Can You Put a Pillow In the Washing Machine?

Can You Put a Pillow In the Washing Machine? Everything You Need To Know

When it comes to maintaining a clean and comfortable sleeping environment, the cleanliness of your pillows plays a crucial role. Pillows are essential for a good night’s rest, but over time, they can accumulate sweat, dead skin, and other debris. That is why your pillow needs cleaning.

However, can you put pillows in the washing machine? Yes, you can place most pillows in the washing machine for a thorough cleanse. However, exercise caution with delicate materials like feathers or down, which demand gentler cleaning methods. 

Read on to delve into the details of washing pillows. This will include how to wash different pillow materials, washing methods, and helpful tips to ensure your pillows remain fresh and cozy.

Can You Put a Pillow In the Washing Machine?

The short answer is yes, you can wash most pillows in a washing machine. However, before you proceed, it’s essential to review the care instructions on your pillow, particularly if it’s made from delicate materials like feathers or down. 

These pillows require gentler cleaning methods to preserve their integrity. However, if you have pillows made from polyester or cotton, you’re in luck. These pillow materials are among the most resilient materials when it comes to machine washing.

On the flip side, it’s crucial to note that you should not put memory foam pillows in the washing machine. The aggressive motion and excess moisture can damage the foam, altering its supportive properties and potentially causing it to deteriorate. 

Moreover, you should consider the size of your washing machine in relation to the pillow. After all, pillows can absorb a significant amount of water during washing, causing them to swell. If your machine is too small to accommodate this expansion, it might lead to damage.

How To Wash Your Pillow In The Washing Machine?

Washing your pillows in the machine isn’t a daunting task if you follow these simple steps carefully:

Step 1: Check the Care Label

Begin by consulting the care label on your pillow. Ensure that the pillow is labeled as machine washable.

Step 2: Fluff and Soak

Gently fluff your pillow to help loosen any trapped debris. This step prepares the pillow for optimal cleaning. If your pillow is stained, you can pre-treat the stains with a mild detergent before proceeding.

Step 3: Load the Machine

Place your pillows into the washing machine. It’s advisable to wash two pillows together to balance the load. However, you should ensure that you lay them side by side to prevent excessive motion during the wash cycle.

Step 4: Add Detergent and Set the Cycle

Add a mild detergent to the machine. For polyester pillows, use about one tablespoon of detergent due to their higher absorbency. Then, choose a warm and gentle cycle for 30 minutes, to ensure thorough cleaning without causing unnecessary wear and tear.

Step 5: Initiate the Wash Cycle

Start the washing machine. Allow the cycle to run its course, ensuring that the detergent is thoroughly rinsed out by the end.

Step 6: Dry with Care

After the wash cycle is done, assess the care label once more. If it permits, transfer the pillows to the dryer along with a couple of dry towels. Then, set the dryer to a warm air setting and let it run for approximately an hour. If you have feather pillows, opt for a cold-air cycle or no-heat option to prevent damage. 

But first, remove the excess water by gently grasping the pillow on opposite corners and pressing them together, allowing excess water to escape through the fabric. Avoid wringing or twisting too forcefully, as this can damage the delicate feathers inside the pillow.

Step 7: Monitor the Drying Process

Check the pillows periodically during the drying process. This is crucial to ensure that they are drying evenly and to prevent over-drying, which can damage certain pillow materials. Fluff the pillows and replace damp towels with dry ones to aid in the drying process.

Step 8: Ensure Complete Dryness

Once the pillows are fully dry, remove them from the dryer and give them a final fluff to restore their shape and loft. If needed, let them air out briefly before returning them to your bed for a rejuvenating night’s sleep.

Here is a video showing you how to wash your pillows using a washing machine.

How To Wash Your Pillow By Hand?

If you have a memory foam pillow or your machine is too small, you will have to wash your pillow by hand. Follow these step-by-step instructions for a thorough and effective cleaning:

Step 1: Prepare the Soapy Water

Fill a sink or bathtub with lukewarm water. Then, add a tablespoon of mild laundry detergent to the water and stir until it dissolves completely.

Step 2: Submerge the Pillows

Remove any pillow coverings and place the pillows into the soapy water. Then, gently press and squeeze the pillows to ensure they become fully saturated and the soapy water penetrates every inch.

Step 3: Circulate and Cleanse

Press and squeeze the pillows multiple times, but avoid wringing them out, especially if it’s a memory foam pillow. The goal is to encourage the soapy water to circulate through the pillow’s material, dislodging dirt and debris.

Step 4: Rinse Thoroughly

Hold the pillows under clean, running water to rinse out the soapy solution. Ensure that you squeeze and press the pillows while rinsing to ensure all detergent is removed.

Step 5: Remove Excess Water

Once the rinsing is complete, gently press the pillows between two towels to remove excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting, as this can damage the pillow’s structure.

Step 6: Air Dry or Machine Dry

Depending on the pillow material, you have two drying options. You can either air dry the pillows by laying them flat on a clean towel in a well-ventilated area, flipping them occasionally for even drying. You should air dry delicate materials like feather, down, and high-density memory foam pillows 

Alternatively, if your pillow material permits machine drying, use a gentle cycle with low heat. You can machine dry materials like cotton, polyester, microfiber, and some latex foam pillows. Make sure to always refer to the care label for specific instructions.

Step 7: Fluff and Restore

After your pillows are thoroughly dry, give them a gentle shake and fluff to restore their shape and loft. If your pillows have a removable cover, you can put it back on at this point. Place them back on your bed and experience the difference of a clean sleep environment.

Tips To Help You Keep Your Pillow Clean Longer

Maintaining clean pillows isn’t just about periodic washing; a few preventative measures can significantly extend their freshness. These tips include the following.

  • Use Pillow Protectors: Invest in pillow protectors to shield your pillows from direct contact with sweat, oils, and other external contaminants.
  • Keep Extra Pillows: Rotate pillows frequently and keep spare ones on hand. This minimizes the frequency of washing while ensuring a fresh slumber experience.
  • Fluff Daily: A daily fluffing routine prevents the accumulation of dust mites and maintains pillow loftiness.
  • Replace Every Two Years: As pillows endure years of wear and tear, consider replacing them every two years to guarantee optimal support and hygiene.
  • Vacuum Memory Foam Pillows: For memory foam pillows, employ a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to eradicate debris without subjecting the pillow to moisture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are more related questions you might be interested in: washing pillows in washing machines. 

Q1: Does the type of washing machine matter?

Yes, the type of washing machine matters. Front-loading machines are typically gentler on pillows compared to top-loading agitator machines, which can cause excess friction. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and load recommendations for your specific machine.

Q2: Can I use bleach to wash my pillows?

It’s generally not recommended to use bleach on pillows, as it can weaken the fibers and affect the pillow’s integrity. Opt for a mild detergent instead.

Q3: Can I wash pillows with decorative trims or embellishments?

Pillows with decorative trims or embellishments should be handled with care. You should spot-clean these areas or opt for professional cleaning to avoid damaging the decorations.


Now that you know the answer to the question, “Can you put a pillow in the washing machine?” you can easily maintain the cleanliness of your pillows. After all, it is essential for creating a healthy sleep environment and ensuring their longevity. 

While most pillows can be safely washed in the washing machine, it’s crucial to check care instructions, especially for delicate materials. Regular washing not only removes sweat, dead skin, and debris but also restores your pillows’ shape and comfort. 

Whether you choose to use the washing machine or your hand, following proper techniques will yield fresh, inviting pillows that contribute to restful sleep.

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