I was having a conversation with a mom friend of mine a little while back. You know, talking shop while the little ones ran wild. The topic of pillow washing came up and I was surprised to find out that she didn’t know you could wash pillows. She said she just throws them out when they get past their prime. I was really and truly surprised! Do you wash your pillows or do you just toss them?
I have been washing pillows for a quite some time, but I decided to do a little research on washing pillows in a front loader washing machine to see what was out there on the topic. I was surprised to discover that cleaning tips included soaking the pillows in the bathtub and then carrying them through the house and then washing them in the machine. What?!!? I could just imagine that not going well. And our nearest bathtub is upstairs and our washing machine is downstairs! That would just be too much work.
To save you some time, and hassle, I thought I would share with you my tips for how to wash pillows in a front load washing machine. They may be some things you are already doing, but then again, you may have never known you could wash your pillows!
How to wash your pillows in a front loader washing machine, here’s what you’ll need:
#1 Wash out your washing machine
This is a step in the process that is so important to keeping the mildew and mold out of your washing machine, in general and your pillows, specifically. It is so key that you should be washing your washing machine about once a month. I usually do it on a Saturday (when laundry needs are light) and make sure I go in to the laundry room every little bit to complete each step.
#2 Mix up a cleaning solution for your pillows
Make a powder cleanser for your pillows by mixing:
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1 cup dishwasher detergent
- 1/2 Borax
Add all ingredients to a storage container with a secure lid, put the lid on and shake vigorously. Once it is well combined, I put 1/4 cup of the powder cleanser into the detergent dispenser of my HE front load washing machine. Then I add about 1/4 cup of bleach to the same part of the container because you want the entire solution to combine, and be introduced to the pillows at the same time.
#3 Wash at least two pillows at a time
To balance out the load for the machine, make sure you wash two pillows at a time. My washing machine would not hold more than two bed pillows at a time, so I only do two. But if you have a larger washing machine and can wash more than two at a time, you might want to increase the amount of cleansing solution you use.
#4 Use the longest and hottest settings on your machine
On my machine the longest settings include a long spin cycle, a long rinse cycle and I can adjust these settings each time I wash a load. Set up the machine to work long and hot on the pillows – to get rid of all the germs and get them deep down clean. If you cannot adjust all of these settings, just make sure you turn the dial to HOT water.
#5 Adjust the cycle manually
You will want to stay close to the washing machine for the first few minutes so you can wait for the washer to fill up, dispense the cleaning solution, and turn the drum over a few times. You will want to make sure those pillows are very well saturated. Once they are fully saturated, pause the machine and set a timer to come back in 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes is up, you can turn the machine on for another few turns of the drum and then turn it off again for another 30 minutes. Or, you can let the cycle run through the rest of the way. When the cycle is complete, you may have to run the pillows through a cycle of spinning to get all the excess water out of the pillows. I always do, so that I can cut down on the time in the dryer. Here is what they look like after spinning the washing machine.
#6 Use a ratio of two tennis balls to two bed pillows in the dryer
If you are going to care for your pillows on a regular basis, you will need to invest in a package of tennis balls. Tennis balls wrapped in old socks will bounce around with the pillows inside your dryer and help to prevent them from becoming big hunks of pillow. They will help to keep the shape of the pillow. To dry my pillows I set the timer on my dryer to 15 minutes on a medium heat setting, add the pillows, tennis balls, and a dryer sheet (to cut down on static) and push start. Usually my pillows are dry with just one cycle. I have noticed that using the sensor settings for drying my pillows often produce mostly damp pillows; but your dryer’s sensor settings might work better than mine.
#7 Wash your pillows seasonally
To maintain your pillows and extend their life, wash them seasonally. If you create a monthly schedule for washing your washing machine, you can simply take the rest of the washing day every few months to run your household’s pillows through the process of cleaning. A freshly laundered pillow is so inviting in the evening, it is so worth the effort!
Thank you Leah for this super helpful tutorial! If you have a top loading washing machine you can see how to wash your pillows by clicking HERE.
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