How To Clean Pillows Without A Washing Machine

If you want to learn how to clean pillows without a washing machine, welcome…

It is important that your beddings are kept clean. The mattress, bedsheets and pillows need to be cleaned as often as possible. 

We often pay attention to our sheets and pillow covers and leave out the pillow itself. Interestingly, pillows house a lot of bacteria. 

Considering that this is where we place our heads every time, we take a nap on our beds, it is important that our pillows are kept clean. 

When you wash a pillow, it is likely to remain clean for a few weeks. Afterwards, bacteria rapidly increase in the pillow. 

Why It Is Important To Wash Our Pillows

Using a pillow that is dirty and filled with bacteria could lead to skin irritation and in some cases, respiratory challenges. This already underscores why your pillows need to be washed more often. 

It is advised that your pillow should be washed every 3-5 months. The way you wash your pillow will depend on the type of pillow and its material. 

Pillows are generally made of cotton, memory foam, feathers or synthetic pillows. And each material is not to be washed the same. 

For instance, pillows made with memory foam need to be washed with care so that it does not lose its shape. 

That said, it is easy to dump your pillow in the washing machine and relieve yourself of the trouble of having to wash by hand. 

However, the vigorous agitation that the pillow will be subjected to in the washing machine could damage the pillow, especially if it is made from delicate material. 

Some pillows can be washed in a washing machine without being damaged. However, it is important that you check the laundry directions of the pillow. 

That said, hand washing your pillow is still the safest way to wash your pillows, especially if the pillow is made of memory foam.

Handwashing your pillow will keep it looking fresh and it will last longer. Interestingly, it is not as laborious as one might think. By following a few steps you can easily get your pillow looking fresh and clean. 

In the event that your washing machine breaks down or is unavailable for use, rather than postpone washing your pillow, you can go ahead to hand-wash it. Let us show you how. 

Hand Washing A Pillow

Using detergent to wash items with your hand could irritate your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. 

So, it is advisable that you wash your pillow while wearing plastic gloves to avoid any skin irritation. Here are the steps you should take:

Step 1: Dust Off The Pillow

  • Remove the pillow cover from the pillow. This can be washed separately. You can also use a washing machine to have it cleaned. 

However, pay attention to the material type. Pillow covers made from delicate materials are better hand washed. 

  • Back to the pillows, you need to get rid of debris and any loose dirt that could be stuck in the outer fabric of the pillow. This includes dust, dead skin cells and hair. 
  • To do this, dust off the pillow by patting down the pillow with your hands. Apply enough force while patting down to loosen up any dirt on the pillow’s surface. 
  • Dusting off the pillow makes it easier to wash and clean. Other bacteria inside the pillow itself will be killed off during the washing process. 

Step 2: Soak The Pillow

Soaking the pillow is a vital step in washing the pillow. It makes the hand washing step a lot easier. 

  • Firstly, by using hot water in this step you will kill off any bacteria that lives inside the pillow. This is important, to disinfect the pillow. 
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The hot water used for soaking also helps to break down stains on the pillow, making it easier to hand wash.

To soak the pillow, you will need a large basin. Better still, you could use a bathtub and place a stopper at the drainage to hold water within the tub. 

  • Fill the wash tub with hot water, make sure it is just the right amount of water to ensure that the pillow is fully submerged under it. 
  • Before putting the pillow in the wash tub, add about two tablespoons of liquid detergent. Make sure the detergent dissolves and mixes properly in the water. You could use a wooden ladle to agitate the hot water a little so that the detergent dissolves properly. 

Powdered detergent can also be used instead of liquid detergent, however, ensure the powdered detergent also properly dissolves in water. 

  • Next, place the pillow inside the washtub. Make sure that the pillow is fully submerged underwater. Allow it to sit in water for about 25-30 minutes. 

This is long enough for the combination of the detergent and hot water to penetrate the pillow and destroy any bacterial inside it. 

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Step 3: Wash The Pillow

Allow the hot water used to soak the pillow to cool off. By that time, the pillow should be ready for washing. 

It is important that you are careful with your handwashing technique, especially if you are washing a delicate pillow. You need to wash carefully so that it is not damaged. 

  • To wash the pillow, get rid of the water that was used to initially soak the pillow. Then fill the washtub with fresh warm or cool water. 
  • Pour the right amount of detergent into the water and agitate it with your hand to ensure the detergent dissolves properly. 
  • Add very little amounts of detergent. In fact, you could do without adding detergent, if the amount of detergent you added whilst soaking the pillow is sufficient. Some of the detergent will be soaked in by the pillow. 
  • Immerse the pillow in the washtub. Press the pillow down with your hand and make sure it is fully submerged in water. 
  • Gently, knead the pillow with your hands. Be careful not to fold or twist the pillow while doing so, especially if it is of a delicate material. 
  • As you knead through the pillow, the dirt in the pillow will be scrubbed towards the edges of the pillow. Occasionally, flip the pillow over to knead through the other side. 
  • At the corners and edges of the pillow, gently squeeze away any dirt that would have accumulated there due to the kneading pressure you have applied. 
  • As much as you can, let this handwashing process be done with the pillow submerged in water throughout. This is best for efficient cleaning. 
  • In the course of washing, you will need to replace the water and detergent about 3-4 times until the water becomes clearer. This will indicate that all the dirt in the pillow has been washed away. 
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Make sure that each time you replace the water the washtub is thoroughly cleaned before it is refilled with water. 

Step 4: Rinse The Pillow

Once washing is complete. You need to get rid of all the detergent in the pillow. This is done by rinsing the pillow. If detergent is left in the pillow after washing, this could lead to eye and skin irritation when the pillow is in use. 

  • To get rid of the detergent in the pillow, firstly, gently squeeze out any excess water after washing the pillow. Most of the detergent should be removed when you do this. 
  • Replace the water in the washtub with fresh clean water. 
  • Hold the pillow under water and gently squeeze it to get rid of the detergent in the pillow. This rinsing process will take a long while because the detergent would have gotten deep into the pillow and will take time to come out completely. 
  • After a while, you could place the pillow under a tap of running water and squeeze around it gently to get rid of more detergent. Refill the washtub with clean water again and immerse the pillow inside it. 
  • Press the pillow gently underwater and check to see if suds begin to form. If the water becomes sudsy, this indicates that there is still some detergent in the pillow. You can also knead through the pillow to get rid of the detergent. 
  • Replace the water as many times as required until the water no longer gets sudsy. This indicates that all the detergent has been gotten rid of. 

Step 5: Drying The Pillow

  • If your pillow is made with memory foam, then air drying the pillow is the way to go. Using a dryer can destroy the pillow entirely. The heat from the dryer could cause the foam in the pillow to lose shape. This will also cause the pillow to crumble. 
  • After rinsing out the pillow, gently squeeze out any excess water then dry the pillow outside in the sun. 
  • Alternatively, you could place the pillow on a clothes rack in a well-ventilated room. After a few hours, flip the foam over so that the other side will dry properly.

Now, watch this to see how all that is done:

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Treating Stains And Odors

If your pillow has been soiled so badly that it begins to smell, you need to get rid of this odor. Depending on how bad the smell is, ordinary detergent may not be sufficient to get rid of this odor. 

  • One way to deal with the odor is to add baking soda when you wash the pillow. Baking soda is a natural odor neutralizer. It does not just cover the bad odor, rather it neutralizes the source of the odor to totally eliminate the odor.

So, you could apply about 260 grams of baking soda into the washtub before you start handwashing. 

  • To further give the pillow a nice scent, you could add 2 to 3 drops of essential oil to the water for rinsing. Essential oils such as rose, citrus, lavender or rosemary could be used to give the pillow a nice scent. 
  • If the pillow smells old, hang it outside to dry in the sun for a few hours. Let the pillow face direct sunlight. This will kill the bacteria that causes it to smell and get rid of the old smell. 

Stubborn stains would not easily go away using only regular washing detergent. You will need to add a mixture of stain removing agents while the pillow is being soaked. An example of a mixture of stain removing agents could include the following:

Firstly, soak the pillow in hot water. Next, stir the mixture of the cleaning agents above and allow it to soak into the pillow for about 30 minutes before you begin to wash. Essentially you can add this mix of stain removers when you soak the pillow in hot water for 30 minutes. 

Washing Tips To Keep In Mind

  • Always pay attention to cleaning directions of your pillow which can be found on the laundry tag of the pillow. Follow the instructions accordingly. 
  • Do not machine wash pillows that are not designed for machine wash. Do not tumble dry pillows not designed for the dryer
  • Some pillows will lose shape when washed. These kinds of pillows should not be dipped in water. For such pillows the best care method will be to spot clean the pillows and have them air dried. 
  • Suede, leather trimmed, silk and wool covered pillows should not be washed with water. If you do so, they will be destroyed. These kinds of pillows should be cleaned based on the material cleaning instructions. 
  • After washing your pillows. Make sure the pillows are dried as soon as possible. Allowing pillows to stay damp for a while is never good. It will cause the pillow to develop musty odors. No one wants that. 
  • Also, if you will not dry the pillows outside, ensure they are dried in a well-ventilated room, so they are not left damp for too long. You could place the pillows under a fan to increase the rate of drying. 
  • If your pillow is an old one and is not in a very good shape, for instance, if the stitching is not strong enough, it is better to have it spot cleaned. 

Absolutely do not put such a pillow in a washing machine. The rigorous cleaning cycles could rip the pillow apart. 

  • Better still, consider replacing older pillows with new ones. That way you can thoroughly wash your pillows and maintain better hygiene.

So, there you have it! Hand washing your pillows is actually as easy as that.

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