I did something yesterday that I have never attempted before. I washed our pillows in the washing machine. It’s not that the pillows haven’t needed washing before now. I just never took the time to learn how to wash pillows in the washing machine. If the kids ever gunked up their pillows, or if the pillows turned yellow and flat, I just figured I needed to throw them away and buy new ones.


Wrong. In fact, after doing a little research, I learned that how to wash pillows in the washing machine is actually a simple process, one that can extend the life of the pillows a great deal, especially if you wash them at least once every six months. Well, I can tell you right now that we probably won’t be washing the pillows every six months, but I am thrilled with the fluffy, white pillow I slept on last night.


If your pillows could use some freshening up, and you’re willing to take a little time to save them, here’s how to wash pillows in the washing machine.

pillows in washer

Step 1: Remove the pillowcases, pretreat any stains, and drop the pillows in the washing machine. You will want to wash two at a time to keep the washing machine balanced.


Step 2: Add 1 cup of detergent, 1/2 cup Borax


(I had plenty on hand from my new and improved homemade laundry detergent recipe), and 1 cup bleach (if you’re into bleach, which I’m not).


Step 3: Wash the pillows in very hot water. I set my washer to the “sanitize” cycle, which gets the water as hot as possible.


I went the extra step and added some boiling water from my electric kettle, just to be sure. You should also set the washer for the extra rinse cycle.


Step 4: While the pillows are washing, make some dryer balls to help the pillows dry faster in the dryer.


You can always buy some, but I was in project mode and didn’t want to take the time to go to the store or wait for Amazon to ship them to me, so I found some old racquetballs (tennis balls would work, too), dropped them in some white athletic socks, and tied off the ends.


Step 5: Place the pillows, along with the dryer balls, in the dryer. Keep the heat setting to low or medium. It might take awhile for the pillows to dry. I ended up placing mine out in the sun for a little while, then returned them to the dryer again right before bedtime.

As you can see, the pillows are clean and fluffy. I hate to think of all that money I’ve spent over the years on pillows that could have been saved, and all because I didn’t know how to wash pillows in the washing machine!

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