Skip to main content

21OAK may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Keep your pillows fluffy and fresh with these smart cleaning hacks

In the midst of choosing the right pillow for your maximum comfort and rest, you may not have considered the cleaning steps you must later ta ke to maintain the wonderful fluff and freshness. It may be the last thing anyone wants to acknowledge, but the pillows where we place our heads at night are virtual breeding grounds for bacteria and other microorganisms.

The average person spends one-third of their life asleep. During that time, it’s gross — but all too true — that our skin and saliva can, shall we say, free themselves from the body, promoting the growth of bacteria inside our pillows and pillowcases in the process.

Related Videos

Feeling creeped out? Don’t worry. A proper pillow cleaning is just a few simple steps away from the road map we’ve sketched out below. Included are some of the best tools on the market today to help you on your journey to pillow purification.

Potentially harmful invaders

Pillows can absorb and carry other potentially harmful invaders, including:

  • Mold
  • Yeast
  • Dust mites
  • Larger insects, possibly including bed bugs

Now, just because it’s possible for these substances to find their way into your pillow, that does not mean that hosts of deadly pathogens are congregating there right now, plotting your demise. But there is some risk, especially if you don’t clean or maintain your pillow as recommended.

Cleaning your pillow

Does your pillow need a deep clean or more of a once-over? Are you a do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiast, or are you more comfortable letting the professionals handle it?

In general, sleep experts recommend cleaning pillows twice a year and replacing them every two or three years. As with everything else, wear and tear, grime, and microorganisms simply accumulate in pillows over time. So, don’t let replacing them become an afterthought, no matter how comfortable they are.

Tips and tools for pillow cleanliness include:

  • Dry cleaning: Check first to see if your dry cleaner accepts pillows. You may need to shop around for the best price or even to find one that accepts pillows.
  • DIY home cleaning: If you’re handling the task yourself, wash the pillow on the warm cycle and add half a cup of white vinegar, 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide, and a good-quality laundry booster like the Charlie’s Soap Laundry Booster and Hard Water Treatment to the water.

Buy Now

  • Dry it out: No one needs a primer on why damp pillows are a bad idea. Make sure pillows are completely dry from the inside out before putting them back in service. To make sure the pillow is as dry as possible, try some dryer balls, like the reusable 100% New Zealand wool balls from Smart Sheep, to achieve a faster and more complete clean compared with traditional dryer sheets. (If you have a down pillow or something similar, dryer balls can also help prevent clumping.)

Buy Now

  • Don’t forget the pillowcase: After all, pillowcases are the pillow’s primary barrier, so wash pillowcases weekly with other bed linens in hot water and bleach.
  • Sanitize at home or on the go: If bacteria and mold are a major concern and you want an extra layer of clean beyond what typical cleanings can offer, consider investing in a UV sanitizing tool, such as the Sharper Image Travel UV Sanitizing Wand. This can also be a good solution for travelers who tend to find themselves sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings.

Buy Now

It’s actually kind of impressive how many recent innovations we’ve seen when it comes to keeping our environment clean. Even so, good old-fashioned elbow grease and a little vigilance are all it really takes to get your pillows and pillowcases clean and as pathogen-free as possible. Short of living in hermetic chambers, this simple roadmap gives you about as strong of a shield as it’s reasonably possible to have.

Editors' Recommendations

This is the addition your bathroom absolutely needs this winter to help keep everyone warm
Warm up this winter with the luxurious comfort of warm towels
Towel warming rack on a wall in a tiled bathroom

A warm towel when you step out of the shower is something you can expect at a spa or in a fancy hotel, but most people don’t have that luxury every day. However, thanks to modern technology, you can find a good towel warmer for home use and bring that spa day feeling into your bathroom whenever you wish.

Home towel warmers come in a few styles and are good for more than just added comfort. Towel warmer racks and towel warmer buckets also help reduce loads of laundry, cut down on harmful bacteria that grow on damp surfaces, and provide you with warm, dry towels each time you need one. And since the weather is colder, now is the perfect time to consider adding a towel warmer to your bathroom.

Read more
Should you power wash your house in the fall? Here are 5 things to wash at the end of the season
Power wash your house in the fall - you'll be happy with the results
Man spraying roof with power washer

The fall season is a prime time to check some of those pesky household chores off your to-do list. With the kids back in school, autumn is a time to wrap up all things summer and prepare for winter. This includes fall floor-to-ceiling cleaning, which is tedious but necessary work. Take solace knowing there's at least one quick task, and maybe even a little fun: power washing your home's exterior. With just five quick power washing projects, you can have your house sparkling clean and prepared to survive the winter.

With end-of-season projects in mind, check out the five most important power washing projects you should undertake to keep your home clean, protected, and ready for winter. You'll be surprised how satisfying power washing your house in the fall can be, and we promise you'll love the results.

Read more
These are the best plants to put in your shower for a nature-inspired sanctuary
Adding a plant to your shower benefits both you and the plant
Bathroom with orange walls

Bathroom plants are a rising trend, and for good reason. Who wouldn't want to add a touch of refined nature or create a cozy farmhouse feel in their bathroom? Placing a plant in the shower, however, might seem a bit odd. The truth is, there are many benefits to having a plant in your shower, both for you and for the plant itself. We're going to discuss some of these benefits, and we're going to give you some ideas for the best plants to put in your shower. Once you've added a touch of nature to your shower, you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

Why put plants in your shower?
Above and beyond adding a bit of color to your dim shower, there are some health and environmental benefits to keeping plants in your shower.
Less unwanted moisture
It's no secret that bathrooms tend to be hot spots for humidity. Excessive amounts of moisture, however, can have some adverse effects. Mold can grow around your bathroom, the paint on the walls can peel, and certain nasty bugs are attracted to moist places. A shower plant can help reduce unwanted moisture in your bathroom and minimize some of these issues. Since plants need water, they suck it right out of the air, providing the added benefit of not having to water the plant as often.
Cleaner air
You probably know that plants pull carbon dioxide out of the air and emit oxygen, right? But did you know that while this process is taking place, the plant is also filtering the air and pulling toxins out of it? With all of the cleaning products, hair products, and other nasty molecules that leave toxins in your bathroom's air, having a shower plant will allow you to breathe a bit easier and healthier.
Mental health benefits
Having indoor plants comes with numerous health benefits, but the most significant are the benefits to your mental health. We all know that plants are therapeutic, and studies have shown that plants help with stress relief, energy boosts, and even increased concentration and productivity. Why not reap all these mental health benefits right at the start of your day while you shower in the morning?
Elevated decor
Let's face it, indoor plants are beautiful, and they add so much charm and character to any room. Why not apply that same philosophy to your bathroom and shower? Having a plant in your shower is not only trendy and aesthetically pleasing, but it will leave you feeling like you're showering in the tropics.
The plants love it
Putting a plant in the shower not only benefits you, but it also benefits the plant itself. Many plants thrive in humid environments, so you'll see them flourish in your bathroom. If you tend to forget to water your plants for long periods of time, having them in an already moist area will allow you to feel less guilty about neglecting them.

Read more