How to Wash Pillows

Woman sleepingo n nice clean pillow

The pillow is the cornerstone of the most important thing you can offer guests: A good night’s sleep. According to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 91 percent of all participants listed a pillow as the most important part of getting a proper night’s rest.

And a comfortable pillow is a well-cared-for pillow. That’s why we’re going to devote this week’s blog post to proper pillow procedure: how to clean pillows, particularly how to wash down pillows. And can you wash memory foam pillows?

We also realize that pillows aren’t a permanent fixture at your establishment, which is why we’ll look at what to do with old pillows. Read on for some tips on keeping your pillows performing and looking their best.

How to wash down pillows

“Pillows” is the operative word here, not “pillow.” You’ll always want to wash two pillows at once, to make sure your washing machine stays balanced during the spin cycle.

There’s no rule for whether you need to wash on warm, cold or hot, but just know that fabric can shrink in warmer wash cycles.

Wash the pillows with a gentle, additive-free soap, using the fastest spin speed possible to reduce moisture, and an extra rinse to prevent soap from lingering.

If you need to whiten your pillows, use a non-chlorine bleach. Fabric softener is not a good idea, as it can make the down/feathers less fluffy.

When drying your down pillows, be patient. You might need a few cycles depending on your dryer. It’s critical that you get the pillow 100 percent dry to prevent mold. If the pillow is clumped, or emits a weird odor, it’s a sign that it needs more time in the dryer.

Test the pillows between each cycle. They might be damp on the inside even if they feel dry on the outside. Use caution and give them another spin in the dryer.

Dry cleaning your down pillows is also an option.

Can you wash memory foam pillows?

Tempur Cloud Memory Foam Pillow can be washed by handYes! Just not in the washer. Your spin cycle is too rough and can cause the foam to deteriorate. You’ll need to hand-wash memory foam pillows.

Start by filling your bathtub – or a large sink – with lukewarm water and a small amount of gentle detergent. Dunk the pillow under the water, squeezing it to make sure the detergent permeates the material. Do this for about 10 minutes.

Drain the tub or sink and run the pillow under the water to rinse away the detergent. Squeeze out as much water as you can from the foam, but do not wring it out. That could damage the foam.

Put the pillow on a dry, flat surface in some place with a lot of ventilation but out of direct sunlight and heat. Again, you can’t use a machine to dry the pillow, because the heat from the dryer can cause the foam to break down.

The pillow protector is a different story. If you use a machine washable cover for your memory foam pillow – and make sure it gets washed on a regular basis – you should only need to wash the pillow itself every six months.

How often should I replace pillows?

Even with regular cleaning, pillows will eventually show their age. Want to find out how old a non-foam pillow is? Give it the “fold test”: Fold the pillow in half. If it doesn’t return to its original shape right away, it’s time to buy a new one.

This isn’t to say pillows that pass this test are immune from replacement. Pillows go through a lot, especially in a hotel, so it’s good practice to replace them regularly. Some hotel chains replace their pillows every six to eight months, while others opt for every three months.

That leaves us with one more question: What to do with old pillows?

Jack russell terrier sleeping on pillow

If you own a bed and breakfast or vacation rental, your old bed pillows can become new throw pillows, outdoor cushions, or even a pet bed. No reason your guests’ pets can’t nap in comfort as well.

Some other considerations…

You may not feel confident laundering your down pillows or feel that it’s too costly to have them dry cleaned. Using a high quality waterproof pillow protector (NOT one made of vinyl or plastic) can hygienically protect the pillow and reduce or eliminate the need for the pillows to be laundered. Products such as Clean Rest Pro pillow protectors and Bed Care pillow protectors which are waterproof, bed bug proof, dust mite proof and allergy proof can address this issue.

You might also be reluctant to launder your down alternative pillows because they sometimes come out of the dryer not feeling as nice as they did before being laundered. Using tennis balls or “dryer balls” are very good at helping to keep bulky bedding products like pillows from clumping up during the drying process.

For more ways to make your guests comfortable, contact InnStyle. Our sales team is ready to advise you on the best pillows, bedding and other amenities for your establishment.

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