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How to Wash & Refresh Your Pillows

January 10, 2020

How important is sleep? More important than you think. If anything, it’s the best thing that you can do for your health. Not only will it put you in a better mood, but it’ll also improve your learning and memory. What’s more, is that it can reduce your risk of certain ailments such as depression, cancer, and heart disease!

How many hours of sleep should you get? It depends. For instance, toddlers and children require more rest than other age groups. Why? They’re in the middle of growing. As for us adults, 7 to 9 hours is ideal. With that said, there are other factors that can affect the amount of sleep that you need. Women who are pregnant, for example, tend to have an increased need for sleep.

Importance of a Good Pillow

There are a number of things that you can do to sleep better. For instance, you probably shouldn’t drink coffee late in the day. The same thing goes for alcohol as it can affect disrupt your sleep patterns. What you want to do instead, is to relax before sleep. There are a number of ways that you can do this—for example, you can read a book, listen to music, or take a hot bath.

The type of pillow that you use plays a role too. After all, you’ll be resting your head on it for hours at a time. Ideally, you want something that will spread your weight evenly while providing adequate support for the neck and upper body. Don’t use the same one for years, though. As a general rule, you want to replace them after 18 months. With that said, it depends on the type of pillow that you have. Generally speaking, memory foam pillows will last longer than other varieties.

What Happens If You Don’t Use a Proper Pillow?

An incorrect pillow will not give you the neck support that you need during sleep. As a result, you might wake up with a headache, neck, or shoulder pain. Not only that, but it can also lead to tossing and turning, which can affect your sleep quality; that in turn, can affect your concentration, memory, and judgement. Over time, it can also an impact on your health. For instance, it can contribute to weight gain and fatigue. To top it all off, it can also suppress your immune system, which will increase your risk of illness.

Things to Consider When You’re Choosing a Pillow:

  • Pick a filling (e.g. down, feathers, polyester, etc.) that meets your needs
  • Consider how soft you want it to be (softer pillows are better if you have a firm mattress)
  • Your sleeping position determines the type of pillow that you want

Why It’s Important to Wash Your Pillows

Does it surprise you that pillows can get quite dirty? Just because they look clean, doesn’t mean that they are. The truth is, they tend to collect quite a bit of dirt and dust. Not to mention bacteria and mold! As you can imagine, that can lead to various health issues. Let’s not forget sweat as well—it can easily get onto your pillow at night. Given all that, it only makes sense to clean it regularly! You wouldn’t want to sleep on a legion of germs, would you?

But wait, how exactly do you wash pillows? Do you just throw them in the wash and hope for the best? The answer is no; there are certain things that you want to do and certain things that you want to avoid (if you want them to last anyway). Have no clue on what to do? No worries—we’ll be going over everything that you need to know below. Keep reading to learn more!

How to Clean Memory Foam Pillows

Memory foam pillows are designed to contour to the shape of your head and neck. As such, they distribute weight evenly, which helps to relieve pressure during sleep. Firm and right, they tend to provide more support than most pillows. Here’s how to clean them!

Are Memory Foam Pillows Machine Washable?

Memory foam pillows should never be put in the washing machine. Why? The strong agitation of the wash cycle will break the inner padding. In other words, you’ll end up with a broken pillow. Similarly, you never want to put it in the dryer—the heat will destroy its structure.

The Proper Way to Clean Your Memory Foam Pillow 

The best way to wash your memory foam pillow is to use water. Never use detergent as it can actually damage the product. To begin, fill a sink or tub with lukewarm water (the latter might be better as it’ll allow you to submerge the entire pillow). Once that’s done, remove the pillowcase and place the pillow in. Alternatively, you can let the water run over the top. If you’re doing that, make sure to move it around so that you’ll rinse all of the inner padding.

When you’re finished, take the pillow out. Gently press down with your hands to remove the excess water. Afterwards, let it air dry in a well-ventilated area. If possible, hang it outside in the sun—that will help to hasten the process.

Removing Stains From Memory Foam Pillows

Accidentally spilt a cup of tea over your pillow? Don’t worry—most liquid stains are easy to remove. You just need to know what to do.

First things first, you want to remove the pillowcase. From there, use a clean cloth or towel to absorb the excess liquid. Avoid rubbing the area as that’ll only spread the mess further. From there, you want to create a soapy solution by mixing a mild detergent with a little bit of water. Once it’s bubbly, dip a sponge in. Use it to gently clean the stained area with a circular motion. Finally, wipe the soap off with a clean, damp cloth. For the best results, allow the pillow to dry naturally.

In some cases, however, that might not be in enough. For instance, you’ll probably need more than a bit of mild detergent to remove a wine stain. Ultimately, what you want to do instead, is to apply hydrogen peroxide (3% solutions work well) directly to the stain—there might be a little bit of bubbling. Next, blot the spot with a clean cloth. From there, dampen the area with a bit of cold water. Gently rub in a circular motion with an old toothbrush to remove the stain. Finally, allow the pillow to air dry.

Washing Instructions for Feather/Down Pillows

Down/feather pillows are great in that they’re soft and fluffy. Here’s how to wash them.

Are Feather/Down Pillows Machine Washable? 

You’ll be happy to know that feather and down pillows are machine washable! As always, you want to start the washing process by taking off the pillowcase. Once they’re off, place them into the machine. Generally speaking, you want to put in two at a time—that will help to keep things balanced. Can’t fit them in? Consider squeezing them with your hands to remove the air.

Note: Ideally, you want to use a washing machine without an agitator. If that’s not possible, place the pillows in vertically—that way, they’ll be less likely to get damaged during the cycle.

The next step is to add your laundry detergent. It’s important that you only use a small amount, otherwise, there might be buildup left on the pillow (pillows are bulky and will not rinse out as well as your clothes). For the best results, use a liquid detergent as powders are more likely to leave residue, which can result in skin irritation.

From there, set your washer to a delicate cycle. Consider using hot water as that will help to kill off any dust mites. Keep in mind, however, that heat can damage the down and feathers. Given that, you might not want to use hot water every time (you can alternate between warm and cold water instead).

Pro-tip: Adding an extra rinse cycle will help to remove any detergent that might be left on your pillow. Similarly, you can get rid of the excess moisture with an additional spin cycle.

Take the pillows out once the cycle is finished. Using a towel, gently press out the water. Never try to wring or twist them as that will only cause damage. Afterwards, place them in the dryer on the lowest setting. For the best results, fluff them out by hand between each cycle—that will help to prevent clumps from forming. Dryer balls can help as well.

Washing Feather/Down Pillows by Hand 

Down and feather pillows can also be washed by hand. As always, the first step is to remove the pillowcase. Fill the tub with warm water and add a bit of mild soap—a little will suffice, otherwise, it will be hard to rinse out later. Agitate the mixture with your hand; suds should start to appear. Place the pillow in the tub and press down to submerge it in the soapy water. Let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes at least.

Afterwards, rinse it with water. For the best results, place the pillow directly under the faucet. Alternatively, you can re-fill the tub with water and soak. Chances are, you’ll have to rinse it several times to get rid of all the soap. When you’re finished, place it in the dryer and run it on low heat. Add a few dryer balls—they will help to fluff up the pillows. It’s also a good idea to fluff them up by hand between cycles (you’ll have to run the dryer more than once).

Tips to Keep Your Pillows Clean & Odor Free

Here are a few things that will help keep your pillows clean.

Go to Bed Clean 

This goes without saying but you want to go to bed clean. In other words, don’t jump into the sheets after a long day outside—the dust, dirt, and grime from your clothes will transfer onto your bed, including the pillow. Instead, make sure that you take a shower or wash your face beforehand.

Use a Pillow Cover

Always use a pillow cover—it will add an extra layer of protection, which will extend your pillow’s lifespan. For one thing, it will protect it from stains and odors. Even if it does get dirty, you can wash it easily without having to deal with the actual pillow (they will buy you more time between each full-on cleaning)!

Avoid Sleeping With Your Pet

As much as you love your dog or cat, avoid sleeping with them (especially if they have a habit of going on your pillow). If they must join you, have them sleep at the foot of the bed. After all, you never know what might be in their fur—the last thing that you want is for that something to transfer onto your pillow!

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