How to Wash Polyester Pillows

Pillows, much like bedding, require washing once in a while to remove dust mites, sweat and odors. On the bright side, polyester pillows can withstand machine washing and drying. Check the care tag on the pillows for instructions specific to your pillow brand. If the tag is missing or worn, wash the pillows on a gentle cycle with warm water.

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Gentle Cleaning

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Place pillows in the washing machine -- two at a time for a more balanced load. If your washing machine has an agitator, as many top-loading models do, stand the pillows up vertically on either side of the agitator to help prevent them from getting snagged or stuck. Select a gentle, brief wash cycle so the pillows only agitate for a few minutes. Use a mild laundry detergent, pouring in a little less than you would for a typical laundry load. An extra rinse cycle helps remove excess soap and residues. Add an extra spin cycle as well to help squeeze out the moisture and cut down on drying time.

Ideal Drying

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Shake and fluff up the pillows a bit before placing them in the dryer to help them retain their shapes. Select a low-heat setting, and check them every 20 minutes or so, fluffing them up each time you check. Place a few dryer balls in with the pillows to help perk them up -- and to prevent clumping in older pillows.

Odor Elimination

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If the pillows smell a bit, whether the odor is caused by sweat, hair oils, mustiness or cigarette smoke, air them out -- ideally outside on a non-humid day -- for several hours before washing. Spritz vinegar on them to help remove the unpleasant scent. If the pillows smell even after washing, wash them again, using 1 cup of vinegar in place of laundry detergent. Run another wash cycle after the final rinse, this time using 1/2 cup baking soda and no detergent.

Yellowed-Yuck Remover

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Sweat, moisture and body oils may make those pillows look like they belong in the trash. Return them to their original whiteness by washing them in hot water and a homemade whitening solution made from 1 cup each of laundry detergent, powdered dishwasher detergent and non-chlorine bleach, along with 1/2 cup of borax. Add the ingredients to the washer once it fills at least 1/3 way with water, and then add the pillows after the powders dissolve. Flip the pillows around halfway through the wash cycle to ensure all surfaces receive the whitening treatment. Run extra rinse and spin cycles before drying so all the detergent residues wash away completely.