Most of us use the same pillow every night, so keeping it clean and germ-free should be at the top of your to-do list. In addition to washing your blankets, sheets, and comforter regularly, you should also take the time to disinfect other items such as your pillows, mattress, and mattress topper. Pillows, especially, should be washed at least two times a year, or even more often if you live in a warm, humid climate. However, how you treat your pillows may vary by the type material they are made out of. Most pillows are machine washable, but some are dry-clean or spot-treat only. Check your pillow’s care tag for simple instructions or follow the guide below for further guidance.

 

Down and Fiberfill Pillows

Luckily, most down and fiberfill pillows can just be tossed in the washing machine for a deep cleaning. Only wash two pillows at a time to ensure an all-around clean. The best performing machines for the job are front or top-loading machines that do not contain an agitator. If your washer does have an agitator, place the pillows in vertically to reduce the chance of potential damage. Wash on the gentle cycle with warm water and your favorite detergent. (Optionial: add an extra cold water rinse and spin cycle.) Tumble dry on low to finish. Don’t forget to make sure that each pillow is fully dried before removing it from the drier, thicker pillows may need a little more time. Pillows take much longer to dry than a normal load of laundry. If you start to notice a musty smell, lay the pillows in the sun for a few hours to get rid of it.

 

Foam Pillows

Unfortunately, latex and memory foam pillows are not washing machine-friendly, but you should still clean them regularly. To remove dust or dirt from your pillow you can use a vacuum, or place them in the dryer on a no-heat cycle. You can spot-treat any stains with a mild soap and water solution and light rinse. Let the pillow air dry fully before your next use.Even with proper maintenance and cleaning routine, you will still need to replace your pillow every so often. For an easy way to find out if you are in need of a new pillow, the National Sleep Foundation suggests that you “fold it in half and see if it stays that way. If it does, it’s time for a new one.”