Can You Wash Pillows In The Washing Machine?

For a night of good sleep, a clean, fresh and comfortable bed is the first thing to ensure.

We often wash our bed sheets and pillow covers, but what about the layers beneath them? Have you ever washed your pillows?

Washing pillows are also equally important. Over time stuff like sweat, dead skin cells, and drool tend to build upon the pillows.

You might not need to wash the pillows as regularly as bedsheets and pillowcases, but you must get them washed at least once every 4 months.

Yes, you can wash pillows in the washing machine, wash them on a gentle cycle and use a mild detergent.

I must say that it truly depends on the material of the pillows that decide whether you can safely wash them in the washer or not.

Read on to find out what type of pillows can be put in the washer, a complete guide about washing pillows without getting them damaged, and some valuable cleaning tips.

Can You Wash Pillows In The Washing Machine

Related: Washing Machine Brands to Avoid

Which Pillows Can Be Washed In The Washing Machine?

Before moving to the pillow’s washing method and procedure, you should know which kind is washable.

We recommend you check the care tag, read the instructions and discover the filling type of your pillow.

You cannot throw every pillow in the washer as you can ruin them. We have prepared a list of pillow types so you can know what kind of pillow is safe to wash.

  • Fibers fill Pillows
  • Cotton Fill Pillows

Although they are considered safe for the machine, you still need to follow the right method, temperature, and detergent.

Which Pillows Can’t Be Washed In The Washing Machine?

The pillows that you should never be washed in the machine are foam and gel pillows

Machine turbulence can damage these pillows, and you will end up with a lumpy pillow.

Even if you hand wash them, you cannot even put them in a dryer. Find in the article the proper method to clean foam pillows.

How to Wash Pillows in the Washer? 4 Steps

There are different types of pillows available in the market and what we recommend is to check your label to see if it’s machine washable or not. If they are washable, follow our instructions on caring for your pillow.

High-efficiency front and top loader washers and dryers can clean the pillow.

Mild detergent with warm or cold water is most recommended for washing the pillows. During the washing process, avoid bleach because it can damage the fabric.

Let’s get into the detailed process.

What You Will Need

  • Laundry detergent
  • Dryer balls (You can use tennis balls as well)
  • Laundry pre-treatment spray
  • Warm water

Step 1: Look For the Prominent Stains

Look around your pillows. If there are any prominent stains, grab the laundry pre-treatment spray and spray it over the stain.

After it is all sprayed, let the pillows rest for about 15 to 20 minutes before putting them in the washer.

Step 2: Put the Pillows Into the Washer

Now comes the main thing: putting the pillows into the washing machine. Here are some points to be noted.

  • Put the pillows in their pillowcases to prevent any snagging of the fillings. 
  • Then place the pillows into the washer. Try to put 2 pillows at the same time. This helps with the balance of the washing machine. 
  • After this, add some detergent. Do not add too much of the detergent, and try to use liquid detergent. This will help improve cleaning and won’t leave much residue after the wash. 

Step 3: Set the Washing Machine

After throwing your pillows into the washing machine, it’s time to set the machine. Note the following points and perform accordingly.

  • Set the machine on a gentle wash cycle.
  • Make sure to use warm water instead of cold. If there is a concern about shrinking them, you can opt for cold water.
  • Select the slow spin option to prevent any unexpected damage.
  • Also, add an extra rinse cycle to make sure that no detergent residue is left behind. 

Step 4: Dry the Pillows!

Once the washing is done, now it’s time to dry out your newly washed, clean pillows.

You may leave your pillows to air-dry, and it is completely fine. You will use the dryer if you wish to get the work done quickly.

You can put the pillows in the dryer along with some dryer balls. This would greatly help in getting some good fluffy pillows as it prevents the filling from clumping.

If your pillows are fiberfill, you can dry them at low to medium heat in the dryer. Whereas, if you have down fill, set the dryer to low or no heat

. And if you have memory foam pillows, it is better not to put them in the dryer as it can potentially damage the pillows.

Before you set your pillows on your bed and use them, ensure they are completely dry.

Check the moisture by squeezing different regions of the pillow firmly. If it is even slightly damp, that could result in mildew.

Are My Pillows Suitable for Getting Washed in a Washer?

The first thing you need to do is to check the instructions and tag on your pillows and make sure it is not “dry-clean only.”

If it does not have a tag attached and is an old pillow, you must assume that the pillow is safe to wash in the washer if it is cotton, fiberfill, feather, or a down pillow. 

There are always some precautions to be followed while washing, which will be discussed later in the article.

If you have latex or memory foam pillows, then you must not put them in the washer for cleaning purposes.

Instead, they should be spot cleaned or dry-cleaned. For spot cleaning, you can soak a clean piece of cloth in soapy water and rub it to clean. 

You may also use a vacuum cleaner to pull the dust particles out of the pillows.

How to clean non-washable Pillows?

Some decorative or pillows cannot be washed in the washing machine, but that does not mean you leave them without cleaning.

You can dry clean the pillows that can’t be washed or have sensitive fabric like a net or silk.

How to Clean Gel Pillows?

Gel pillows are very sensitive and need extra care to wash. You cannot wash them in the washing machine; try cleaning them with your hands by the following steps.

Make a solution of baking soda and water to form a thick foamy paste. Use the paste with the brush to remove stains from the pillow.

Avoid excessively wetting the pillow. After removing all the stains, let the pillow air dry naturally. Please do not put it under direct sunlight.

How to Clean Memory Foam Pillows?

Never try to wash foam pillows in the washer, or you will have to throw them away at the end of washing.

We have enlisted the steps below to clean them.

  • Use a vacuum cleaner to remove all the dust and mites from the pillow.
  • Remove the stains with a damp cloth or make a solution of baking soda and water. You can also use the mild detergent paste to remove stains by hand.
  • Put the pillow flat to let it air dry.

Front-load or Top Load? Which Washing Machine is better for Pillow Washing?

We recommend washing pillows in the front load washing machine because the top load can damage the pillows by high-speed agitators.

Pillows can float and get easily cleaned and dried in the front load.

How often should you Wash the Pillows?

You can wash or dry your pillow as often as you need; they will not lose their shape and size. Your pillow will revive after washing.

But an average count that we can recommend is two times every 6 months to remove mold, odors, and bacteria.

Why is it Important to Wash the Pillows?

It is essential not to ignore pillow washing because this practice is very unhygienic. Pillows, when used, can accumulate dead skin, dirt, and sweat, which can attract mites.

These mites can cause allergic reactions and irritation to your skin. So never leave your pillows unwashed. Check your pillow type and wash or clean accordingly.

When should you replace your Old Pillows with New ones?

Though regular washing can make your pillows hygienic and can prolong their life, you can’t use them for life.

Pillows are not only meant to give you comfort, but they also give your spine support. So, you should be aware of when to replace your pillows.

The National Sleep Foundation suggests replacing your pillow every 1 or 2 years. Some pillows can last longer than this.

The best method to check if your pillow needs replacement is by folding them.

If the pillow bounces back to its original shape, it can still be used. If it remains folded, it indicates now is the time to buy a new one.

Valuable Tips for Washing Pillows in the Washer

Here is a quick go-through of all the tips you need to remember when washing your pillows in the washer.

  • The best guide is the fabric care label attached to your pillows. Never ignore it and read it once before washing the pillows.
  • Try to clean and wash your pillows every 4 months if they are in your daily use. You may wash them more frequently if you have any allergies.
  • If you do not wash the pillows frequently, at least on a sunny day, hang them on a clothesline for a few hours to get the dust mites out.
  • Before washing, remove the changeable covers of your pillows and wash them separately.
  • To keep your pillows in proper shape, do fluff them frequently.
  • If your pillows are smelly, clean them with vinegar and baking soda.
  • Dry the pillows completely after washing and then use them.


If you want nights of fantastic sleep, then keep your pillows clean by washing them regularly.

Read out the article to learn how to wash pillows and what hazards you can have by not washing them regularly.

If washing does not help the pillows get rid of stains and odor, you have to get a new one. Always find the one that supports your spine along with comfort.

We hope this will help you maintain your sound sleep and healthy lifestyle. Check out more articles on home care tips and queries.

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Steven Settles Author

Steven Settles is an ISCET-certified master in appliance repair. He has aced the National Appliance Service Technician Certification Exam, showcasing his exceptional diagnostic and repair skills. With an in-depth understanding of the latest repair technologies and a keen eye on evolving industry standards, Steven is a go-to expert for any appliance issue.

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