Pillows should be washed regularly to prevent mould from forming and mites from nesting. But can you even wash pillows without using a dryer and not ruin them?
In this blog article, we’ll show you how to wash and maintain your pillows properly.
Step 1: What type of pillow do I have?
The first step is to check what filling your pillow has. Washing instructions vary depending on the type of filling your pillow contains, which is why it's worth taking a close look at the material. In principle, almost all pillows can be washed, but you should always keep an eye on the manufacturer's instructions.
The most common pillow fillings include:
- Pillows with down filling
- Pillows with microfibre or polyester filling
- Pillows with cotton filling
- Pillows with latex/viscose filling
You can wash down pillows and down duvets in the washing machine. Certain instructions should be followed, however. Provided that the care label doesn’t state otherwise, most down pillows can be washed at 60 degrees in the washing machine.
When it comes to machine washing down pillows, you should select the delicates or wool programme. The boil or a hard wash programmes are too aggressive for the down and should be avoided, as they can damage the structure of the down clusters. You should also avoid using fabric softener, as this causes the down to clump and stick together.
We recommend using either a mild detergent or a special wool or down detergent. Heavy-duty detergents contain molecules that break down proteins in order to remove stains from clothes. However, down is itself a type of protein, so it can be damaged by these types of heavy-duty detergent.
Down pillows can then be dried in the dryer. You should place tennis balls in the dryer with the pillows to prevent the down from sticking together and also to loosen up the pillow.
Washing down pillows without a dryer
If you don’t have access to a dryer, it’s best to dry down pillows outside in the fresh air. However, you should avoid direct sunlight to prevent the heat from damaging the down. Don't forget to fluff up the pillows as well, as they can be rather lumpy if you don’t tumble dry them.
Tip: Can also open the seam of your pillow and place a hair dryer into the opening. This allows you to speed things up a little without the down clumping.
Pillows with microfibre or polyester filling
Microfibre pillows are very easy to care for; they can be washed in the washing machine at 60 to 90 degrees with a normal detergent. Since dirt and bacteria can be removed at lower temperatures, it's not usually necessary to wash microfibre pillows at 90 degrees.
Don’t add fabric softener to microfibre cushions or pillows, as this gums up the fibres.
Polyester is a heat-sensitive material, so it’s best to hand wash them with warm water. Some polyester pillows can be washed by using your machine’s gentle cycle, so check your label.
Washing cushions with polyester filling without a dryer
Polyester dries much faster than down, so you can dry your polyester pillows outside. In fact, some pillows with polyester filling are not meant to be tumble dried, so be sure to read the manufacturer's label beforehand.
Pillows with cotton filling
Pillows with natural fillings are very easy to care for and have extremely good moisture management. They’re also good at neutralising perspiration and other odours. This is just one of the many reasons why organic cotton bedding is a good choice. While cotton-filled pillows should be fluffed and aired daily, they don’t need to be washed as often as other pillows.
Of course, even cotton pillows accumulate dirt and bacteria over time. You can wash cotton pillows either in the bathtub with lukewarm water or at 30 degrees with your machine’s wool programme. Use a gentle detergent without bleach additives.
Washing pillows with cotton filling without a dryer
Cotton pillows can be dried on the clothesline, but direct sunlight is best avoided here too.
Pillows with latex/visco foam filling
Pillows with latex or visco foam should not be washed! Wash these types of pillow neither by hand nor in the washing machine, as this can easily damage these types of dimensionally-stable filling. Only the pillowcase may be machine washed.
Superficial odours and bacteria can be removed with hygiene sprays or fabric fresheners. Baking soda can also be used to get rid of odours. Let this soak in for a few hours and then vacuum the pillow thoroughly.
Step 2: Determine the size of your pillow. Will it even fit in the washing machine?
Pillows need a lot of space in the machine to get clean. If you machine wash your pillow, be sure to wash it separately, apart from other clothes or other items, or you might not be happy with the results and end up doing everything again. Your duvet also takes up a lot of space, so don’t wash it together with your pillow.
Pillows that are too big for the washing machine or need special treatment should be taken to the dry cleaner.
Step 3: Determine temperature and programme
Sturdier fillings such as down, feathers and microfibre can be washed at 60 degrees. Fillings such as cotton and polyester should either be washed by hand at lower temperatures or machine washed at 30 degrees.
We recommend choosing the wool or delicates programme to prevent the filling from clumping. When washing your down pillow, you can even choose the down or feather programme which has been designed for this purpose.
Step 4: The right detergent
Pillows with microfibre filling can be washed with a heavy-duty detergent. A mild detergent is recommended for all other fillings, as it's softer and more gentle on the material. A mild detergent prevents the pillow from being damaged while washed.
Step 5: Drying cushions without a dryer
As stated above, it’s no problem to wash pillows with the types of filling listed here without a dryer. Just make sure to fluff the pillows while you dry them out and not to place them in direct sunlight when you leave them out to dry. As down pillows usually dry a bit more slowly than other pillows, you should therefore allow enough time for this.
Be sure to check that the pillow is really dry before putting it in a pillowcase. If the filling is still wet while you do this, this can easily lead to mold.
At Zizzz, we have the best pillows for you
At Zizzz, we have pillows with a wide variety of types of fillings. Our products are made from 100% natural materials and our down is ethically sourced. Down lovers will be pleased to learn that they can choose between duck or goose down pillows and duvets.
Our wool pillows are filled with Swiss pure new wool and offer optimal sleeping comfort. Of course, we have also thought of children when making our pillows, and carry wool pillows in two children sizes.