How to wash and deodorise your pillows

We sweat a lot at night, including from our heads. Some estimates put the amount of fluid lost through sweating during sleep at a whopping litre per night. That can take a toll on your sheets and pillows.

This is before you think about drool (we all do it), condensation from your breath, grease or dirt on your face, and dust or dust mites around the room.

Basically, your pillows can get extremely dirty, no matter how fastidious you are with your evening skincare routine.

Although you don’t need to wash your pillows as frequently as you’d wash your pillowcases and duvet covers, it’s recommended that you clean them at least once every six months.

This removes skin cells and trapped grime, and should keep your pillows fluffy – or stiff and supportive, if that’s your thing – as well as hygienic.

How to wash down or synthetic-filled pillows

Most of these pillows can be easily washed in your machine. Check the care label to ensure this is the case for yours.

If it is, you can put them onto a gentle cycle with your normal detergent (no softener) to wash. Add in an extra rinse and spin cycle to ensure there’s no product build-up left.

Ideally, you should wash two at a time for an even clean.

If you have a dryer, put the pillows in for a cycle on a low heat. If not, leave outside on a dry day.

Any moisture left inside the pillow stuffing will become damp and smell if it’s not dried out. Sunshine should help with this, and acts as a natural disinfectant too.

Unfortunately, if your pillow’s care label says ‘dry clean only’ you’ll have to take it to a professional.

How to wash memory foam pillows

Memory foam pillows are more densely packed, meaning they’re not suitable for washing machines or soaking.

If the foam gets too wet it can tear and harbour odours, so while you do want to clean your pillow, you should be very careful and avoid this.

Use the brush attachment on your vacuum to pull as much dirt as you can from the pillow. Alternatively, if you have a tumble dryer you can put it on a no-heat cycle for around 20 minutes to loosen the dust.

Then, use a damp cloth dipped in heavily diluted washing-up liquid to wipe any areas with marks, before leaving to dry in the sun.

One the pillow is dry, you can deodorise it by covering the pillow in baking soda, and leaving in the sun for a few more hours. Vacuum any powder leftover, and it should smell nice and fresh.

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