle that is most trusted when it comes to washing pillows in the washing machine is the gentle cycle. As the name suggests, the action of the drum in a gentle cycle is delicate and cautious not to cause damage to the material.

We emphasize here again the care label of the pillowcases and pillows will carry the information on which cycle will suit the pillow. A gentle cycle combined with cold water or warm water with a mild detergent is the best choice.

Top loading machines or models with an agitator in them are prone to damage the material. If you do not have access to front-loading washing machines, you can place the pillows vertically in the drum. This will make sure that the pillows are not damaged.

Know how to wash pillows without ruining them [Try These Hacks Today]

properly wash pillows

Although we know that you can wash pillows in the washing machine, it is also important to do the process right to prevent any damage to the pillow. Here are some basic steps that will help you to wash pillows in the washer without damaging them.

Step 1: Read the label to know more about the fabric of the pillows.

Step 2: Remove the pillow cover. Covers that are specifically designed to amp the interior design of your home might need attentive washing, similar to the pillow.

Step 3: Select the gentle cycle that can use some warm water.

Step 4: Add detergent in just a small amount, do not overdo it.

Step 5: If you are using a top-loading machine this procedure will work. Top-loading machines have an agitator and can damage the pillows, hence place the pillows vertically in the drum. Allow the pillows to soak for a few hours. Soaking them for a few hours will ensure thorough cleaning. Flip the pillow, now top side to the bottom of the drum to aid coverage.

If you have a front-loading machine, you can complete the soaking process and then add the pillows to the machine.

Step 6: Start the rinse and spin cycle in cold water. The spin cycle is also known to be rough on the pillow so hence do not forget the gentle action to be selected.

Step 7: Using the dryer for a long time is certainly damaging to the pillow. The other option is to use tumble drying action to dry pillows. To keep the pillows dry use the tumble dry option on a low heat setting.

Washing feather pillows in the washing machine

feather pillows

Feather pillows can be washed in the washing machine. However, it is advised that you read the label on your feather pillow to confirm its wash instructions. The points to remember while washing feather pillows in the machine are:

  • Use a mild liquid detergent
  • Use cold or cool water. Hot water or warm water will lead to irreparable damage to the pillow.
  • Medium heat on the tumble dryer can be used to dry the pillows if you are not dry-cleaning them or choosing to air dry.

Washing memory foam pillows in the washing machine

memory foam pillows

Memory foam pillows are a little high maintenance. You need to be cautious when you wash memory foam pillows. Always read the label without fail before you begin to wash memory foam pillows.

A dry clean is a good choice but apt from that you cannot wash memory foam pillows in the washing machine. You can either opt to hand wash memory foam pillows with caution or resort to simple spot cleaning using a damp cloth.

Use a clean damp cloth dipped with some mild liquid detergent of your choice to gently spot clean memory foam pillows. As suggested for other pillows, the same way placing a memory foam pillow inside the dryer will also not work. You can place the pillow flat to dry them once they are washed and clean. This is the procedure to wash memory foam pillows.

Washing gel pillows in the washing machine

gel pillows

A gentle hand-washed action will suit to clean a gel pillow. You cannot toss in a gel pillow inside the washer like other pillow types.

To hand-wash a gel pillow, you can use baking soda. One home ingredient that comes with multiple uses is baking soda. It is known to remove dampness, moisture, and odor even from an unclean damp pillow. Moisture anywhere is notorious to accumulate dust mites and leads to mold and other fungal growth.

To use baking soda to clean your gel pillow, all that you have to do is to dilute some baking soda with water and shake it well until see bubbles forming. You can rub these bubbles onto the stains to remove them. You can air-dry the pillow until the moisture is removed completely. Baking soda can be put to use as often as required to freshen your gel pillow and keep it moisture and germ-free. It goes without saying that you must read the care label before you opt for any method to clean the pillows.

Washing polyester pillows in the washing machine


Like other cotton and synthetic materials, the same way polyester pillows can be used in top-loading machines or front-loading machines. A polyester pillow can be trusted for its quality and durability. It is however advised to place the pillow vertically when you load it into a top-loading machine. Although the pillow is sturdy, the agitator from top-loading machines can still be rough to handle the soiled areas.

All you require to wash a polyester pillow is some liquid detergent and to fill the drum with warm water.

How do you dry pillows after washing them?

The other best alternative to ensure the pillows are completely dry is to air dry them. To keep pillows dry and free from dust mites and allergens, using the natural sunlight to air dry them is the best choice to kill the germs.

Whether you choose to dry clean your pillowcases and pillows or air dry them- remember to keep pillows dry. Keeping them completely dry is essential to prevent fungal growth on the pillows and their cases. A tumble dryer on low heat is a gentle action to dry the pillows indeed.

1. Why does your pillow turn yellow?

The reason behind pillowcases or pillow covers and even the pillow turning yellow is moisture. Sweat, dead skin, oils, lotions, and other substances that the pillow is exposed to slowly lead to moisture buildup. This is the reason for yellowing in your pillow cover and pillow.

Exposing the pillow and pillow cover to sunlight after having them washed will remove the yellow stains. The same can be done after you wash memory foam pillows.

2. How do you refresh old pillows?

Refreshing pillows and keeping them free from moisture, musty odor, and other allergens can be done by using techniques that include sanitizing mode, fabric softener, hot water cycle, high-speed spin cycle, etc.

3. How to wash pillows without washing machine?

Washing a pillow without using a washing machine can be done. You can clean pillows by hand. Add a small quantity of detergent and let it soak. Wash it thoroughly until all the soap is removed and then wring the pillow completely dry.

You can use a tumble dryer or air dry until the pillow is free from moisture. Hand washing pillows is a good choice that will extend the life of the pillow.

4. When should you throw away a pillow?

Despite regular washing, pillows are made with materials that can easily accumulate allergens. This is why experts recommend replacing pillows every once in 2 years. The life of pillows will eventually wear out despite meticulous cleaning. This is why you must replace your pillows every one to two years.

When you replace your pillows you also gift yourself peaceful sleep and protection against allergens. Be it synthetic pillows, throw pillows, decorative pillows to improve the interior design of your home; any type of pillow that you use on a regular basis needs consistent care.
Low heat dryer, sensitive spin cycle, air dry methods, tumble dryer, hot water wash when required, etc., are tips that will ensure that the longevity of your pillows is extended. Replace your pillows once every 2 years to keep problems away.

5. Which pillows can’t be washed in the washing machine?

Certain decorative interior design pillows, memory foam, and latex pillows cannot be washed in the machine. Replace pillows of these types when you notice that despite care and washing they are worn out.

6. Why do pillows get lumpy after washing?

Moisture, sweat, and time are the reasons that can make your pillow get lumpy. Shaking the pillows and fluffing them are some ways to remove the lumps in the pillows. When you air-dry the pillows it will be easier to remove the moisture that fills the pillows. You can remove the lumps by gently fuffing the pillows after air-drying them.

7. How often should you replace my bed pillows?

You can replace your bed pillows, sheets, and pillowcases every once in two years.

8. How to Wash a Weighted Blanket?

Weighted blankets can be washed in the washer just like the sheets and regular laundry. Some tips that will help to maintain the quality of your weighted blankets are to use mild and less detergent, a gentle rinse cycle, and selecting cold or warm water wash cycles. The dryer settings can be set at medium or light heat. These will help in keeping the blankets fluffed.

Wrapping Up

With this, we end the article. We trust you have a clear knowledge of how to wash pillows in the washing machine. We hope this article helped you to make washing your pillows in the washing machine easier. Share with us how you wash pillows and dry them.

About the Author

Neha Pik

Neha Tiwari, Member at

Neha is the one who is aware of current trends and best practices in our desi community. She also helps and educates people looking for a solution to their problems via online. Her work has been published on countless blogs and notable magazines.