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Which Pillows Can Be Washed And Which Can't?

a profile image of TSA author Alex

Written By Alex Petrović

Certified Sleep Consultant

which pillows can you wash and which cant

29 April 2024 5 min read

Are you not so sure which pillows can be machine washed and dried? Do you wonder whether some types of pillows can be washed at all? Don’t worry, many people are not sure about these things since these things can get really tricky. So, today, we are answering all the pillow washing related questions you have! Let’s start and make washing pillows a little easier!

Down & feather pillows

down & feather filling

If you have never washed down or feather pillow you may be wondering whether putting them in the washing machine is such a good idea. But, don't worry! Machine washing feather and down pillows are possible, is easy, and, is recommendable! By machine washing your feather or down pillow you are not just doing a favor to your health and hygiene. You are also restoring the pillows former glory. So, how is it done? Let's see.

First of all, choose the detergent for your feather and down pillow carefully. It should be very mild and gentle. We recommend getting an extra sensitive detergent for baby clothes. This kind of detergents should be without any additives or aggressive chemicals which is very important in this case. So, after getting a gentle detergent also choose a gentle cycle. Now, here is one advice that we consider to be important. It's better if your feather and down pillow can have a friend in the washing machine. So, instead of washing just one feather pillow, put two of them. This will help during the spin cycle.

Water temperature shouldn't be too hot. You can also use some fabric softener, just also go with a gentle one and don't go overboard with it. As for the drying part is concerned, don't expect it to happen fast. These kinds of pillows need their time to get completely dry. Plus, it can be dangerous for your health if they don't dry properly. So, don't hurry up the process and use multiple cycles. Also, there is a pretty famous hack for drying feather and down pillows that you probably already heard of – the tennis balls trick! A couple of clean tennis balls can come in very handy when drying the feather and down pillows.

Foam pillows

a picture of memory foam pillow

These pillows cannot be machine washed. You can gently spot-clean them, or try to hand-wash them. Hand-washing these pillows are the ultimate line you mustn’t cross. Washing machines and dryers can ruin foam pillows. But, even when hand washing them, you shouldn’t sink them in a tub completely! It would be the best to thoroughly clean them with a moist gentle cloth. Very often, you might encounter a pillow that combines a cooling gel to ensure a “cooler side of the pillow” with a memory foam. We reviewed Simba Hybrid pillow so take a look at it.

Shredded foam pillows

a product image of shredded memory foam pillow

These kinds of pillows are easier to hand wash then the previous ones. Don’t machine wash or tumble dry these pillows. Also, avoid completely sinking these pillows in the tub.

Pillows with gel

an image of simba pillow with gel

Don’t wash these pillows! You can spot-clean them, though.

Cotton pillows

cotton pillows on a bed

These pillows are pretty easy to machine wash and dry. Just use a mild detergent and warm water that is not too hot. Cotton pillows are easy to maintain and hard to ruin.

Wool pillows

a wool pillow

Just as cotton pillows, these ones are also easy to wash. Just, in this case, use the special detergent that is suitable for wool. Also, choose the cycles and water temperature that are wool-friendly.

Buckwheat pillows

an image of a buckwheat pillow's filling

It’s best not to even try to introduce water to your buckwheat pillow! A large amount of water or moisture can ruin these pillows. And, about machine washing, well, don’t even think about that. These pillows would not leave the washing machine the same.

Polyester fiberfill pillows

an image of a polyester fiber pillow's fill

Yes, these pillows can be washed, but be more careful and gentler with them than with the cotton ones. These are a bit more sensitive. So, choose a gentle cycle, cold or lukewarm water (not too hot) and a mild detergent. Don’t put a lot of detergent, though.


A clean pillow is a happy pillow – always have this in mind. Pillows accumulate a lot of dust mites, stains, dead skin and other particles such as moist and skin oils. They should be cleaned at least twice a year. Just be careful about choosing the right cleaning method! As we saw, some pillows must never get completely wet. Some can be washed, but preferably hand-washed. Others can be machine washed just like a regular piece of clothes or bedding. So, let’s sum the thing up once more for the end!

Pillows that cannot be washed in any way

Pillows that are best to spot-clean and air

Pillows that are best hand-washed

Pillows that are easy to machine wash

Freshly washed and aired pillows are better for your health and for the beauty of your skin and hair. So, when doing the laundry, don’t forget the pillows! If you’re unsure if the pillow you’re using is right for you, check out our guide for choosing the right pillow, too.

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About the author

Alex Petrović
Sleep Consultant
A CPD certified Sleep Consultant with more than 2000 hours of research into all the different ways we can get a great night's sleep. As a former insomniac, I know how difficult life can be without a nightly recovery and I love that I get to share everything I've learned with you all. So hopefully we can all sleep soundly!
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