Things We've Forgotten [To Clean] PT 7: Pillows

Clean Pillows!
It's amazing how a little bit of sunshine motivates.  The second the days start to get longer and the sun starts to take on a rosier glow, people start thinking about polishing up the caves they've been hibernating in for the past three months.  It's a lovely time of hope, expectation and window cleaner.  

But all that cleaning CAN be overwhelming. Especially if you want to do a deep, deep clean (and if you have, you know, a life). 

So while we make plans for that all-inclusive spring cleaning spree, lighten the load by picking one overlooked item a day to knock off your list.   

Overlooked Item of the Day

Not So Clean...
I actually AM one of those people who washes their sheets and pillow cases once a week (I'm mega-creeped out by the idea of sleeping in sweaty, dirty sheets), however when it comes to washing actual pillows? Yeah, not so much.

When I was doing research for this series, I came across this as an oft-forgotten item and thought,"Yep. That's me."  (And of course, by oft-forgot, I mean it's quite possible that I've NEVER washed them. Yikes.)

So, on to the work of turning those dingy, yellowed pillows into bright, clean, and fluffy noggin-nests.

Tools Needed: 
1 load's worth Laundry Detergent (generally 1/2 - 1 cup)
3/4 cup Powdered Dishwasher Detergent 
1/2 cup Borax
1 cup Bleach (Yes, I'm not normally a proponent of using bleach, but considering how dirty these could potentially be, I'm willing to make an exception)
2-3 Tennis Balls (Yep.) 

Okay, Let's Do This.


1.  Screw Safety. I'm just kidding - Safety first. Double check the labels on your pillows to make sure they ARE in fact machine washable.  Most are.

2.  Start filling your empty machine (READ: NO PILLOWS) with SUPER Hot Water.  When the washer is 1/2 way full, stop the filling process and proceed to the next step (we'll finish filling in a second).

3. Add the Laundry Detergent, Dishwasher Detergent, Borax and Bleach.  Allow washer to sit for 1-2 minutes, until all of the powders are dissolved.

4.  Add your pillows.  Most sites recommend doing two pillows at a time to keep your washer bleachable items (think gym socks, rags, or even white pillow cases) to keep the load balanced.
My tiny apartment washer laughed at the idea, so I had to adjust.  One pillow, and several other items that could stand up to a bleaching (socks, sheets, etc).

5.  Allow your washer to fill the rest of the way up. 

6.  Soak for up to four hours, flipping pillows over halfway through. 

7.  Finish wash cycle. 

8. Run pillows through the rinse cycle at least twice.  


1. After the pillows have been soaked, washed and rinsed well, pop them in the dryer along with the tennis balls.  The tennis balls help fluff the pillows!  Although many sites say that synthetic pillows are okay on low-heat, I prefer to stay safe and use the No Heat setting.  (This may mean you'll have to run it several times to make sure it's completely dry. This is important for preventing mildew.)

If you are lucky enough to live somewhere where it's currently sunshine-y, set them outside for a shot of bleaching, freshening sunshine.

Want more? Check out the rest of the Forgotten to Clean Series and learn how to clean your Iron, Dishwasher, Knife Block and Coffee Maker

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