The most effective way to wash your pillows

Is there anything better than freshly-washed bedding? We all have our own laundry routine when it comes to bedlinen, but it’s easy to forget about the stuff underneath the covers.

As well as pillow cases and duvet covers, it’s important to regularly freshen your pillows. After all, you rest your head on your pillow every night. It’s not surprising that they need a little TLC every now and then. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve put together this helpful guide on how to wash pillows.

Why wash your pillows

From nightly sleeps to propping you up to watch a film, your pillows get a lot of use. With that everyday use, pillows can inevitably accumulate a lot of dirt, dust and dead skin. These nasties can cause problems with your skin and eyes, as well as make allergies and asthma worse. They can also cause the filling of your pillow to break down, making them less comfortable and supportive. That’s why it’s so important to wash your pillows on a regular basis.

The good news is that pillows don’t need to be washed as regularly as your bedlinen. Twice a year should be enough to keep your pillows looking and smelling fresh.

There will come a time when you need to replace your pillows (even with a regular washing routine). If you fold your pillow in half and it doesn’t return to its normal shape when you let go, it’s time to invest in a new one. Take a look at our range of pillows if you think it’s time for a change.

How to wash pillows

The most important thing to remember before you embark on your pillow-freshening adventure is that not every cushion is created equal. Different types of pillows need different care, and some can’t be washed at all, so be sure to check the label before you do anything. If your pillow doesn’t have a care label or you want some extra tips on how to wash pillows, we’ve put together some guidance below.

How to wash down, cotton and synthetic fibre pillows

Most of the time, down, cotton and synthetic fibre pillows can be put in the washing machine. It’s usually a good idea to double-check the label first though, as different brands can have different washing instructions and guidelines.

When washing your pillows in a washing machine, it’s usually best to choose a warm and gentle cycle.

It is also a good idea to put two pillows in the machine at once, as this will help to keep your washing machine balanced.

Another tip is to wash your pillows with the cover still on, as this can help to prevent snagging that could damage your cushions.

How to wash feather pillows


Feather pillows can often be treated in the same way as down or synthetic fibre pillows. They can usually be washed in the machine using a warm, gentle cycle.

When washing your feather pillows in a washing machine, be sure to check for any tears or slits in the casing. This could not only damage your pillow during the wash cycle but could also cause problems with your machine.

How to wash foam pillows

Foam pillows can’t be put in the washing machine. Some brands might include hand-washing instructions but if you’re not sure, it’s usually best to avoid washing if possible.

To freshen your foam pillows, it’s usually better to vacuum them using an upholstery-friendly attachment. For stains or areas that need extra attention, dilute a mild soapy detergent and clean those areas using a cloth.

How to dry your pillows once washed

Some pillows can be tumble dried, so it will be a good idea to check the label to see if yours can be dried in this way. Generally, all pillows can be put in the tumble dryer, although you will need to use a very low heat or no heat at all in the case of foam pillows.

Tennis balls or dryer balls can be a good addition when tumble drying your pillows. These will help to keep your cushions fluffy and aid in the drying process. Be sure to check your pillows regularly when tumble drying and fluff them up as needed.

If you can’t tumble dry your pillows, air drying is your solution. If the weather permits, hang them on the line but remember to fluff them regularly to help keep their shape. Alternatively, place in a well-ventilated area of your home (near a radiator is likely to help!). Be sure to give your pillows plenty of time to air dry; it could take a few days.

For more tips on getting a great night’s sleep, visit the Bensons for Beds blog. Inspired to wash more than just your pillows? Read our guide to washing your duvet. 


Bensons for Beds

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