Pillows are among the most commonly used items in the home. Every night, you put a pillow (or three) under your head, leaving hair, dead skin, and more on it, including makeup, sweat, and dirt. It's not hard to imagine that over time, these things accumulate, which is why the once clean pillows begin to turn yellow. And while you can always throw away yellowed pillows and replace them with new ones, washing, handling, and proper care can whiten and breathe life into even old yellowed pillows.
Method 1 of 3: Machine wash
Step 1. Take a look at the care label
Be sure to check the label before washing anything. While most pillows are machine washable, some may need dry cleaning or spot removal as the fabric or filling in these pillows can wear out from washing.
Failure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and washing the pillows in the washing machine will void their warranty, while for some orthopedic pillows this may result in toxic contamination
Step 2. Remove any stains
Pillows are quite vulnerable to stains, mainly due to sweat, dirt and make-up, although oils and food stains are also common on pillows. Before putting your yellowed pillows in the washing machine, treat small stains with regular stain remover spray or a paste of baking soda and water.
Step 3. Wash the pillows in a mixture of vinegar, baking soda and detergent
Instead of washing your pillows with just regular laundry detergent, add vinegar, baking soda, and dishwasher detergent to it.
Use 250 ml dishwasher detergent, 280 g baking soda, and 120 ml vinegar for every 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of regular laundry detergent. This solution should be enough to wash two pillows
Step 4. Run the second cycle with hot water only
The resulting mixture can become thick and grainy and remain on the pillows without thorough rinsing. After the first wash cycle with the mixture, start the second cycle, but this time only with hot water or hot water and 120 ml of vinegar. This will rinse out any remaining detergent and disinfect the pillows.
Step 5. Check the color
Remove the pillows from the washing machine and check if the color has improved. If not, put them back in the washing machine, this time adding about 60 ml of hydrogen peroxide as a safer bleaching solution.
- If even after this procedure the pillow remains yellow, then most likely it will not be saved. If color is the only problem and your pillow doesn't smell like mildew or sweat, put a pillowcase on it to hide the unsightly appearance.
- If the smell remains, then it's time to buy a new pillow.
Step 6. Place the pillows in the tumble dryer along with the tennis balls
Place the washed pillows in a clean dryer along with the tennis balls and turn on the ventilation mode. The tennis balls will hit the cushions as they dry, making them fluffy and dry more evenly.
Tennis balls may leave a strong rubbery smell on the pillows. If so, or if you are sensitive to smell, wrap the balls in socks or an old shirt to mask the smell
Method 2 of 3: Hand wash the pillows
Step 1. Follow the care instructions
If you have a down or memory foam pillow, do not ignore the warnings on the label, as the materials inside these pillows cannot be wetted. Instead, go for manual stain removal. Treat stains with a paste of baking soda and water, or spray with vinegar to remove the odor.
Step 2. Leave the pillows in the sun
Since the washing machine cannot be used, you will need to bleach your pillows using less traditional methods. Place yellowed or microfiber pillows on top of a sun window and brush them with bleach or vinegar to lighten, or baking soda to absorb moisture and odor.
Step 3. Place the microfiber pillows in a bowl of warm water and mild detergent
Squeeze the pad 3-7 times to allow the detergent to penetrate the fabric, then rinse with cold water and squeeze out the water.
Do not squeeze the pillow or you may damage the memory foam and tear the mesh holding it
Method 3 of 3: Keeping it clean
Step 1. Change pillowcases and bedding once a week
Change pillowcases and bedding at least once a week to keep pillows in good condition. If the owner of the bed tends to sweat, urinate, or simply forgets to wash off makeup before bed, change sheets and pillowcases twice a week.
Always keep at least two sets of sheets close at hand - one on the bed and the other while waiting for the day to wash. Changing your sheets regularly will keep your mattresses and pillows clean and extend the life of your sheets
Step 2. Use a refreshing laundry spray
To keep the pillow smelling fresh and clean, use a refreshing spray between washes. Many laundry sprays contain safe, pleasant-smelling ingredients such as witch hazel and essential oils, many of which can be customized to your liking. A good laundry spray will help prevent mold and mildew growth.
Laundry sprays can also act as a remedy for insomnia. A spray using lavender or cedarwood oil, for example, can help you relax and sleep
Step 3. Machine wash your pillows at least twice a year
Some experts recommend machine washing your pillows every three months, but they all agree that you should thoroughly clean your pillows at least once every 5-6 months. Washing your pillows regularly will help prevent yellowing and dirt buildup.
- The frequency of washing depends on your body and your sleeping habits. If you are prone to sweating, pillows should be washed more often.
- If you don't usually wash your face and hair before bed, you will likely need to wash your pillows even more often, such as every two months.
Step 4. Go to bed with a clean face and hair
It is not necessary to shower every night, but simply rinsing your face and brushing your hair will extend the life of your pillows and pillowcases. Many cosmetics are quite harsh and can lead not only to discoloration of the fabric, but also to its wear.