How To Wash Pillows In A Washing Machine

This article shows you how to wash pillows in a washing machine. So let’s roll…

Pillows are known to provide sleeping comfort and act as an additional support for people who have issues with their neck and back. 

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When they are not being used as a part of bedding, they can be used to create aesthetic value in a living area.

A lot of the times, we are more concerned with washing our bed sheets and pillow cases that we utterly forget about the pillows themselves. 

A Couple Of Things To Note

In fact, pillow care and maintenance should be a part of our regular hygiene. 

And while it is not necessary to wash our pillows every other week, leaving our pillows unwashed for an extended period would allow for the accumulation of dirt and germs that may be harmful to our health in the long run. 

Standard pillow covers are made from material that allow things to seep through them, eventually. So, they can only do so much in protecting your pillow from nasty stuff. 

A lot of skin infections and allergies can be prevented simply by choosing to wash our pillows as often as necessary.

The use of washing machines helps to save time and effort when it comes to doing the laundry. 

Different kinds of pillows may be washed effectively with the use of a washing machine. And it is not new to find that some brands provide instructions for the proper washing of their products. 

That said, it is vital to follow these instructions as you wouldn’t want to risk damaging a good pillow. 

Additionally, washing a pillow using the washing machine can also be determined by the material composition of the pillow. Cotton, feather and foam pillows are easily washable using the washing machine.

It is crucial to restate that the label and care tag on the pillow is the best place to start your maintenance. 

However, if you cannot find step-by-step instructions or need further guidance on how to properly care for your pillows using the washing machine, you can follow the below stated tips:

Things You Need To Effectively Wash Your Pillows

  • Your dirty pillows (of course)
  • Detergent
  • Cold/Warm/Hot Water
  • Stain remover (If and where necessary)
  • If you have a washing machine that is large enough, it is more effective to wash two pillows at a time as this will help to balance the load and will also allow the water and detergent to circulate more effectively.

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Steps To Wash A Pillow In A Washing Machine

The Preliminaries

  • Remove pillow covers or pillowcases
  • If you are making use of a semi-automated machine, fill the washing tub with warm water, add the detergent of your choice and gently put in the pillows.
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Hotter water helps to sanitize by killing more germs. However, it may be more effective to alternate washing between hot and warm water cycles. 

Where the pillows are stained, you may need a stain remover to assist the detergent in getting them off.

It is important to measure the detergent appropriately before usage. The amount of detergent to be used is also dependent on how dirty the pillows are. 

Too much of it will cause for more water than usual in the rinsing process and too little of it may result in a less than thorough washing job.

Some washing machines have designated places where the detergent should be filled. And it is important to follow the usage directions of the machine in order to get the best out of the laundry process. 

In some instances, especially for top loaders, one can choose to pour the detergent directly on the pillows, the important thing is to put just enough soap for the laundry.

With all that done, let’s look at the different kinds of pillows and how to wash them, of course:

Feather Pillows 

It is obvious from the name that this type of pillow is made from feathers.

This is not to say the feathers are glued together to make a fluff, rather, the pillow is filled with clusters of feathers usually from a goose or duck, or a feather blend.

Feather pillows are often expensive and serious care must be taken in maintaining them. 

Read the instructions

  • The first thing to do, as always, is to read the tag for instructions concerning laundry. 

Load the washing machine appropriately

  • The seams of the pillow should be checked for any tear. If there is no tear, then it can be safely loaded into the washing machine. 
  • Washing two pillows together will create balance. However, in the absence of that, large towels can be loaded together with the pillow.


  • Too much soap lather is not good for feather pillows. So, the detergent choice should be one that does not lather excessively. 
  • Cold or warm water is effective for washing feather pillows. The wash selector should be placed on gentle. 
  • And after washing, the pillows should be rinsed at least two times in order to get all the detergent out.


  • It is vital to fluff the pillows while wet, in order to maintain its form and structure. This should also be done intermittently in between the drying.


  • The Pillows should be placed in the drying tub and checked every 10 to 15 minutes, drying time is dependent on the size of the pillows.

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Down Pillows

Down pillows are very similar to feather pillows as they have the same constitution. 

The significant difference is that the feathers in a down pillow are gotten from a bird’s undercoat usually around the chest area. 

Oftentimes, down pillows are lighter and fluffier than feather pillows. They are also about two times more the cost of a feather pillow.

But besides these differences, they are largely the same. The care instructions are also kinda the same.

Read the instructions

  • The first thing to do, as always, is to read the tag for instructions concerning laundry. 

Load the washing machine appropriately



Fabric softeners should never be used in the washing process as this will reduce the fluff of the pillow by flattening it out. 

It is vital to fluff the pillows while wet, in order to maintain its form and structure. This should also be done intermittently in between the drying.


  • The Pillows should be placed in the drying tub and checked every 10 to 15 minutes. Drying time is dependent on the size of the pillows. 
  • The spin speed should be placed on the maximum level in order to get the moisture out as fast as possible. 
  • If the pillow is lumpy, it might be a sign that it is not dry yet. Dryer balls can also be tossed into the dryer to speed up the drying process. 

Now, you might hear the sounds of the balls being juggled around. However, there is no need for worries as your machine is safe.

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Latex Pillows

A latex pillow could be made from natural latex which is produced from the sap of a rubber tree. 

There is also synthetic latex which is man made and is often not as durable as the organic one.

Latex pillows can be tricky to wash and it will be foolhardy to just toss them into the washing machine and expect the same results as the feather or foam pillows.

Latex pillows often come with specific care instructions and hand-washing may be more suitable than cleaning them with the washing machine.

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Foam Pillows

This is otherwise known as the memory foam pillows. This type of pillow is made from viscoelastic polyurethane. 

  • It is usually firm and is also inexpensive. It is better taken care of by hand, just like the latex pillow. 

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Wool Pillows

To wash wool pillows, the washing tub should be filled with warm water. Once done, you can go ahead to add the detergent quantity of your choice.

At this time, ensure that the washing machine is turned off. Put in the pillow and press it down until it absorbs the water completely. 

You can now turn on the machine and wash gently. 

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Throw Pillows And Decorative Pillows

Throw pillows and decorative pillows are often used to add style and beauty to a living/working area. 

While throw pillows can generally be cleaned using the machine, a lot of decorative pillows cannot go through the same washing process due to the materials from which they are made.

Again, the label attached to the pillows will state how best it is to be maintained; whether or not it should be machine or hand-washed. 

The type of fabric used will also determine if it should be cleaned with water or not. If it is made from cotton or wool, then it can be cleaned using water. 

However, if the fabric falls into the category of silk or velvet, hand-washing will be a more effective solution.


If your throw pillow comes with a cover, then it is better to wash them separately. However, if it does not come with a cover, you might want to wash with warm or hot water in order to kill the germs. 

  • Since throw pillows are much smaller than the regular ones, you’ll need to put in two or three into the machine. 

They should be placed side by side around the agitators to ensure proper washing when they are being moved around. 

  • If you are making use of a front-loader, apply the palm rule. That is, stack the pillows in such a way that it will enable it to move around. 
  • If the pillows have a non-removable cover, separate the coloured pillows from the plain ones in order to prevent a messy outcome.
  • The timer should be set at ten to fifteen minutes to enable you ascertain if the pillows are being unnecessarily flattened or compressed or even the stuffing are still intact.
  • The pillows should be rinsed in two cycles, first with warm water and lastly with cold water.


  • In drying your pillows, avoid excessive heat. Ideally, they should be dried with a low tumble on low-to-medium heat. 
  • Another tip is to take it out a few minutes before the dry-timer setting in order to reduce shrinkage.

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Here’s A Quick Summary Of It All

  • Do not assume, always follow the attached manufacture instructions to the tiniest of details.
  • Pillows should be washed in pairs to keep the loader balanced
  • The use of warm or hot water is effective in killing germs
  • The choice and quantity of detergent should be informed by the type of material used in constructing the pillow
  • Ensure that pillows are thoroughly rinsed with water to remove any soap residue
  • Low heat is always more fabric friendly than excessive heat application in the drying process.

The pillows must be allowed to sun dry completely before putting them back where they used to be.

This is because, if the pillows are not allowed to completely dry out, you’re inviting worse troubles than what you’re currently fighting.

The pillows could start to smell terribly and even have mold begin to grow on them.

So yea! While washing the pillows properly is absolutely important, having them dry out is also terribly important, probably even more.

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