How to Wash Pillows and Keep Them Smelling Fresh

Pillows are necessary for every bed, but they can be a pain to keep clean. They start to smell bad if you don't wash them often enough. But if you wash them too much, the fabric begins to wear out. 

So how often should you really be washing your pillows? And how can you keep them smelling fresh in the meantime? 

Read on for tips on keeping your pillows clean and smelling great.

Why Should You Wash Your Pillows?

Pillows can collect much dirt, dust, and even bacteria over time. These contaminants can cause allergies or respiratory problems if you don't wash them regularly. 

Washing your pillows every few months is the best way to keep them clean and fresh.

Besides, getting rid of all the dirt and grime build-up can help your pillow last longer. And who doesn't want that?

The more you wash them, the less likely they will succumb to wear and tear. In other words, cleaning your pillows often can actually make them last longer!

How Often Should You Wash Your Pillows?

How often you should wash your pillows depends on a few factors, such as:

How often you use them: If you use your pillows every day, you should wash them every 2-3 months. But if you only use them occasionally, you can get away with washing them once every 6-12 months.

  • Your sleep habits: If you tend to sweat a lot at night, wash your pillows more often. The same goes for long hair that sheds (a lot).
  • Your environment: If you live in a dusty or polluted area, wash your pillows more often.
  • Your allergies: If you have allergies, you should wash your pillows every 2-3 months to reduce your exposure to allergens.

Of course, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide how often to wash your pillows based on your needs and preferences.

How to Wash Your Pillows Properly

Washing your pillows is easy! 

Just follow these simple steps:

1. Remove the Pillowcases

This is the first and most crucial step. You need to remove the pillowcases before washing the pillows, or else the dirt and grime will end up on the cushions.

Some pillows have removable covers, which make this step even more straightforward. But if your pillows don't have removable covers, you can just slip the pillowcases off.

Don't forget to wash the pillowcases separately from the pillows themselves. They'll need to be cleaned on a different cycle (usually delicate) and with another detergent.

2. Pre-Treat Any Stains

If your pillows have stains, you'll need to pre-treat them before washing. The best way to do this is to dab the stained areas with some laundry detergent.

Let the detergent sit on the stains for a few minutes before proceeding to the next step. This will help loosen and lift the stains.

Also, use a color-safe detergent if your pillows are colored. Otherwise, you run the risk of the colors bleeding in the wash.

3. Wash the Pillows On a Delicate Cycle

Most pillows can be washed on a delicate cycle in your washing machine. Just be sure to use a mild detergent and cold water.

If your pillows are filthy or have stubborn stains, you may need to wash them on a gentle or hand-wash cycle instead.

Read the care label on your pillows before washing to be sure. Otherwise, you risk damaging them in the wash.

4. Dry the Pillows On Low Heat

After washing, you must dry your pillows on low heat. This will help prevent them from shrinking or losing their shape.

If your pillows are made of natural materials (like down or wool), you may need to air-dry them instead. Again, just be sure to check the care label first.

Ultimately, it's always better to err on the side of caution. Better safe than sorry, right?

5. Fluff the Pillows After Drying

Once your pillows are dry, you'll need to fluff them up to restore their shape. Give them a good shake or two; they should be good as new.

If your pillows are still damp, you can put them in the dryer on low heat for 10-15 minutes to help speed up the drying process.

Additionally, you can fluff your pillows by putting them in the dryer with a clean tennis ball or two. Just throw the balls in with the pads, and they'll help fluff them up as they dry.

And that's pretty much the thick of it! 

Now you know how to wash your pillows and keep them smelling fresh. Just be sure to do it every 2-3 months (or as needed), and your pads will stay clean and fresh for years to come.


Washing your pillows is essential if you want them to stay clean and fresh. Just follow the steps above, and you'll have no problem keeping your pillows in tip-top shape.

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Ranging from one-time cleanings to recurring services, we'll work with you to create a custom cleaning plan that fits your unique needs.

Call our team to get a free estimate.

A weekly house cleaning service is the perfect way to spend quality time with your loved ones without having to worry about getting everything done around the house.

You spend so much time providing — let us take care of the cleaning.We'll come in every week (or every other week) and refresh everything just the way you like it. After just the first couple of regular cleans, we'll learn things about you that you wouldn't even know to let us know about