Pillows get drooled on, spilled on, sat on and worse. No wonder they need a good washing now and then. Not all pillows can be washed at home, but most can. Even down-filled pillows can be washed at home with a few simple precautions. Use hot water and mild detergent for the best results. Hot water eliminates dust mites without using strong cleaners or bleach.
Remove any detachable pillow coverings if applicable. Wash coverings according to manufacturer's instructions.
Inspect the pillow casing for tears, especially down-filled pillows. Make repairs as needed before washing.
Place two pillows at a time in the washing machine, provided there is room. Add a bath towel or two in the load for balance if there is only room for one large pillow in your washer. Use one-quarter the amount of detergent normally recommended for your machine. Run the pillows through the delicate cycle and add one additional rinse when the cycle is complete.
Remove the pillows from the washer and place them in the dryer with a couple of tennis balls or clean shoes. Tumbling with the balls will help fluff up your pillows. Dry on medium heat for approximately 60 minutes. Take the pillows out of the dryer every 20 minutes or so to shape and fluff them by hand and break up any feathers that have formed into clumps. Tumble until they are completely dry.
Hand wash pillows that are too large for the washing machine. Remove covers and shams and repair any tears in the outer casing.
Fill your washing tub with hot water and mix a small amount of detergent into the water until it is dissolved.
Place the pillow in the water and let it become saturated. Gently agitate the pillow through the water without twisting or wringing. Brush the case with a soft laundry brush to remove stubborn stains.
Drain the water from the tub. Use your hands to press as much water as you can from the pillow. Lay the pillow on a clean towel and fold the towel around it, pressing and squeezing out more water.
Place the pillow in the dryer after you have manually removed as much water as possible. Hang it outside on a clothesline using clothespins if it is too large for the dryer. Plump and fluff the pillow as it dries.