Thread Number: 70096  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
How do you wash pillows?
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Post# 930158   4/2/2017 at 06:15 by retro-man (nashua,nh)        

Front loader Duet, king size pillows foam filled. What cycle do you use? Do you do 2 together or 1 at a time? I have tried bulky cycle and not too bad, but I always get 1 pillow that comes out so distorted and bunched up. Tried doing 1 at a time but balancing was an issue of course. Was considering trying delicate along maybe with a soak before hand. Do others have success with them coming out looking almost normal? Recommendations would be appreciated.


Post# 930159 , Reply# 1   4/2/2017 at 06:19 by brucelucenta (tulsa, oklahoma)        

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I have washed pillows in my LG made machine too. Kind of depends on the pillow and whether it was made with the intention of being washed. Most pillows are not meant to be washed, that is really the problem.

Post# 930164 , Reply# 2   4/2/2017 at 07:15 by alr2903 (TN)        

It seems to be the luck of the draw and it is usually one pillow that gets its innards twisted during the wash.  Always wash more than one for balance.   Some people use diaper pins, a couple in the middle and the 4 corners to keep the inner foam from shifting.   If it has already happened and you sew, rip one side open, right the foam then repair the ticking.

Post# 930175 , Reply# 3   4/2/2017 at 08:32 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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Pillows do best in my Calypso of the machines I have available.

Did a couple in my Neptune TL ... never again.  They were twisted beyond redemption.

Did a couple in the refurbed Duet when testing it.  Should have used Delicate instead of Sanitary (wanted the heat but it was too much tumbling).

Post# 930199 , Reply# 4   4/2/2017 at 11:55 by Laundromat (Hilo, Hawaii)        

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I wash my down pillows in my LG front loaders. The foam pillows have issues with staying straight after being tossed and turned. The feather pillows come out great. Smell good too

Post# 930203 , Reply# 5   4/2/2017 at 12:27 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

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Have never found a satisfactory way to clean foam anything. Best to just throw it away.

Post# 930232 , Reply# 6   4/2/2017 at 18:14 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Washing Pillows

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Some pillows do not wash well, mostly those filled with polyester fiber tend to bunch up and lose their form, good molded foam and feather pillows should wash just fine in a FL washer. I would wash a minimum of two and maybe three if you have one of the really large FL washers.


Yes the calypso washer is one of the best pillow washers out there.


John L.

Post# 930238 , Reply# 7   4/2/2017 at 19:53 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Walk down my street and take them to laundrette

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Suspension systems on my Miele and AEG Oko-Lavamat are wroth more than me bothering with dealing with possible out of balance and or other stress issues. This isn't a bother since most always dry my duvets and pillows there anyway in those huge gas dryers.

Foam pillows do not contract like down/feathers after extraction. So basically whatever you stuff into the machine will remain at that size throughout.

Post# 930244 , Reply# 8   4/2/2017 at 20:45 by washingpowder (NYC)        

Having had just finished laundering pillows and duvets I am one more time reminded how well Ikea bedding maintains its quality wash after wash. Not the very cheapest ones, those tend to get damaged during normal use, let alone washing. The firm kind is very well suited for repeated cleaning.
Washed 4 pillows and 2 duvets on allergen cycle in the FL Electrolux, then dried 2 at a time in a GE Spacemaker dryer.
Vaska oxygen bleach, Biokleen bac-out for extra enzymes, and Ecover powder.
Same combination is used for whites and sheets, and really works well at keeping everything virtually sparkling.

Post# 930310 , Reply# 9   4/3/2017 at 09:08 by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

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I washed two feather pillows not long ago in my top load washing machine. I usually throw them away but thought why not give it a try? In a top load machine you need to wash two to balance them out. I dried them in the dryer and they came out great.

Post# 930314 , Reply# 10   4/3/2017 at 09:26 by foraloysius (Groningen, the Netherlands)        

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I've often washed pillows. Wash at least two in one load, that helps the washer get a better balance when spinning. I always do a rinse and spin first to get the air our and get the pillows totally wet. Otherwise you might be wasting detergent and warm water and still not get the pillows wet.

I have synthetic pillows and duvets, the material is much like down, so it can be washed like down.

Post# 930316 , Reply# 11   4/3/2017 at 09:49 by ea56 (So. Sonoma Co.,CA)        

ea56's profile picture
I wash two king size pillows at at time in my Maytag HE toploader on the Bulky cycle and dry them in the dryer with dryer balls and they come out beautifully cleaned. The washer has no problem with this load.

Post# 930320 , Reply# 12   4/3/2017 at 10:38 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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I've not had great luck washing foam-fill pillows for the same reasons others have mentioned. Consequently, I take the panthera route: Toss them out and get new ones. I wash the outer pillowcases twice a week and the zip-up pillow covers every two months, so things stay pretty clean and fresh-smelling. I don't buy expensive pillows; they simply get replaced every four or five years.

Post# 930326 , Reply# 13   4/3/2017 at 10:58 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        
I use a manual method in a non-neutral drain top loader

Add detergent to bottom of tub. Place 2 pillows on their long side against the tub. Partially fill the machine with hot water. Remove drain hose from sink or standpipe and hold over edge of tub. Set machine to spin to get Whirlpool Catalyst cleaning action with water forced through the pillows without distorting them by agitation. After two minutes, stop machine and let detergent solution soak in pillows for a few minutes. Restart spinning for another two minutes then stop machine, put hose in sink or standpipe and reset timer to let machine go through a full spin. Repeat twice, without detergent, for rinsing. The drain hose can be moved around to vary the water pattern and the end can be squeezed into an oval shape for a wider spray. After they are spun out in the TL, put them in a front loader with fast spin to get more water out before drying for a long time. I use this for polyester fiberfill pillows and it works great.  

Post# 930432 , Reply# 14   4/3/2017 at 18:29 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

I remember my mom washing our latex foam pillows (one piece of foam) in the bath tub. She would drain the tub, and squeeze most of the water out, then wrap in large bath towels to get more water out. Then she would air dry them.

These pillows are very expensive now.

Post# 930516 , Reply# 15   4/4/2017 at 06:58 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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Feather Pillows: After determining I was allergic to feather pillows, the household switched to foam pillows in the early 1960's. Am thinking that I might have outgrown the allergy, but know nothing about feather pillows. Can they be dried in the dryer or do you have to remove the feathers and spread them out to dry? I believe that was the method suggested in the owner's manual of our 1960 Kenmore washer.

Post# 930524 , Reply# 16   4/4/2017 at 08:47 by Dustin92 (Jackson, MI)        

Feather pillows can be washed in the washer and dried in the dryer, wash them in hot water, they may need a rinse/spin first to saturate them. Use any detergent without enzymes (enzymes will break down the feathers) and I use bleach with white pillows. Never fabric softener in the wash, it coats the feathers and makes the pillow less fluffy. Always use the extra rinse setting, highest spin speed. Dry in the dryer on low with some clean tennis balls or if you're using a laundromat, clean tennis shoes. Drying can take 2-4 hours, make sure they are totally and completely dry. If you question the strength of the pillow cover BE SURE to put it in a zippered cover before washing, I've seen two pillows explode in the wash, once was in our Whirlpool DD top loader, it clogged the pump and I had to scoop the feathers out with a strainer, huge mess. The other was a small decorative pillow in a front loader. Clogged the pump trap and I swear every load after for months had feathers in it! Better to be safe than sorry!

Post# 930598 , Reply# 17   4/4/2017 at 15:43 by hoovermatic (UK)        

As far as foam pillows are concerned that is my advice! I have tried it several times and it has NEVER EVER been a success. I have always ended up discarding them and buying new so it was a waste of time and energy.

Can't comment about feather pillows as I am allergic to them so never had the chance to experiment.

As an aside, some years ago I took my duvet to the dry cleaners to have it cleaned, in my ignorance I assumed they would give it some amazing fancy treatment. On collecting it and paying my money I asked the woman how they were cleaned and she said they were bunged in a huge washing machine with loads of others. When I asked how they could justify the cost of this 'duvet cleaning service' she said that it wasn't the washing that was difficult it was the drying. Since then I have never used that sort of service again. I wait for the hottest summer days and go to the laundrette then hang it outside in the sun for two or three days in a row. Job done.

Post# 930614 , Reply# 18   4/4/2017 at 17:36 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Almost universally

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This is how commercial laundries process eiderdowns, duvets, pillows, and similar items.

As for the cost, well you have to take into account labor, machines, chemicals and yes the fact down filled items (if done properly), take ages to dry fully.

That being said better quality places will take things a step further. Things are examined for stains/pre-treated, higher quality and proper chemicals suited to down, etc... OTOH have seen the Chinese lad at local laundromat simply bung a eiderdown into a washer, set it for "hot" and add Tide with Bleach powder.

In theory drying down or feather filled items calls for a dryer to be set on "low", and the things need enough space to move about freely especially as they dry and fluff up.

What you get with a commercial washing machine is robust bearings and suspension systems that can with stand the abuses that come from washing heavy bulky items. Yes, many can and so launder such things at home rather successfully, but ask any appliance repair person or dealer about what happens when things go bad. Even Miele residential washers have been destroyed by just one down or pillow washing gone wrong.

Post# 930616 , Reply# 19   4/4/2017 at 17:51 by whirlykenmore78 (Prior Lake MN (GMT-0700 CDT.))        
SQ commercial grade washer here:

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Pillows are no problem. 3 at a time, hot wash, 5 rinses, Heavy Duty cycle, 1200 RPM spin. I don't use the Bulky cycle as the sequence is similar only with a lower spin that leaves the pillows much wetter. Then 70 minutes in the dryer on LOW heat. These are Dacron pillows.

Post# 930620 , Reply# 20   4/4/2017 at 18:29 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
I find

that by the time they need washing they have lost their loft if they are cheap pillows. I'm allergic to down.
We have two nice anti stain quilted ones. We got them from the store with our mattress set and the companion cover.
Wash the cases weekly, no problem.
For those who may know the movie "Clerks 2", pillow pants says no. Maybe it was a New Jersey thing.

Post# 930901 , Reply# 21   4/6/2017 at 17:14 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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I am supposedly allergic to feather pillows...however...ever since I learned that in 1989, I have washed them twice a year two at a time in hot water and clorox...then dry in my gas dryer for about 3 hours with some tennis balls.  I don't have any allergy problems from the pillows now.  We frequently wash our throw pillows that are fiber filled, just toss them in the Miele with the regular colors and then in the dryer.  We may have to remove the clothes that get dry first and then restart the dryer with just the pillows afterwards but they do fine.

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