How + How Often You Should Wash Pillows

Time For A Little Pillow Talk!

Let’s not get into all the gross details—but we use our pillows a lot. Let’s face it, we spend more time with our pillows than we do with any good friend or our office co-workers. There comes a time when just washing the pillow case doesn’t cut it, so let’s agree that pillows need to be washed at least twice each year (you’ll want to double that amount if you live in a warmer climate). And if you want to be really hygienic, be sure you’re using a pillow cover. Before you read any further, check your care label to confirm that your pillow (down or synthetic) can be machine washed—most can be.

What You Need:


1. The Set-Up

Read the care label on your pillows carefully to be sure that you can actually wash your pillows. Set the water temperature on your washing machine according to the care label.

2. Wash Cycle

Place your pillows in the machine, two at a time to evenly distribute the load. Don’t push your machine—if only one pillow fits then wash in separate loads but washing in pairs helps keep things balanced during the cycle. If you want, you can roll up your pillows longwise and secure the ends and middle with rubber bands during the wash cycle to minimize clumping of synthetic fibers. Add a small amount (smaller than what you would use for a normal load of laundry, around the first line on our laundry cap) of Boulder Clean Laundry Detergent and start the load.

3. Rinse Cycle (x2)

Run the pillows through the rinse cycle twice after the initial wash to be sure all the soap has been removed.

4. Dry

Dry your pillows according to the care label. If you are able to put them in the dryer, place a few tennis balls (or wool laundry balls) in with the pillows to speed up dry time and to keep the fibers from clumping. You can alternatively dry the pillows by laying them flat. We recommend this method if you don’t have tennis balls or if your care label doesn’t allow the pillows to be run through the dryer. If it’s a warm day, try placing them outside but this really comes down to personal preference!

Wash or Throw Away?

When do you know it’s time for the pillows to go? Washing won’t always bring your pillow back to brand new. Here’s a few things to look for so you know when it’s time to replace rather than wash your pillows.

  • Fold your synthetic pillow in half. If it doesn’t spring open right away, toss it. Even thinner pillows should immediately bounce back from being folded. The material inside is probably shot and won’t make it through a wash cycle without breaking apart.
  • If the batting inside the pillow is visibly lumpy, toss it!
  • If you’ve washed it and you’re still finding yourself waking up with the sniffles, toss it. Buy a new pillow and pillow cover to help it stay away from allergens and last longer.


*Stay smart and always check the care label for instructions before washing.

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