Can you wash pillows in the washing machine? We had experts weigh in

The real pillow fight

Can you wash pillows in the washing machine? Washing a pillow in the washing machine at offices
(Image credit: Future / Louise Oliphant)

Whether it's self-care Sunday, errand run Tuesday, food shop Friday — or whatever day of the week you choose to tick off your home to-do list, laundry is likely patiently waiting for you. This week, designate a specific laundry day to get it all done. I'm talking bed sheets, pillowcases, protectors, duvets, AND pillows. Yes, the big bedding refresh. But before you get going and start using your washer and dryer to their full potential, can you wash pillows in the washing machine? 

I spend my time testing a bunch of the best pillows, along with other bedding buys, and they aren't cheap. We all know how an incorrect wash cycle can ruin your fave sweater. The same goes for bedding, but completely avoiding the wash won't do our pillows any favors either when it comes to longevity. 

So I've asked the experts and found out there's more than just a simple yes or no answer (annoying, but it pays to know how to wash your pillows properly). Whether you can wash pillows in the washing machine depends on a couple of things.

Can you wash pillows in the washing machine? 

Washing a pillow in the washing machine at offices

(Image credit: Future / Louise Oliphant)

Just like your duvet, bed sheets, and the rest of your laundry, you can just throw a pillow in the washing machine, too, right? Well, that's what I thought. Whether you can wash a pillow in the washing machine really depends on what it's made of and how big it is.

"You'll want to check and thoroughly read the care label instructions," says vice president of marketing at CD One Price Cleaners Jonathan Reckles. "Most care tags will recommend hand washing or dry cleaning, with some allowing for a machine washing at a low temperature and rinse speed." If you're unsure, Jill Zwarensteyn, editor for Sleep Advisor and a certified sleep science coach recommends "always using a cool and gentle wash pre-set if your machine has one."

And of course, its size will determine whether you can pop it in the wash, or not, too. FYI: Your drum should never be more than three-quarters full — especially when washing bedding, as you'll want enough room for the water and suds to drain as much as possible.

Can you wash a feather pillow in the washing machine?

ICYDK, you can wash feather pillows in the washing machine. Surprised? Me too. Yes, they can be pretty delicate (and expensive), so you do have to take good care when cleaning. Marc Werner, founder at GhostBed explains feather or down pillows are totally machine washable and are "in fact, probably the easiest types to wash and dry." 

He notes that it's best to wash them on a gentle cycle with cooler or warm water and a gentle detergent. Werner adds that you should put feather pillows on an "additional spin cycle, to make sure all of the detergents and extra water has been rinsed out." Popping feather pillows in the dryer is a;sp possible. "For extra-fluffy pillows, you can toss a tennis ball or two into the dryer," says Werner. "Set on low to medium heat for 30 minutes to start. Every 30 minutes, check your pillows for dampness, especially deep in the center. Fluff the pillow(s) and repeat the drying time until fully dry."

A few of my favorite feather pillows 

Louise Oliphant
Ecommerce Editor

Louise is the Ecommerce Editor at Real Homes, specialising in sleep content so you can wind-down well. With prior PR experience working for a luxury bedding brand, Louise knows the importance of getting a great night’s sleep. Joining the other side of the desk as a full-time journo, Louise brings her bedding expertise to writing sleep buying guides, reviews, and news for Real Homes. Aside from helping readers get essential shut eye, Louise also writes shopping content for homeware items that’ll add a decorative edge to your space. With an eye for design that won’t snooze on style, but a budget that won’t quite stretch, Louise loves nothing more than a modern designer dupe. From coloured glassware to contemporary storage, anything to upgrade the bare space of her rented East London flat. 

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