If you've ever asked yourself the question "can this pillow be washed?" the chances are that it can and absolutely should be washed. Cleaning your pillows at least twice a year is essential to help remove dirt, oil and dust mites that build up over time. Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to clean synthetic, down, feather and even memory foam pillows.

Woman placing a pillow in the washing machine

CAN PILLOWS BE WASHED IN A WASHING MACHINE?

Most pillows, including down and feather, are machine washable and can be washed much like a regular load of laundry. Some, like memory foam, need to be hand washed. Always check the pillow's care label for specific instructions on how to wash your pillow.

Woman placing pillow in the dryer

HOW TO WASH PILLOWS: SYNTHETIC, DOWN & FEATHER

STEP 1: LOAD PILLOWS IN THE WASHER TWO AT A TIME 

Remove any pillow cases or coverings. Try to wash at least two pillows at a time to make sure the load doesn't become off balance.

 

STEP 2: ADD A TABLESPOON OF DETEREGENT

Adding only a small amount of detergent will help prevent oversudsing and detergent build-up inside the pillow. 

 

STEP 3: SELECT A GENTLE CYCLE AND EXTRA RINSE 

A gentle cycle will ensure your pillow's structure and body remains intact. Select the warmest water temperature recommended on the care tag for optimal cleaning. If your washer has an extra rinse option, select that as well to help wash out as much detergent as possible from these thick items. 

 

STEP 4: MACHINE DRY PILLOWS ON A LOW- OR NO-HEAT CYCLE 

Transfer pillows to the dryer right away. Add dryer balls if you have them to help fluff the pillows. Select a low-heat setting for regular pillows with synthetic filling. Select a no-heat or air fluff setting for down or feather pillows to protect the delicate filling. On select Maytag® dryers, push the Extra Power button to extend time and tumbling.

 

STEP 5: CHECK THAT PILLOWS ARE COMPLETELY DRY 

Pillows should be completely dry before coming out of the dryer. Any dampness left behind may cause mildew growth. 

Open pedestal drawer

HOW TO WASH PILLOWS WITH MEMORY FOAM

Always check the care label, but memory foam should usually be hand washed to prevent it from breaking apart.

 

STEP 1: FILL A BUCKET WITH WATER AND DETERGENT

Remove any pillow cases or coverings. Fill a bucket, bathtub or sink with a mixture of lukewarm water and a tablespoon of detergent. The water should be deep enough to completely submerge the pillow. 

 

STEP 2: MASSAGE SOAPY WATER THROUGH THE PILLOW

Submerge the pillow completely. Gently massage it under the water to ciruclate the solution through it. Lift the pillow out of the bucket and squeeze out the soapy water. Repeat this a couple more times. 

 

STEP 3: RINSE THE PILLOW WITH CLEAN WATER 

To get all the soapy water out of the foam, you'll need to rinse it completely with clean water. The faucet of a shower or sink should work best. Rinse it, then gently squeeze it until the water coming out of the pillow runs clear, with no suds or soapy residue. 

 

STEP 4: TOWEL THEN AIR DRY 

Place the clean pillow on a towel. Use another pillow to press down on top if it, squeezing out any remaining water. Hang or lay the pillow flat to air dry, ideally in the sun.

Lightbulb icon.

Keep memory foam fresh between washes

Because memory foam has hypoallergenic properties that make it less susceptible to mildew, allergens and dust mites, you may not need to deep clean it every time. If you think your pillow just needs a quick refresh, sprinkle some baking soda on both sides, let it sit for one hour, then vacuum it off. This will help neutralize odors while sucking up dust mites and dirt.

More Essential Laundry Info

Decode the symbols on your clothing care tag to learn what they really mean.

Dive into this guide on laundry cycles — discover how they work and when to use them.

Get tips on stain removal — from red wine to blood and ink, Maytag’s here to help.

WAS THIS ARTICLE HELPFUL? PASS IT ON