Can You Put A Pillow In The Washing Machine?

Most pillows, such as those made from polyester and cotton, can be washed in a washing machine because they are durable. 

However, pillows like memory foam should not be machine washed due to the risk of damage from agitation. It’s crucial to check the care label first, as pillows with delicate fillings, such as feathers or down, require gentle handling, especially if hand-washed.

Washing pillows isn’t a one-size-fits-all task. In this guide, we’ll share which pillows can be machine washed and which ones require special handling. Keep reading to learn some helpful tips for maintaining your pillows’ longevity and comfort.

How To Machine Wash Pillows

open washing machine door

Check the labels on your pillows to see if they can be machine washed. Cotton, down, and synthetic pillows can often be washed in the washing machine.

Place the pillows in pillowcases to prevent the filling from getting damaged and to avoid damaging your washer at the same time.

Use a gentle cycle and set the temperature according to the pillows’ care labels. Make sure to follow the instructions on the labels for how much detergent to use.

For optimal results, wash two pillows simultaneously to balance the load and prevent the machine from becoming unbalanced. Ensure that the washing machine is spacious enough to handle both pillows.

How To Prevent Pillows From Becoming Lumpy In The Washer

Pillows can get lumpy when washed in a machine. This happens because the stuffing clumps together because of the washing machine’s movement. 

To prevent this, use a gentle wash cycle intended for delicates. Additionally, lowering the spin remove speed can help, although it will increase drying time. 

Placing a towel with your pillow in the wash can also cushion it and help maintain its shape.

How To Dry Pillows After Washing

pillows and tennis balls inside dryer

After washing, drying your pillows properly is crucial to prevent mould and mildew. 

If the care label permits, use a tumble dryer on a low heat setting. Add dryer balls or tennis balls to help fluff the pillow. 

If tumble drying isn’t suitable, air dry the pillows in a well-ventilated room or outdoors, but avoid direct sunlight. Allow the pillows to dry completely before using, especially if air drying.

How To Treat Stains On Pillows

If a stain seeps through the pillow cover, treat it immediately with a small amount of laundry detergent before washing as usual. 

For pillows with feather or down fillings, shift the filling away from the stained area before applying any treatment to isolate the stain effectively.

How Often Should You Wash Your Pillow?


It’s very important to wash your pillow, especially the one you use for sleeping. We sweat a lot while we sleep, and that sweat goes into the pillow. Along with dead skin and hair, it’s easy to see how your pillow can become quite dirty!

Try to wash your pillow at least twice a year, but every four months is ideal. If you sweat a lot at night, you should think about washing them more often, like every two months.

Regular washing not only keeps your pillow clean but also helps maintain its fluffiness, which can prolong its life.

SEE ALSO: How To Fluff Pillows In The Tumble Dryer With Tennis Balls! (plus alternatives)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to wash pillows in the washing machine?

Yes, it is safe to wash most pillows in the washing machine, particularly those made from polyester and cotton. However, it’s crucial to check the care label first for any specific instructions.

How do you wash pillows without ruining them?

To wash pillows without ruining them, use a gentle cycle and place them in pillowcases to protect the filling. It’s important to use the right amount of detergent and wash them at the temperature recommended on the care labels.

Which pillows cannot be washed?

Pillows that cannot be washed include memory foam pillows and those with delicate fillings like feathers or down, which require special handling.

Can you put pillows in the dryer?

Yes, you can put pillows in the dryer if the care label permits. Use a low heat setting and consider adding dryer balls or clean tennis balls to help fluff up the pillows as they dry.

Is it worth washing pillows?

Yes, it is worth washing pillows to remove sweat, dead skin, and hair that accumulate over time. Regular washing keeps your pillows clean, fresh, and can prolong their life by maintaining their fluffiness.

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