How to wash pillows properly and remove yellow stains, dirt and odors

by Kremy

A hygienically clean pillow is an absolute must. But over time, sweat, saliva, hair and dead skin cells are accumulated on the pillow, providing a breeding ground for dust mites and bacteria. How should you clean it and remove heavy soiling or stains? How to wash pillows properly depending on the material? How to dry them? Here are our tips!

How to wash your pillow properly and keep it clean?

How to wash pillows properly

You certainly have bed linen and pillow washing in your weekly cleaning routine. But how much attention do you pay to the pillow and mattress? Both should be cleaned regularly. Because saliva, sweat and dead skin cells can not only leave ugly stains, they also have an unpleasant odor. In addition, these provide breeding ground for bed mites. If the mites multiply quickly, they can cause allergic reactions.

Taking care of pillows: These are the basic principles

Fortunately, you can clean the pillow at home without much effort. Of course, the first thing you should do is read the manufacturer’s care instructions. Depending on what the filling is, the manufacturers recommend a gentle wash cycle, hand wash (i.e. particularly nice treatment) or advise against doing so.

The following also applies: Use twice as little detergent as usual. It is best to avoid using detergent at all.

Step 1. Ventilate well

Fluff the pillow outdoors daily. Hang it up on the clothesline outside every two weeks. It’s best to leave them there for several hours, ideally on a sunny, windy day.

If this is not possible in winter, then you can, as long as the care instructions allow, put the pillow in the dryer together with several tennis balls and start a gentle cycle at a maximum of 40 degrees Celsius.

Step 2. Wash pillows properly

clean yellowed pillows and how often


If the pillow can be washed, it is best to do so at the start of each season. The process is not complicated, but drying can take longer.

If the pillow is stained apply some stain remover before washing. If your washing machine is large enough, you can wash two pillows together for better effect. In this way, water and washing-up liquid are distributed evenly over the entire cushion surface. If you have a top loader, start a gentle 15 minute wash cycle. The top loaders have slightly more intensive wash programs and may damage the cushion if the wash cycle is long.

How to wash feather pillows:

Use mild detergent and start a wash cycle at 20, maximum 30 degrees Celsius.

Wash memory foam pillows

Memory foam pillows are usually hand washed. First vacuum the pillow, then wipe with a damp clean cloth. Then put 1/2 tsp detergent on a damp microfiber cloth and rub it into the pillow with light hand movements. Then rinse and air dry.

How to wash polyester pillows

Put several pillows in the washing machine and start a gentle cycle. Put only 1 teaspoon of detergent in the washing machine.

Buckwheat pillow

Open the pillow and put the filling in a bowl. Place the bowl outside in the sun to disinfect the filling and remove odors. Wash the pillow with cold water and mild detergent.

Remove yellow stains and odors

Yellow stains are most often sweat stains. Everyone sweats while sleeping. Sweat contains chemicals that can turn pillows and bedding yellow. These are best removed with oxygen bleach. Although it sounds confusingly similar to bleach, it is actually a different cleaning agent. In a cup, fill 100 ml of hot water, add 1 teaspoon of oxygen bleach and dissolve with the water. Soak a cleaning rag in the solution and apply to the pillows. Then leave the detergent on for an hour and then wash the pillow.

Step 3: Dry the pillow

Pillow drying tips and how to

Washing is pretty easy and straightforward. However, drying can be a little more time-consuming. It is very important that you dry the pillow well, otherwise mold could form. Proceed as follows:

  1. Place the pillow in the dryer along with several dry towels to speed up the process. Put two tennis balls in the drum.
  2. When drying feather pillows, start a gentle cycle at 20 or 30 degrees Celsius. The dryer is absolutely necessary in this case, otherwise the feather filling will clump. The following applies: Only put pillows in the dryer that fit easily.
  3. In sunny and warm weather, you can let the cushions air dry.

Prevent yellow stains and heavy contamination

If you want to prevent yellow stains and heavy contamination, you can use pillow protectors. This saves you having to wash it regularly and you only have to wash the pillow twice a year – once in spring and once in fall.

Regular airing and wiping 1-2 times a month can refresh the pillow and prevent mites from multiplying.

Don’t give mites and bacteria a chance – clean your pillow regularly and avoid yellowing and unpleasant odors. Follow the manufacturer’s care instructions and if they allow, wash the pillow two – three times a year.

Also read: Can You Wash Bed Sheets and Towels Together?


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