Goodbye sweaty pillows – give your bedding an autumn-clean

Give pillows and bedding an autumn fresh clean

The hottest summer on record has left most of our beds a little less than fresh.  Yes, of course, I do wash my sheets and covers, but how best to clean pillows and duvets themselves?  Read our tips on washable pillows and freshening your bedroom.  
To wash or not to wash, that is the question.  I’ve washed many pillows in the past and had mixed results.  My best, to be honest have been down pillows which I’ve then fluffed up with tennis balls in a tumble dryer.  Some synthetic pillows are washable (see below) but I’ve also had some disasters with filling clumping and a lumpy pillow sadly ending up in the bin.
Always check the manufacturer’s instructions to be on the safe side – on the label if you can still read it.  And follow our pillow washing tips below: 

  • Memory foam pillows – don’t put them in a machine!  You can surface wash if necessary but good quality memory foam pillows such as Tempur, Panda and Eve come with lovely removable covers you can take off and wash instead.  Tempur pillow covers are washable at 60 degrees with spare covers available to buy for these.   Panda pillow covers – both kids and adult sizes use eco-friendly bamboo as well.   
  • Synthetic pillows (hollowfibre or microfibre pillows),  – wash them but be warned that some wash better than others.  The Supersoft Ultra Washable pillow for example washes really well but remember always to tumble dry on a low heat setting.  If you can wash them at 60 degrees, do so as it kills dust mites. If you’re not sure though, stick to 40 degrees. And if you’ve got a chest-freezer, freeze your pillow to kill the mites if you suffer from allergies.
  • Down and feather pillows can wash ok too but always follow the manufacturers’ instructions.  Don’t use fabric conditioner (just as hair conditioner flattens down your hair follicles, fabric conditioner flattens fluffy down and feathers – not what you want in a pillow).    Pop a tennis ball into your tumble dryer to help fluff up the down within the pillow and it should be fine.
  • Wool pillows – can be washed but use a cold or 30 degree wash unless your pillow says you can wash it at 40.  The John Lewis and Fogarty children’s wool pillows we’ve reviewed are both washable at 40 degrees, as is the M&S wool mix pillow.   Definitely wash it gently and tumble dry cool or pop in the airing cupboard for a day or two.
  • Silk pillows – can be washed but do it delicately! Again, hand wash or a 30 degree ‘delicates’ wash is best and a no-heat tumble-dry and airing cupboard combo.  
  • Latex pillows and water pillows –  gentle hand or surface wash only.  Using a washable pillow protector is a sensible idea with these pillow types.

Pillow Protectors (a great idea)
If you’ve got a pillow protector on your pillow, you’ve got a head start.  Wash the protector – remember 60 degrees is always better to kill those nasty dust mites.  If you can’t wash it at 60, then wash as normal and if you suffer from allergies, pop it in the freezer for a few hours – dust mites with hypothermia don’t last long.   Read reviews of the best pillow protectors we’ve found. 

Lots of the above information is useful for washing duvets too.  Tennis balls for down, no fabric conditioner and avoiding washing wool or silk duvets is advisable.  For more on duvet care, go to our sister site  or straight to our Caring for your Duvet article.

Finally, air your mattress!  Turn it over, keep the sheets off it whilst you’re washing and open the windows.  And results?  A lovely autumn fresh bedroom. Enjoy.