Did you know: you are supposed to clean your body pillow at a regular interval 2 to 4 times per year (about once every 3 to 6 months).
Body pillows collect dust and allergens just like everything else. But due to their large size, they are difficult to clean.
You may wonder how to wash a body pillow and if it can be done. Yes, you can, and you should.
In this article, we take a look at how to clean, wash and dry your body pillow.
There are three primary methods of cleaning body pillows: machine cleaning, hand cleaning, and spot cleaning. But let’s first take a look at where to start.
3 Steps to Take Before You Start Cleaning Your Body Pillow
Before you jump into cleaning your pillow, there are some essential steps to take.
1. Check Washing Instructions
When you buy a body pillow, it should come with washing instructions.
Most pillows, though not all, can be machine washed, so always read the care label before you continue.
If your head spins with those laundry symbols on your pillow, here is an excellent guide on how to read the care label.
2. Select the Washing Technique According to Pillow Material
Washing techniques, detergents, and temperatures should be chosen based on the care label, but these are general guidelines for specific fillings.
- You can clean most down and feather pillows in the washing machine using cool, mild detergent and low heat.
- Polyester pillows you can wash on a gentle cycle with warm water.
- Hand washing is probably necessary for memory foam or latex. Dust the pillow, then spot clean with a clean, damp cloth and mild detergent. Avoid using too much detergent.
- Don’t wash the hulls of the buckwheat pillow; take them out of the envelope. You can dry the filling out in the sun to eliminate odors. Use cold water and a mild detergent to clean the casing.
3. Prepare for Drying Out Your Pillow
The drying process can take several hours or more, so be prepared. Once again, read the care instructions.
If you need to air-dry your pillow, prepare a place where you can lay it flat and wait for it to dry. And to keep your cushion free of mildew, mold, and mites, make sure you dry it thoroughly.
Let’s take a closer look at the washing methods:
Machine Washing Your Body Pillow
The most convenient method for washing pillows is to use a washing machine.
Check from the care label that your pillow can be machine washed.
How to wash body pillows using the washing machine:
1. Inspect the Pillow
Make sure there are no holes or tears in the pillows. Damaged pillows can lead to a mess during cleaning.
2. Avoid Overstuffing the Washing Machine
Don’t overstuff, as stuffed loads may not come clean and may cause wrinkles or deformed pillows.
3. Use Mild Heat and Detergent
Use cool water to prevent deformation and fluffing. Use a mild detergent with no builders or bleaching agents.
4. Air Drying or Tumble Drying
Dry the pillow immediately after it has been washed. If you are machine-drying, follow the care label instructions, and don’t overcrowd your dryer. Dry the cushions at low temperatures.
Some pillows will dry faster than others, as polyester pillows take half the time of down or feather pillows (drying time can be as long as 3 hours).
When you put dryer balls or tennis balls in the dryer, the filling moves around, reducing moisture retention.
Once the cushion is dry, knead, massage, and swat it against the mattress. This affects how comfortable it is to sleep with it and helps to prolong the life of the pillow.
What About Bigger Body Pillows and Washing Machines at Home?
Typical body pillows weigh around 3-6 pounds, but the biggest go over 7 pounds. The size of the standard body pillow is 20 x 54 inches, and the biggest goes up to 100 inches.
Note that lower-capacity top-loading washing machines can hold only 6 pounds of laundry, whereas larger front-loaders can easily hold up to 18 pounds.
If you have a front-loading machine, you can fold the pillow in half before putting it in the drum. You can also curve the cushion around the drum.
How to Hand Wash Your Body Pillow
Steps to consider when you are hand washing your body pillows.
1. Put Soap and Water in a Large Container
Body pillows are so large that they cannot fit in a bucket, so wash them in the bathtub.
Use cold water and mild detergent.
2. Soak the pillow in Soapy Water
Soak the cushion for about half an hour, and squeeze gently in the water to get rid of the dirt and stains.
Rinse with plenty of water to make sure all soap and dirt are removed.
4. Air drying
If you have an outdoor stand, place your dump cushion horizontally on it. You can also use a fan to dry the cushion indoors.
How to Spot-Clean Your Body Pillow?
The pillow cover should protect your body pillow from stains and dirt, but if you notice some pillow stains, spot clean as soon as possible.
The cover itself is easy. Just throw it in the washing machine. However, the body pillow is better to spot clean rather than wash thoroughly.
Stain removal can be tricky. Before spot cleaning, identify what kind of stain your pillow has. Different cleaning methods and detergents work for different stains and so finding the right one is essential.
For some stains, you need to use detergent. But you shouldn’t leave any detergent smells on your cushion.
Below are the steps for spot cleaning:
1. Brush Dust Away
Remove excess dust to avoid driving dust into the fabric.
2. Choose the Cleaning Technique
Some common stains and methods to get rid of them:
|General stains||Warm water with mild detergent|
|Bloodstain||Cold water or mild detergent|
|Red Wine||Specific detergents for red wine|
|Sweat stains||Vinegar or hydrogen peroxide|
Here is a link to a comprehensive stain removal guide from Molly Maid for your reference.
3. Remove the Detergent
Inhaling detergent chemicals is unhealthy, so use a clean sponge or cloth soaked in water to remove detergent spots. Rub tenderly, rinse and repeat.
After you have cleaned the stain, air dry your pillow before using it again.
If you have a fan, you can use it to dry the wet spot. You can also place the cushion outside on a clean surface in a flat position for sun drying.
How Often Should I Wash My Body Pillow?
Pillows need to be cleaned regularly, just like sheets and covers. However, how often? Here is our general guidance to keep your body pillows clean:
- Fluff your body pillow regularly (daily, if possible)
- Wash your body pillow 2-4 times a year
Can I Put a Body Pillow in the Washing Machine?
Most body pillows can be put in the washing machine, but use cool water and a mild detergent, then dry on low heat.
Read the washing instructions carefully, and check that your cushion fits in your washing machine. If not, use self-service laundry with bigger machines.
Memory foam pillows cannot be machine washed because the stuffing inside could be damaged.
Can I Put a Body Pillow in the Dryer?
In most cases, you can dry body pillows in the dryer. If the instructions say machine washing and drying are okay, then you’re good to go. If not, proceed with caution.
Pillows should be completely dry from the inside out. To speed up drying, throw two tennis balls or dryer balls into the dryer with the pillows.
Keep a slow drying cycle on low heat. Heat and tumble can cause your pillows to twist. It’s better to dry your cushion at a lower heat for a longer period than to try to dry it quickly at high heat.
How Long Do Body Pillows Last?
Keeping your pillow clean will extend its life, but it won’t last forever. Likewise, washing too often can cause unnecessary wear.
The type of material, and what they are used for, determine their lifespan.
Generally speaking, a pillow lasts about 2-3 years since you sleep on it every night and sweat quickly enters the cushion. If you sweat a lot while sleeping, you should replace your pillow more often.
If your pillow was white when you bought it, and now it is yellow, you may want to replace it soon.
In most cases, washing the pillowcase in the washing machine extends the life of the pillow. But anyway, many pillows are ready for replacement within three years of usage.
How Do I Wash My Body Pillow Cover?
Check the laundry label on the pillowcase for washing instructions. You are likely to see temperature recommendations if it provides instructions for machine washing. If it says only dry cleaning, then it’s best to choose that.
Some suggestions if your body pillow cover is made from cotton: If the fabric is not dirty or stained, you can machine wash it using cold water. A warm water machine wash would be appropriate if it ever became dirty.
The Bottom Line
Although you should wash your pillowcase every two weeks, along with other bedding, you can keep your actual pillow for longer than that. It’s time to take the leap if you haven’t cleaned your cushion in over six months.
In addition to a clean pillow cover, regular washing of the cushion is a crucial part of good sleep quality.
Here you can read more about how to sleep with different types of body pillows.
Hopefully, you’ve found what you need on how to wash a body pillow at home to increase its longevity and comfort. When you invest money in your cushions, it is also worth investing time in maintaining them.
From daily use, your body pillow and pillowcase accumulate oils, dirt, and sweat. As a result, they can harbor bacteria and cause allergies.
You should aim to wash your body pillow every 3-6 months and pillowcase every week to keep them clean.