Testing & Washing Bed Pillows

1 Material
Do you test and wash your bed pillows?
Over the years I've made some pretty big mistakes like washing my grandma's feather bed pillows. The covers were dark blue with off white stripe ticking and they had them for quite a while. She gave me some and young Dolly decided to machine wash them in hot water. The hot water only made them smell like dead birds! I aired them outside for days it seems and don't believe they ever smelled decent enough to sleep on again. This brings me to the question do you wash your bed pillows? We're talking pillow washing today.
I guess I learned a lesson the hard way back then. Always check the contents of your bed pillows. They are made so differently now. Read those irritating tags that hang down from the pillow to be sure and it should also tell you if your pillow is machine washable or dry cleanable.
How old are your pillows? You might take that into consideration. These pillows are around five years old but I had them stored without using for awhile. I've been sentimental to them because when my mama was so sick and I stayed with her, she switched her pillows for mine and I just smiled. She knew they were soft and comfy. I've begun to use them and so now sadly I will wash them. She'd want it that way.
Test your pillows to see if they are worn completely out or if they are good to use longer. If they stay folded in the middle where you've folded them it is definitely time to replace them.
My pillows shown are extremely soft and I really love that they are. I personally can't stand a stiff hard pillow. Hubby loves the stiffer variety. Even though these may look soft from much use they really aren't. I bought them this way extremely soft and luxurious!
You should know that pillows do yellow and for a number of reasons:
Body Fluids, Product Breakdown, There are certain coatings that are sometimes put on them to make them whiter/brighter. That and sunlight can break down this coating. The fabrics naturally turn yellow and gray over time.
I'm washing these pillows now in one of my homemade laundry soaps. This one is made with the new 'White Lirio Soap' that is specifically made for 'White Laundry Only'. I made this with my Heavy Duty Mixture which can be found here. The tag on these pillows said machine wash on gentle cycle in warm water. I was tempted to use hot but turned it down according to the instructions. I also added lavender essential oil to the wash for a sweet smell.
Pillows: Clean, Dry, Fluffy, Smelling Fresh & Clean, Ready to Cover and Use!
#1 Read the tag for contents and instructions.
#2 How long have you had the pillows?
#3 Test your pillows as above in video
#4 Wash according to pillow instruction with a great detergent/soap for cleaning whites!
#5 Dry and Fluff in dryer on low heat. You may have to run through more than one drying cycle.
Now you're ready to sleep on clean comfort for another 3 months or so.
Join me over at the website for more cleaning, tips, tool, mixtures etc. Hit link below.

Dolly Sarrio
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

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3 of 19 questions
  • Joyce Joyce on Oct 13, 2018

    The pillows I want to wash are about 40 yr-old feather pillows. Still very very nice. My plan was to wash in warm water with vinegar, no soap, possibly put a bit of lavender in the rinse water. Then line dry. That was how we did it in the "olden days." What do you think?

  • Esme Esme on Dec 17, 2019

    What is White Lirio?

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Dec 16, 2020

    Wouldn’t mold grow in the washed pillows?


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3 of 178 comments
  • Leslie Leslie on Dec 17, 2020

    You reminded me of my Grandmothers bed pillows best in the world to sleep on. Not sure how she cleaned them but I do remember that she and my Mother always put on zippered pillow case protectors on all the bed pillows which I still do now. Unfortunately I inherited those pillows and didn't ask how to clean them put them in the washer and the dead duck smell never left. Shame on me. Would love pillows like that again and maybe will see how much down /goose feathers are. Those pillows always had the blue striped ticking. Thank you for your info, I always like to learn something new :)

    • Dolly Sarrio Dolly Sarrio on Dec 17, 2020

      Leslie, I ruined my grandmother's pillows with the feathers in them. I guess I should have laid them in the sun to try to dry and get rid of that stinky smell.

      Yes I remember the blue striped ticking. Maybe they just put them out in the sun to refresh? I don't know. It was good to hear from you.

  • Marty Ayers Marty Ayers on Dec 17, 2020

    A good feather pillow is worth investing in a breathable, waterproof protector... we bought them at the same time that we bought the mattress protector.... and they have really made the expense worth while. The pillow itself is protected from sweat (or drool... brown stains on the fabric) and the protector can be taken off and washed... just DON'T use fabric softener. Ours were purchased at Sleep America... but I found similar ones made by SafeRest... available on Amazon. My mother used to put a lightly starched... but not stiff... zippered pillow case on her pillows... under the pillow case that matched the sheets (the dirt and sweat stick to the starch ** and is washed away when the pillow case is washed and dried)

    I believe that feather pillows can be dried on a low/very low setting.... just do one at a time and put in 3 or 4 tennis balls with them... the balls bouncing around in the dryer beat up the lumps of wet feathers

    ** NOTE: you can put one or several light coats of spray starch on your white canvas tennis shoes... and it will protect them from dirt and scuffs... white shoe polish works well too....