How to Wash Pillows in the Washing Machine

Although you may wash your sheets and pillowcases regularly, you might not pay so much attention to your pillows.

As the time passes, your pillows will accumulate a lot of dirt, dust, dead skin cells, skin oil, sweat, all sorts of bacteria, mold, etc. They will become faded, yellow and limp, and this is a clear sign that it’s time to toss them in the washing machine.

To keep your pillows clean and smelling fresh all the time, you need to wash them at least twice a year, depending on the type of the pillows you have.

Read our article and learn how to wash your pillows in the washing machine without damaging them. Last updated Sep 28, 2020 @ 6:37 pm

Washing the Pillows

First of all you need to check the care label on your pillows to determine if they can be washed and how.

Follow the care or washing instructions to avoid damaging the pillows. Some pillows can’t be washed and they are dry clean only, while others can’t be tumble dried.

If you can’t find any care labels, you should check the composition of your pillows to determine what kind of washing is the best for them.  

Be sure to read out latest review on Proper Pillow.

What Kind of Pillows You Should Avoid Washing in the Machine

Most pillows are machine washable, but if your pillows are old and synthetic, you should inspect them thoroughly and make sure they won’t fall apart in the machine.

You should avoid machine washing memory foam, latex or feather pillows. Memory foam and latex pillows will lose their shape if washed in the machine and even tear apart, while the pillows filled with feathers or down shouldn’t be machine washed because the water and detergent mixture will cause the filling to stick together and it will be hard to fluff them to their original shape again.

You should also avoid machine washing buckwheat pillows. To keep these clean, you should remove the buckwheat filling from them and let it sit in the sun for a few hours while you can wash their covers in the washing machine.

How to Wash Pillows in the Machine

If your pillows are machine washable, you should remove the cover of the pillows before loading them into the washing machine. If your washing machine is large enough, you can wash two pillows at a time. Also, you can wash the pillows along with the covers or any other light-colored laundry.

Just be careful not to overload the machine as in such case water and soap won’t be able to circulate freely and wash your pillows nicely.

You can wash the pillows either in a top loading machine or a front loading machine although a top loading machine can be a bit tricky because it may make your pillows float.

If you don’t have a choice and have to use a top loading machine, you should set it to a gentle cycle as such machines agitate the pillows rougher than the front loading machines.

You should also balance the load so it can spin effectively. So, you should put one pillow around one half and the other on the opposite side or fill that side with the same amount of some other laundry.

Add the right amount of a mild detergent, set the water temperature according to the care label and start the wash cycle on a gentle setting.

After the cycle is complete, you may want to run an additional rinse cycle to make sure any traces of laundry detergent are gone. If the care label allows that, you can set the machine to the fastest spin cycle to remove as much water from the pillows as possible to help them dry faster.

Drying the Pillows

Once you wash the pillows, you should get them completely dry to prevent the appearance of mildew.

You can tumble dry the pillows if the care label allows. Set the dryer on the lowest or moderate heat. Avoid setting it to auto-dry as it will only sense the moisture on the outside of the pillow while the moisture inside the filling will remain.

Add a couple of dry towels to speed up the process of drying or two tennis balls as they can keep the filling from clumping as they move around the drum.

You may also take the pillows out from time to time to see if they are drying evenly. Squeeze them and see if you can feel the moisture in the center. If they still feel slightly damp, let them dry more.


Keeping your pillows clean is equally important as keeping your sheets and pillowcases clean. As the time passes, dirt, grime, skin oils, sweat, dead skin cells and other debris will accumulate in them, which is why they need to be washed at least twice a year.

The easiest ways to wash your pillows is to toss them in the washing machine. However, there are some types of pillows that can’t be machine washed and you have to check the care label to see what’s the best way to keep them clean.

Washing pillows in the washing machine is not such a complicated thing to do and here we have explained how to do it right. We hope our guide will be helpful to you.