Body pillows offer pressure-relieving support and full-body comfort. They’re a favorite for side sleepers who need extra hip and back support.
As much as you may love your body pillow, are you remembering to wash it? You may wash your pillows and bedsheets often, but your body pillow needs to be cleaned just as frequently to remove dirt, body oil, and sweat buildup.
Not sure how to properly care for yours? Follow this step-by-step guide on how to wash a body pillow.
If you don’t wash your pillow correctly, you could cause irreparable damage and shorten your pillow’s lifespan. The way you wash your body pillow will depend on a few factors — material, temperature, type of detergent, and washing technique.
Follow the next steps to learn which squeaky clean path to take with your body pillow.
Most pillows have a tag that will inform you what materials it’s made of and how to correctly wash them. If the tag doesn’t have care instructions or you cut the tag off, our guide will help you wash your pillow correctly.
The care instructions should include the maximum washing temperature for your pillow — either cold or warm water. If you don’t know which temperature to use, go with cold water to be safe. Avoid using hot water, as it can potentially break down the pillow material and cause it to be misshapen.
Finally, you’ll need to choose the proper washing technique for your pillow. This will depend on the material and how dirty it is. If your pillow has just a small stain, spot-cleaning will do the trick.
Hand-wash delicate materials or foam.
Machine-wash all other materials.
The care instructions should also include the correct type of detergent to use on the pillow. If your pillow needs to be hand-washed, it may need a specific kind of detergent powder. If your pillow can be machine-washed, there are detergents only intended to be used in a washing machine.
Use a gentle powder or liquid detergent containing only surfactants, which help to dissolve any dirt or oil buildup.
Machine-washing is the least time-intensive way to wash your body pillow. However, remember not all body pillows can be put in a washing machine. Check the label beforehand for instructions on how to care for your pillow.
If your pillow is machine-friendly, continue to the steps below for how to properly machine-wash your body pillow.
Best for: Pillows made of down, feather, cotton, and durable materials
You’ll want to wash your body pillows separately to avoid overstuffing your washing machine. Otherwise, your pillows won’t have enough space, which may cause damage to their shape and prevent them from being properly cleaned.
Fold your body pillow either in half or around the drum of the washer. This makes it easier for the detergent and water to reach every part of your body pillow.
If your body pillow doesn’t fit in your washing machine, you can take it to a local laundromat and use the larger washing machines there to wash it.
Wash your body pillow with a mild detergent, preferably a dry one. Liquid detergent could cause the feathers or down fibers to clump together and may be difficult to thoroughly rinse out.
Wash your body pillow in the washing machine using warm or cold water, depending on the label’s instructions. Avoid using hot water, as it can cause your pillow to deteriorate.
To make sure the detergent is fully rinsed out, choose a second rinse cycle. If your washing machine doesn’t have this option, stop the machine and reset it to create a second rinse cycle.
After your body pillow is fully washed, move it to the dryer. Tumble dry your pillow on a low heat setting.
To help maintain the fluffiness of your pillow, throw in a couple of tennis balls or dryer balls as well. Make sure your pillow is fully dry before removing it from your dryer. Feather and down pillows take longer to dry, so expect them to need two to three hours in the dryer.
Once it’s completely dry, fluff up your pillow by holding the corners and fluffing diagonally. You can also try gently massaging your pillow to prevent lumps. Fluffing your pillows will help maintain their height and keep them looking nice and fresh.
Hand-washing is a great cleaning option if your type of body pillow is made of fine material or is too large for your washing machine. If your pillow is made of latex or memory foam or doesn’t have cleaning instructions on the label, it’s best to hand-wash the pillow.
Follow these next steps to learn how to gently but effectively hand-wash your body pillow.
Best for: Pillows made of delicate materials, latex, or memory foam
Fill up either a bathtub or a large bucket with cold water mixed with mild detergent. Avoid using hot water, as it can damage the pillow.
Soak your body pillow fully in the mixture. Once it’s fully saturated, massage the soap into the pillow for several minutes until it’s fully clean.
Empty the bucket or tub and fill it with clean water. Massage the pillow in the water until the soap is fully rinsed out. Gently squeeze out excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting the pillow, which can cause it to be misshapen.
Once the pillow is rinsed thoroughly, place it flat in front of a fan or in some sunshine. If you choose to leave your pillow out under the sun, remove it after an hour or two to avoid discoloration. Let it completely dry until it’s a fluffy body pillow again.
|Stain Type||Ingredients||Cleaning Technique|
|Dried stain||Warm water and mild detergent||Using the mixture of ingredients, soak the stain and rinse with clean water.|
|Adhesives||Ice||Rub a piece of ice on the stained surface. Scrape the hardened adhesive off with a knife.|
|Blood||Baking soda and cold water||Using the mixture of ingredients, soak the stain and rinse with clean water. Avoid using hot water.|
The best way to tackle small stains on your body pillow is by spot-cleaning them. With spot-cleaning, you can avoid overwashing and overdrying your body pillow. You’ll want to start this process as soon as you see a stain so it doesn’t fully set in.
Use the next steps as a guide on how to spot-clean your body pillow by hand.
Mix warm water and mild detergent in a bowl and soak a small cloth in it. Wring out the cloth so it’s just damp.
Using small circular motions, gently rub the damp cloth on the stain. When the stain is removed, use another cloth soaked in warm water to rinse off the detergent mixture.
If you still see the stain, you may need to repeat this step several times to remove it from the pillow. You can also let the detergent mixture soak into the stain for a couple of minutes before rubbing it off.
Once the detergent mixture is fully removed from the pillow, pat off excess moisture with a dry cloth.
Once the excess water has been removed, set the pillow out to air dry in front of a fan or under the sun for a couple of hours or until the pillow is fully dry.
Over time, you may notice a yellow tone appear on your pillows. This discoloration is caused by years of body oils, sweat, and dirt. You can give your body pillow a new life with this simple mixture.
1. Mix the ingredients: Mix together equal parts powder laundry detergent, powder dishwashing detergent, bleach, and a mix of equal parts borax and warm water. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes after thoroughly mixing, then add it to your washing machine’s detergent dispenser.
2. Add your pillows: Put no more than one pillow in the washing machine. Let your washing machine complete a regular wash using the washing solution.
3. Dry your pillows: Throw your body pillow into the dryer on a low heat cycle. Throw in dryer balls to maintain your pillow’s fluffiness.
You may repeat this process multiple times to achieve a brighter white.
Most body pillows can go into the dryer. However, check the label first for special drying instructions prior to throwing yours in. If your body pillow can go into the dryer, throw in a couple of dryer balls or tennis balls wrapped in socks to keep your pillows fluffy.
Regularly washing your body pillowcase will keep your pillow nice and fresh. Follow these next steps to learn how to clean a body pillowcase correctly.
1. Check the body pillowcase label —Check the label on your body pillowcase for washing and drying instructions. Follow these instructions correctly to avoid damaging your pillowcase.
2. Identify the material of the pillowcase —If the pillowcase doesn’t have a label you’ll need to identify the material it’s made of. Depending on the material, you’ll need to either machine-wash or hand-wash to clean it. Knowing the material will also inform you on which detergent type to use.
3. Determine if the case should be washed separately or with other similar fabrics —Most pillow covers are made of materials similar to your clothing, so you most likely won’t need to wash it separately. You should, however, wash it with fabrics of similar color, whether it’s lights or darks.
The lifespan of your body pillow will depend on the materials it’s made of and how well it’s taken care of. Most body pillows can last up to two years. However, it may last even longer if it’s made of more durable material, like latex.1
If you believe your pillows have become home to unwanted dust mites or bed bugs, you can put them, along with your pillowcases and sheets, into the dryer on high heat for 20 to 30 minutes. This level of heat will kill the pesky bugs at any stage of their life cycle.
However, if the label instructions say to not use a dryer for your pillow, you may want to discard it and purchase a new one.
Now that you know how to properly wash a body pillow, are you ready to start fresh? Check out the Casper Hug Body Pillow for the ultimate full-body relief.
1Sleep Foundation. Best Body Pillows of 2022. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/best-pillows/best-body-pillow