How to Whiten Pillows

Pillows are some of the most used objects in your home and over time they will attract dirt and dust and no matter how fluffy and nice they were, they will become discolored or yellowish.

As the time passes, sweat and oils from your skin will find their way into your pillows and attract dirt and dead skin cells and as they accumulate they will turn your pillows yellow.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to throw away your pillows. You can try to rescue them instead.

There are various ways how to whiten old yellow pillows and in this article we are going to mention some of them. Read on and find out how to make your old yellow pillows look like the new ones again. Last updated Sep 28, 2020 @ 6:34 pm

Washing Your Pillows

The best way to get rid of stains and whiten your pillows is to wash them. You can wash them either in the washing machine or by hand.

But, before you proceed to do this, you need to check the tag on your pillows to determine if they are washable. Most of the synthetic and some of the down pillows are washable and can be safely washed.

Some other types of pillows like memory foam or latex shouldn’t be washed, especially in the washing machine as this can damage their structure and tear them apart or cause the appearance of mildew.

Don’t miss our Proper pillow article. 

Washing Your Pillows in the Washing Machine

If you want to wash your pillows in the washing machine, here again you have to remove the pillowcases or protectors and check the tags to see what exactly you need to do.

Check the pillows for stains. If you notice any stains, you can pretreat them before you toss your pillows in the washing machine just to make sure that the stains will be completely gone.

Pour a small amount of a gentle laundry detergent directly on the stain or a paste from baking soda and water and let it sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes. This can help you remove the stains easier.

You can also try to wash your pillows in a mixture of washing soda, vinegar and detergent instead of laundering them in your standard detergent.

If you choose this option, you should run a second cycle with just hot water after the first cycle is over as this mixture can be a bit thicker and may adhere to pillows without additional rinse. So make sure you run a second cycle with hot water and this will remove all the remains of the mixture.

If your pillows are still yellowish after this, you can repeat the process and use peroxide this time as a safer option instead of bleach.

Once you wash your pillows, you can place them in a dryer to dry them. Again, check whether your pillows can be tumble dried. Throw a few tennis balls in a dryer. This will prevent the material in your pillows from clumping and make sure your pillows stay fluffy.

Washing Your Pillows by Hand

Here again, you can pretreat the stains before you wash the pillows. Place them near the sunny window or somewhere outside if the weather is nice and apply vinegar or a mixture of water and baking soda to the stains using toothbrush and circular movements.

Let the solution sit for a few minutes and then wash the pillows. Sunlight will also kill some of the bacteria in your pillows.

Fill the bathtub or a basin with warm water, pour gentle detergent and soak your pillows. Squeeze them to make sure detergent works all the way through the material and then rinse them under cool water and squeeze them gently to help them dry easier. Avoid wringing them as this can damage them.

How to Make Your Pillows Stay Clean Longer

You can make your pillows smell fresh and stay clean longer if you:

  • Maintain clean habits and change your pillowcases and bedding at least once in two weeks. If you are prone to sweating, you can change them twice per week. Regularly changing your sheets and pillowcases will keep your mattress and pillows clean and help them last longer.
  • Use linen spray in-between washes to keep your pillows smelling fresh and clean. A quality linen spray can also keep mildew and mold at bay.
  • Wash your pillows at least twice per year. This will prevent yellowing and excessive build up of dirt, dust, dead skin cells, skin oils, etc.
  • Try to always go bed with a clean face and hair. Washing your face and brushing your hair before going to bed will prolong the life of your pillowcases and pillows too.


Pillows can get dirty and become yellowish and discolored over time as skin oils, dead skin cells and other debris accumulate.

Although throwing them away may seem the best thing to do, you can actually save your old and yellow pillows and make them look like the new ones again.

There are various ways how to whiten your yellow pillows and in this article we mentioned some of the most effective solutions. We hope they will be helpful to you.


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