How to Wash Pillows. Nearly everyone uses bed pillows, and most sofas and couches sport pillows as well. Very large cushions can take the place of chairs. Keeping pillows clean can be difficult. Used for different purposes, they are sewn with an endless variety of coverings. Many pillows cannot be washed, due to the nature of their interior fillings or exterior fabrics. Find out which ones to wash and which ones to toss.
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Sort Your Pillows Before Washing
Get your bed pillows together to see which ones are washable. Check the tags.
Select polyester, fiber-filled pillows with cotton or polyester covers. They are generally washable. Remove pillowcases and wash them separately.
Select certain orthopedic pillows, depending on their materials. Some foam or other molded pillows can be washed. Pillows filled with water, buckwheat or gel cannot be washed.
Sort through your throw pillows to see which ones are washable. Get care information from the tags.
Choose small, fiber-filled pillows with light cotton or polyester covers to machine wash. Decorative pillows, such as those covered with leather, very heavy cloth or beads, cannot be washed.
Choose large, heavy pillows for surface cleaning by hand. Their fillings are too dense to dry when wet.
Clean Pillows According to Type
Wash bed pillows in warm or hot water, according to their care tags, in a machine that is large enough to hold them. Use less detergent than you normally would.
Wash decorative pillows in warm or cold water, depending upon the cover fabric. Consult the care tags.
Dry all pillows thoroughly on medium heat, and then air-dry them until they are free of moisture.
If you can only fit one bed pillow in your washing machine, place something else, such as a small towel, in with it to balance the load. Buy washable craft pillows and buy or sew removable covers for them. That way you can wash the pillows and covers separately and safely. Dry clean goose-down pillows.
Don't wash a pillow covered with leather or heavy, textured fabric. The cover won't allow the interior to dry properly, and it may be ruined. Avoid mildew at all costs. Mildew is a real health threat, especially to people with upper-respiratory ailments. Always remove lint from your dryer after each drying cycle. Lint can pose a fire hazard when it is allowed to gather.