How to Wash your Sleep Pillows

Enjoy a good night's sleep on a clean pillow.
Enjoy a good night's sleep on a clean pillow. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

No one likes to think about how soiled their sleep pillow can become, but it does get dirty. After a bout of the flu or a cold, it’s certainly a good idea to wash your pillow. Also, some people may drool in their sleep and this eventually creates a foul, unpleasant odor. Imagine how nice it will be the next time you lay your head down and drift off to sleep on a freshly washed pillow.

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Read the label to determine whether your pillow is washable.

Examine the seams for any openings and repair before washing. Washing could remove the stuffing and create a terrible mess in your machine.

Fill the washing machine half full with warm water and add your laundry detergent. Start the wash cycle and allow it to agitate for three minutes, or until the detergent is mixed with the water.

Position two pillows opposite each other inside the washer to keep the washer balanced. If you are only washing one pillow, counterbalance by using towels or a small blanket.

Continue filling the washer until the pillows are covered and move freely. Push the pillows into the water to help release the air.

Select the gentle cycle and wash for four to eight minutes. Lift the lid after the first minute to be certain the pillows are submerged and are not retaining air pockets.

Tips & Warnings

  • Allow foam pillows to air dry. Foam pillows can be dried in the dryer but without heat.
  • Check the pillows often during the drying cycle and fluff to help retain the shape.
  • Even with a protective cover, your sleep pillow should be washed occasionally.
  • Down or feather pillows may need professional cleaning; please read the label.


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