How to Clean Pillows With or Without Washing Them

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While cleaning your pillows definitely gets rid of the dirt and dust mites from deep within the plush, there are times when washing pillows just isn't practical. You may need clean pillows immediately, and you don't have time to wait for your washed pillows to dry. 

Not all pillows are applicable for machine washing, like memory foam pillows that disintegrate in the dryer. Regardless of your reason, it is beneficial to learn how to clean your pillows with or without washing them.

In this article, we'll provide you with the different ways to clean and sanitize your pillows with or without having to wash them.

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How to Clean and Wash Pillows 

Hand Washing

There are two main methods to washing pillows: hand washing, and using a washing machine. The first method is much more gentle on your pillow material, and is ideal for memory foam material, as well as throw pillows that were not made to handle pressure from the laundry machine. Here's how to hand wash pillows:

  1. Remove the pillow cover, and wash the fabric separately. 
  2. Place the pillow in a large tub or basin, and fill with tap water. 
  3. Add liquid or powdered laundry detergent, and let the water froth. 
  4. Use a soft-bristled brush, and gently brush away at the stained spots. Go over the entire surface of the pillow to clean. 
  5. Squeeze out excess moisture, and rinse the pillow until the soapy water is completely gone. 
  6. Use a wet vacuum cleaner to suction any remaining moisture, then let the pillow air dry under direct sunlight.

Machine Washing

The second method, machine washing, is great for cotton, down, and feather pillows. The tumble dryer helps to remove excess moisture from these pillows, and will help dry the materials faster. Using dryer balls also retains the fluff of the pillow for a comfortable sleep! Here's how to machine wash pillows:

  1. Remove the pillow protector, and wash this fabric separately. You may place it in the same wash cycle as the pillow, but as a separate item.
  2. Add an appropriate amount of laundry detergent or washing soda into your laundry machine. Toss in your pillows. 
  3. Let the machine go for a full cycle on the delicate setting. Use cold or warm water in the wash as hot water may damage or shrink pillows. Small throw pillows may be placed in the same wash load. 
  4. Drain the soapy water out, and run a rinse cycle. 
  5. Toss your pillows in the dryer along with some tennis balls or wool balls. These will help retain the plush of the pillows without leaving a static charge on them. Let the dryer remove as much moisture as possible.
  6. Remove your pillows from the dryer, and let them air dry.

Helpful tip: Vacuuming the pillow before washing it removes dust, debris, and pet hair that sticks to pillows when wet. 

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How to Clean Pillows Without Washing Them

For those moments where washing your throw pillow or bed pillow just isn't practical, go the dry cleaning route and clean your pillows without doing a full wash! Spot clean, dry clean, or use a homemade natural spray to remove dirt from pillows instead of tossing them in the laundry machine.

Dry Cleaning with a Vacuum Cleaner

The vacuum is your first defense against dust and dirt. Some pillows may not do well when wet, as moisture can damage the quality of the pillow. Vacuuming removes any dust particles, pet hair, skin cells, and fabric fibers that cling onto the surface of the pillow. Vacuuming is great for your throw pillow, which gets dirty often.

  1. Use the upholstery attachment, and set your vacuum to its lowest suction setting. 
  2. Go over the entire pillow, vacuuming the surface all throughout. 
  3. Decorative pillows may have indented nooks that dirt can hide in. Such pillows can be vacuumed using the nozzle attachment to get into even the smallest of crannies. 
  4. Deodorize your pillows with baking soda: apply a layer of baking soda to your pillow, and let the baking soda sit for an hour before vacuuming. 

Spot Cleaning with Mild Soapy Solution

Spot cleaning gets rid of those unsightly stains on your pillows one area at a time, so you won't need to submerge your pillows in water. Spot cleaning dries pillows faster, while removing cosmetic stains on the surface.

  1. Mix together a mild dishwashing liquid and some hot water to create a spot cleaning solution. 
  2. Use a damp sponge, and apply the soapy water to your pillow, focusing on the stained area.
  3. Blot out with a dry towel, and re-apply the soap solution as needed. 
  4. Keep applying the solution, and blotting out the stain with a towel or cloth until the stain is less visible. Work in a well-ventilated room for faster air drying.

Sanitizing with Rubbing Alcohol

After maintaining your pillows, you would want to sanitize them to completely clean them. Use a spray of 70% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol, or a spray disinfectant solution, to completely sanitize the pillow. 

  1. Spray the pillow with a moderate amount of alcohol or spray disinfectant. Using a diffuser bottle helps distribute the mist through a larger area, and in an even manner.
  2. Let the disinfectant dry completely, as it takes a few minutes for alcohol to kill off the germs. 
  3. Replace the pillowcase, and your pillow is now sanitized! 

Sanitizing through Steam Cleaning

Alternatively, you can steam clean your pillows to sanitize them. If you have a steam cleaner at home, use this to go over your pillow and kill off any bacteria or germs that linger in them. 

  1. Make sure your pillow can handle the heat of steam cleaning before you go ahead with disinfection. You can check the manufacturer's tag for more information.
  2. Operate your steam cleaner according to the manufacturer's instructions. Don a pair of thick cloth gloves to prevent burning yourself with the steam as you handle the pillow.
  3. Run the steam cleaner over the pillow at least twice. Go over the entire area, and let the steam penetrate deep into the pillow fibers. 
  4. Let the pillow dry. The heat allows moisture to evaporate faster, so you don't need to wait a few hours before using your pillow! 

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Keeping Your Room Clean

Pillow care isn't difficult once you know how to properly clean them. Use a pillowcase to minimize the frequency of needing to deep clean your pillows, and schedule a hot summer day to wash your pillows so they dry faster. 

Why stop at pillows? Maintaining the cleanliness in your home ensures that your furniture and fabrics are kept clean, and your overall health is managed well. Look to our home cleaning services at Luce Home for an all-around, thorough cleaning that is affordable and hassle-free! 

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