How to Wash a Pillow: 4 Easy Steps

Written by
Purple Staff
Last Updated
February 13, 2022
min read


Most of us cannot sleep without our favorite pillow or two. From lying down, napping, and sleeping through the night, your pillow gets used just as much as your mattress and sheets. All that use causes your pillow to collect dirt, allergens, sweat, and oils from your hair and skin.

Since your pillow is prone to getting dirty, it is important to know when and how to wash it properly. This guide will walk you through the steps to take, as well as important information, to wash your pillow and keep it clean.

Should I Wash My Pillow: What to Know

Similar to cleaning a mattress, you should wash your pillow every four to six months. If you struggle with allergies, we recommend washing your pillow every three months, or four times a year. This will prevent your pillow from collecting dust, allergens, and oils, as well as extend its life. Pillows take on a lot of use and cleaning them regularly will ensure you get the most out of them before it is time to get them replaced.

There are a few telling signs that your pillow will show when it needs to be washed:

  • You see noticeable stains on your pillow and pillowcase.
  • It is beginning to smell.
  • It feels lumpy or flat.
  • You were recently sick.

How to Wash My Pillow

Step 1: Vacuum

person vacuuming pillow

We recommend vacuuming your pillow before washing it. This will help remove any dust, dirt, or dander that has collected on your pillow. To vacuum your pillow, take the upholstery attachment of your vacuum and run it over both sides of your pillow several times. Even if you do not throw your pillow into the washing machine regularly, vacuuming it often will help keep it feeling and looking fresh.


Step 2: Spot Treat Pillows

Spot-treat your pillow if it has any noticeable stains. If you are familiar with washing and spot-cleaning bedding and your mattress, you will follow a similar process with your pillows.

Depending on the type of stain, you could use soap and water or a dedicated stain remover. Soap and water work great for general stains, like dirt and grime. Whereas a stronger stain remover can help remove tougher stains, like blood, sweat, or vomit.

Remember to use cleaning solutions sparingly when removing stains. You can always add a little more if needed. Here are four steps for spot treating a stain:

  1. Apply a small amount of solution to a clean cloth, then gently pat the stain with the cloth.
  2. Let the solution sit for a few minutes, then gently pat the area with a clean cloth.
  3. Add cold water to another clean cloth, then pat the area with the wet cloth.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 if the stain is still present.


Step 3: Machine Washing Pillows

Only certain types of pillows can be cleaned in the washing machine. Down or microfiber pillows are machine washable, while memory foam or latex pillows should be hand washed instead. Always check the manufacturer tag on your pillow before putting it through the wash. The manufacturer tag will tell you if you can use a washing machine, cleaning instructions, and whether or not to use a top-loading washing machine with an agitator, or a front-loading washing machine without an agitator.

There are also several tips to consider while cleaning your pillow in the washing machine. We recommend washing two pillows at the same time to keep your washing machine balanced. And always use a gentle cycle wash to help maintain the shape of your pillows while cleaning them.


Step 4: Dry Pillows

pillows air drying

After you have either machine washed or spot treated your pillows, you will need to give them time to dry. Machine washable pillows, like down or polyester, can be tossed in the dryer on tumble dry at a low to medium heat setting. We also recommend drying your pillows for several cycles to assure they are properly dried. And a few tennis balls thrown into the dryer with your pillows will prevent any clumping.

Pillows you have to hand wash or spot treat will need time to air dry. Always allow enough time to air dry before replacing any pillowcases and putting the pillows back on your bed. This will help prevent any mildew from collecting in or on your pillow. To air dry, hang your pillows on a clothesline or next to a window.

Cleaning Recommendations for My Purple Pillow

Purple offers a variety of pillows to fit your sleeping style and needs. These different options also mean that cleaning and care instructions will differ depending on the pillow. We recommend either referring to our manufacturer tag on your Purple pillow or going to our website for further instructions HERE. With proper cleaning and care, your Purple pillow will last a long time and continue to provide you with a good night’s rest.



These simple cleaning tips will help you take proper care of your pillow. Most pillows will last you one to two years, so cleaning them regularly will enable you to get the most out of them.

When it comes time to get a new pillow, Purple has you covered. With several options and styles to choose from, you will never go back to your old pillow again. our pillows are designed to assure you get the comfort and support you need out of your pillow. We know sleep, and our pillows make a difference. Take a look at a few of our options below!


Purple Harmony

Head and neck support with airflow design to keep you cool.

Purple Cloud Pillow

Cloud like comfort with hypoallergenic gel fibers that won't clump or trap heat.

Purple Pillow

New age comfort science for cool ergonomic support.