You may wash your sheets regularly, but how often do you clean your pillows?
When seeing those icky yellow sweat stains start to appear, your first instinct may be to replace your pillows, but a good wash is probably all they need!
Even when covered with pillowcases and protectors, pillows still require regular cleaning (at least once a year) to keep them fresh and healthy.
With so many types of pillows on the market, it can be difficult to know how to care for each one. We've shared our cleaning tips, but as always, be sure to check the label on each pillow before getting started.
The great thing about latex pillows is they are hypoallergenic and highly resistant to mildew and dust. On the down side, they are easily stained and so protecting them with a zipped-up pillow protector is a must. Latex pillows should NOT be washed using washing machines or dryers, and it's important to never to soak them in water or expose them to direct sunlight. Try gently sponging or hand washing your pillow in warm water using a mild detergent. Rinse well in cold water and gently squeeze out the excess. You should never wring, stretch, twist or scrunch them.
Memory Foam & Foam Core Pillows
Memory foam pillows are designed to last, but can be a bit of an investment, so it's best to reduce daily wear and tear by protecting them with a protector and pillowcase. This will also help to keep the foam filling cleaner.
These pillows absorb moisture, liquids and odours from the air, which is why your pillow may end up smelling unpleasant. If you can smell your pillow, that's generally a good sign it's due for a wash.
Before cleaning, read the care instructions carefully. Foam Core and Memory Foam pillows can't go into the washing machine, but they can be vacuumed to remove any dead skin and dust mites that may be hiding inside. Try using a vacuum cleaner with brush attachment and run it gently over the pillow to remove dust, hair and dead skin cells. Any marks can be spot-cleaned with a cloth and allowed to air-dry.
If you just want to freshen up your pillow, spray a mix of water and detergent all over the surface. Leave it for half an hour before blotting away as much liquid as possible, then spray again with water only. Repeat the blotting process and leave to dry in a warm place.
Microfibre pillows can be hand washed or washed in the machine on a short, cold, gentle cycle. Put the pillow inside a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to help the filling stay in place. Always use a very mild detergent and rinse several times to make sure all the soap has been removed. Hang them outside to dry in a shaded area and when dry, put them in the dryer on a low setting with a clean tennis ball to fluff them up.
Good news! You can wash polyester-fill pillows in the washing machine. Balance the load by washing two pillows at a time in warm water and opt for the gentle cycle. Make sure the pillows are completely submerged in the water and totally wet before the cycle begins. You can either tumble dry the pillows on a low heat or hang them to dry naturally outside. Be sure to fluff and turn them regularly.
No matter how diligent you are about cleaning your pillows, eventually, they will need to be replaced. Find out how to check whether your pillows are due for an update, or view Lorraine Lea's extensive range.