One of the most common issues people have nowadays is the difficulty to fall asleep, and also to get a good night’s sleep. Either people don’t sleep at all, or they wake up feeling worse than when they went to bed. If you’re one of those people: I get you! I wasn’t always like this, but as I grew older, and especially after going through college, I’ve been dealing with anxiety.

And you know what comes with anxiety?

Yep, that’s right: no sleep at all! There are some nights I didn’t even bother going to bed because I knew it’d a waste of time. But I’ve been learning how to get better and I’ve shared a lot of tips and things I tried over the last couple of years - such as:

A bed full of recently washed pillows, what a dream!
A bed full of recently washed pillows, what a dream! Image source: Apartment Therapy

Now here’s the new thing I’ve learned:

Even the smallest thing like washing your pillows can highly improve your life quality! Sometimes it happens that you spill something onto the pillow, or your pet decides to play around and the pillow gets stained, whatever it is: let’s not panic!

Most pillows can be machine-washed, but that doesn’t always get stains out. So, this simple and quick guide will help you know the best way to wash your pillows!

“Sleep is the best meditation.” - Dalai Lama

Feather Pillows

Feather pillows are delicate and require extra care!
Feather pillows are delicate and require extra care! Image source: Good Housekeeping

Feather pillows first recommendation: keep them away from the washing machine! Both hot water and detergent can ruin the feathers. The way to deal with feather pillows is hand washing them in a tub, with warm water and detergent powder:

  • Immerse the pillow in the tub filled with the water and soap
  • Let it soak for about half an hour and start the rinse process until there’s no more dirt and soap
  • Let the pillows dry completely in the shade, fluffling and rotating them from time to time.


If you use detergents for wool or silk materials, you’ll probably be safe to machine wash these pillows - since they’re bleach and enzyme-free.

  1. Start off by putting two or more pillows in the machine. Note: Never put just the one pillow, if that’s the only one you want to wash, at least throw in a towel to balance the load).
  2. Add the detergent (remember to use bleach- and enzyme-free), and set the water to the lowest temperature possible.
  3. Eight minutes is the ideal time to leave the pillows in the machine, and they need to be fully submerged during the cycle.
  4. After that, rinse the pillows in cool water. Two times will do the job, but three is what you’re aiming for!
  5. Now you should let them dry naturally in the shade, every now and them give them a fluff and rotate. Or, if you want the pillows to dry faster: aim a fan towards them while hanging on a drying rack.

Down Pillows

These pillows are machine washable too!
These pillows are machine washable too! Image source: Harian Metro Online

Down pillows are usually dry-clean only, so you need to make sure what type of pillow you have by checking the label. If it’s safe to wash them, then the washing procedure will be pretty much the same as the feather pillows.

Oh, and here’s a note to take for all the pillows: always check for possible rips on the pillows! If you put a pillow that has even a slight tear, that could become an unbelievable mess.

That being said, let’s get back to the steps:

The washing process is the same for down pillows as it is for feather pillows, the only difference will be step 5 (drying it):

  • You can place the washed pillows into the dryer and set it on low heat. Every 15 minutes, take them out and fluff them so they keep the softness - keep doing that until fully dried. Tip: use a clean tennis ball to break up lumps!

Polyester Pillows

Polyester pillows are easy to wash, no secret tricks here!
Polyester pillows are easy to wash, no secret tricks here! Image source: The Spruce

Polyester pillows are definitely the easiest pillows to wash. They pretty much follow the basic steps we’ve seen so far, but they have the advantage of being washable with common laundry detergent. As for the rest, just remember:

  • Place at least two pillows in the machine, at least a pillow and a towel.
  • Add the detergent, and set a cycle of 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Rinse at least two times.
  • Every 15 minutes in the dryer, take them out to fluff until completely dried.

Foam Pillows

Foam pillows are the most delicate kind and should only be washed by hand!
Foam pillows are the most delicate kind and should only be washed by hand! Image source: Kenyal Fashion Blog

And hey, if you came here expecting a challenge, foam pillows is where you get it! That’s because they can’t be machine washed. The foam is too delicate for the machine, and your pillow will be ruined if you try doing so.

So, you need to wash them by hand:

  1. Fill a tub, sink, or tank where you can move with freedom with warm water and a bit of liquid laundry detergent.
  2. This time you can choose to wash one pillow at a time (we even recommend doing so). You’ll squeeze and massage the foam pillow until the detergent has been filtered.
  3. Repeat step 2 until you’re satisfied with the cleanliness, and then change the water of the tub for clean, fresh water.
  4. Rinse the pillow thoroughly until all detergent is out. This is an important step to do correctly since it will prevent from causing any allergic reactions later on.
  5. Lastly, wring out the water from the pillow, and place it on a clean towel - preferably in the sun outside. Rotate it every now and then until fully dried.

Keep in mind that you should wash pillow covers weekly, and the pillows themselves every 3 to 6 months. Hope this has helped you, and, of course, you can always hire a professional cleaning service to give you a hand!

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