Can You Dry Clean Your Pillows?

Can You Dry Clean Your Pillows?

Much like your beddings and blankets, you should clean your pillows regularly to keep your home fresh and clean. Whereas you should clean your sheets at least every week, professional laundry and dry cleaning services recommend washing your pillows at least two to four times a year to remove the accumulation of dirt, dust, bacteria, and odours, and more importantly, extend their usability.

Although some pillows are safe in the washing machine, others require special care to prevent damaging the fill. Some materials can clump or shrink when they are not handled properly. Continue reading as we cover everything you need to know when cleaning your pillows.

Your Ultimate Pillow Cleaning Guide

Admit it, while you may be in the habit of washing your pillow cases regularly, you are probably not paying as much attention to what lies underneath: your pillows. But, they too need some washing at least every three months. Make sure to check their tags for proper care. Some suggestions you may find on the tags are the following:

Dry Clean Only – These pillows most likely contain fill or use a cover that could get damaged when submerged in water. The tag may also indicate “do not wash”. Either way, take them to a dry cleaning service instead.

Spot Clean Only – This label suggests that you can only clean the visible spot or stain by hand without fully submerging the pillow in water. Subjecting the garment to any dry cleaning or hand-washing is not recommended.

Hand Wash – The pillow may be too delicate for the rigours of machine-washing and is recommended to be gentle-washed by hand.

Machine-Washable – You’ll usually find this care label on the tag along with other instructions such as washing on a delicate cycle or avoiding bleach and harsh detergents.

Pillow Cleaning and Maintenance Tips According to Fill

Besides the wash tags, the stuffing of your pillows will also give hints on how they should be washed. This proves useful when the tag is long gone.


Gentle works best with down and feather pillows to keep the stuffing from clumping together. Professional laundry cleaners recommend dry cleaning them to retain their softness and fluffiness. But, if you prefer to wash them yourself, use a low-sudsing detergent and wash them on a gentle, cold-water cycle.

Always check for any rips and tears in the seams, and repair them before cleaning. It’s best to do two at a time or throw in a few towels in the tub to balance the load. To dry, use the lowest heat setting or no-heat tumble dry.


Pillows made of foam, in general, can be hand-washed, except for memory foams. They have a different composition that may take weeks to dry, providing a breeding ground for mould and mildew. It’s best to research the product for specific cleaning instructions.

You can also take your foam pillows to the dry cleaners to remove dirt and oils that have penetrated deeply. But, for regular maintenance, cleaning just the surface with a mild detergent and cold water should do the trick. Do not wring the pillows out or put them in the drier. Press gently with a clean cloth instead to remove excess water. It should keep them from getting out of shape.


Some polyester-filled pillows are washable, and some are not. Make sure to check the label for washing instructions. But, again, if the care label is gone, err on the side of caution and take it to the dry cleaner instead.

How to Keep Your Pillows Clean For Longer

Like some of your clothes, not all pillows handle water very well. There are also some types of stains in your pillow that water cannot easily remove. In these situations, opting for dry cleaning services is a better alternative.

During dry cleaning, the pillows are soaked in a chemical solvent called perchloroethylene (perc) to remove grease, oils, dirt, and other stains. The use of this solvent instead of water and soap explains why the process is called “dry”.

Vacuum Regularly

Keeping your pillows fresh in between cleanings is essential for a good night’s sleep. Start by regularly dusting or vacuuming them. If possible, keep your hard-to-clean pillows away from pets or kids to prevent frequent soiling.

Air It Out

Fluff your pillows daily to keep them in shape and remove dust. Then, at least every month, hang them outside and under the sun. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can help kill mold and mildew, and allergens. Additionally, it can also dry out the dampness in your pillows, remove odours, and even lighten stains. If that’s not an option, as is the case with foam and latex pillows, run your pillows through the dryer instead, on a no-heat cycle.

Change Pillow Cases Regularly

Your pillowcases accumulate body oils, dead skin cells, and other dirt. So, regardless of how clean they may seem, make sure to change them every 7-10 days. You may also want to invest in pillow protectors to keep the gross stuff away and extend the life of your pillows.

Keep It Dry

It’s crucial to keep your pillows dry, otherwise, you risk mould and mildew growth. When washing your pillows, make sure to run the dryer for a good hour on no heat. You can add a few dryer sheets to speed things up and some dryer balls to keep the filling from clumping.

When Is It Time to Replace Your Pillows?

No matter how diligent you may be about cleaning your pillows, the time will come and you will have to buy new ones. When it doesn’t spring back into shape or even if, after a good wash, your pillows have a funky smell, then it’s probably time for a pillow shopping trip.

Give your pillows the professional care they deserve. Clean Care boasts a team of professionals that are experts in handling all of your laundry needs, including your pillows. They offer pick-up and delivery services, so you don’t have to worry about taking bulky throw pillows with you.

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