Pillow talk 101: All about caring for and cleaning your pillows
There are two kinds of people when it comes to pillows. There are those people who buy new pillows regularly. You see them buying stacks and stacks of fluffy new pillows and wonder what dignitary or celebrity must be visiting to warrant dropping such a large amount of cash on all those new pillows. Then there are those who prefer, enjoy even, the 1987 drool-covered pillow, flattened to a few inches and discolored. The thing weighs over five pounds, is (fortunately) hidden by a pillow case and if wielded in a pillow fight could deliver near deadly force.
Thankfully, most of us fall somewhere in between those two extremes, hopefully leaning a little more toward the “fluffy new” pillows zone.
Whether you have a pillow-buying problem or prefer your old faithful, we're sharing best practices to keep your pillows in peak condition so that they always look fresh and feel great on your Leesa mattress.
Can I Wash my Bed Pillows?
Just as your mattress absorbs sweat, dust and allergens, so does your bed pillow. (Ew, we know!) Some people prefer to buy new pillows when theirs lose their freshness and loft, but many pillows can be washed in a regular laundry cycle and dried to nearly “good as new."
Before tossing your pillows into the washer, however, be sure to read the laundry tags to make sure you can safely run them through the wash. Unless your pillow care instructions say otherwise, you can and should wash your bed pillows.
Which Pillows can be Washed?
Most synthetic, poly-filled pillows can be easily washed and dried. You might be surprised to know that you can even wash and dry feather and down pillows.
Memory foam pillows should not be machine washed and dried, but more on that later.
How to Wash Bed Pillows
If your bed pillow is not memory foam, it's pretty simple to clean in the washing machine.
1. Check the laundry care tag found on most pillows to be sure you can machine wash and dry your pillow.
2. Remove the cover (if there is one). You can wash the cover along with your pillow, but you want the pillow itself without the cover on it to get it as clean as possible.
3. Balance your washer. For balance, wash two pillows at a time in your washing machine, making sure they are evenly distributed in the washer drum. For top loading washers, make sure the pillows are balanced evenly around the agitator.
4. Add your cleaning solution to the dispenser, along with ¼ cup of bleach, if desired.
5. Wash your pillow on the longest, hottest wash cycle. You may want to stay close to the washer to periodically pause and turn the drum to be sure the weight of the wet pillows stays evenly distributed. If it sounds like an alligator in a mosh pit, you’ll need to redistribute the weight.
6. Rinse and spin. Run your pillows through an extra rinse and spin cycle.
Now you’re ready to dry.
Can I Dry Bed Pillows?
Yes! Many pillows that be washed can also be dried. Here's how we recommend drying pillows:
1. Add dryer balls and place in dryer with pillows. Throw in some dryer sheets or a tennis ball. They will help the pillows dry evenly and keep them from clumping up as they dry.
2. Let them dry completely. Set your dryer on medium heat and check them every 15 minutes or so until completely dry. To completely air them out, you can also sit them out in the sun until they’re completely dry and so fresh they smell like a pocketful of sunshine.
How to Clean a Memory Foam Pillow
Though you may find washing instructions on how to wash a memory foam pillow online, completely immersing a memory foam pillow in water (a.k.a. putting it in the washing machine) is not a good idea.
But you can wash other pillows, why can’t you put a memory foam pillow in a washing machine? The agitator in the washing machine will break up the structure of the memory foam pillow. It may tear the material and can permanently damage it. Putting a memory foam pillow in the dryer is a a fire hazard. Not to mention, the density of the memory foam material will make it difficult to fully dry.
We have good news, though. We offer a few different (awesome) pillows, including a memory foam pillow, the Leesa pillow and our hybrid pillow. They each feature removable, washable covers. Yep, just unzip the covers and pop them in the washing machine to take care of any stains and freshen your pillow up.
If you need to wash the actual memory foam insert, use a vacuum attachment. This will get any dirt or dust that's deep in the pillow. We also recommend doing this for your mattress at least once every season. Read on for full details on how to clean your foam mattress. >>
How Often Should I Change My Pillowcase?
You should change your pillowcase as often as you change your sheets, which is, ideally, about once a week. Just like your sheets, your pillowcase catches drool, dirt and dead skin, so if you're going to bed a little dirty or are a sweaty sleeper, you may want to change your sheets more often.
Although we recommend putting a pillowcase on your Leesa pillows, if you prefer to sleep just on the cover, you should remove the cover and wash it about once a week, as well.
How Often Should I Clean Throw Pillows?
So many of the #bedgoals we see of Pinterest-worthy bedrooms feature layers of bedding and throw pillows that make you want to get in the bed and never get out. But what about cleaning them? Throw pillows are for decoration. They don’t need to be washed, right? Wrong.
Because we don’t necessarily use them every day, we sometimes overlook throw pillows (and blankets). But think about all the times you toss your throw pillows on the floor, kick them under the bed or lounge around on them during the day. As with bed pillows, check the laundry care tag to see if your throw pillows are machine washable. If not, you can certainly vacuum them and spot clean them as necessary.
When Should I Replace my Pillow?
Just like you'll have to replace your mattress after years of wear and tear, your pillow will also need to be replaced eventually.
As we talked about before, you may know someone who has had the same bed pillows for as long as you can remember. Because pillows collect allergens, dust mites and (this one’s gross) yes, dead skin (that’s what makes pillows get heavier over time…ew), some sleep and allergy specialists recommend purchasing new pillows every two-to-three years. However, purchasing an anti-allergy pillow cover can help extend the life of your pillow.
Another way to tell your pillow is ready to be tossed is to fold it in half. If you can fold your pillow in half and it doesn’t spring back to its supportive original shape, it might be time to invest in a new one so your head and neck are properly supported.