October 24, 2020

pillow image

Machine washing isn’t always the best option for some types of pillows, and circumstances at home may mean that occasionally, you aren’t able to use your washing machine as a cleaning option. Whatever the situation, if you need to clean your pillows without using a washing machine, there’s plenty you can do.

You should hand-clean your pillows differently depending on what you’re looking to clean. If you need to get rid of a stain, for example, you’ll use a different cleaning method to if you’re simply on a mission to de-dust your pillows. Stay tuned for our top tips for cleaning pillows at home, washing machine-free, for the removal of all the bad stuff.

1. For cleaning gummy or gooey mess

place a bag of ice on top of the mess and leaving it in place until the material hardens

If you have children, or you’re simply a messy adult, there will most likely come a time in your life when you’ll need to remove a particularly gummy or gooey food from your pillow. Chocolate and chewing gum are the main offenders, but if these do end up on your pillows, it’s not the end.

One quick remedy for removing the initial gooiness is to place a bag of ice or frozen vegetables over the top of the mess, and leaving it in place until the material hardens. Then, using your fingers, move the fabric back and forth until the mess breaks free and crumbles away from the pillow. 

You can use a spoon or a toothpick to scrape the remaining material free. Follow up with a general clean using warm water and soap.

2. For mildew and odour removal

Use baking soda to absorb odor in the pillow

After a few months of use, you might notice that your pillows begin to take on an unpleasant mildew odour. Check your pillow out – if it smells musty, chances are, it’s formed mould or mildew spots.

While the thought of sleeping on mould might be slightly horrifying, don’t be too quick to throw your pillows away. You’ll usually be able to remove the mould by sprinkling baking soda liberally all over the offending areas, before waiting two hours for the soda to absorb the odour and dry spores. 

Vacuum the baking soda away and spray a light mist of vinegar over the pillow, then wipe it down with a cloth dipped in warm water and some dish soap. Air out your pillows in a non-humid location for a day or two, and they’ll be good as new once more.
how to clean pillows at home without a washing machine

3. For removing spills and stains

blot spilled liquid as quickly as possible using paper towel

While we know that eating and drinking in bed isn’t advisable, it doesn’t stop the majority of us from doing it. Luckily, there are plenty of quick and easy stain-removal methods if you can’t use a washing machine – or if your washing machine is proving ineffective.

As soon as a spillage occurs, immediately blot up the offending liquid as quickly as possible with a paper towel. This will prevent it from soaking deep into your pillow.


Next, wipe the area down with a wet, white towel until you can no longer see the colour of the spillage, before blotting dry once more. If you can still see the colour, try dabbing a white towel in a warm water dish soap solution. Leave your pillow to dry outdoors.

4. For removing dust and dander

Dust settles all around us, and while we may not even realise it, it’s important to remove it frequently to keep the air in our home environment healthy and allergen-free. If your pillows have been left in a dusty area without the protection of a pillowcase, it’s especially vital that you work to remove any dust that may have built up over time.

You should normally be able to get out the majority of dust by simply vacuuming your pillow. Use an upholstery attachment if you have one for better results. You can also use a crevice tool to get into the nooks and crannies, like the pillow’s decorative trim.


As for loose hairs or pet fur, you can’t go wrong with a lint roller for removing them. If you don’t own one, you can get the same effect by using a rubber glove to wipe down the pillow with your hand.


Fluff your pillows to remove dust mites

When your pillows need cleaning and a washing machine isn’t the answer, the tips mentioned in this video should help you immensely. If you’re simply looking to wash your pillow by hand, just fill a sink or bathtub with warm water that contains a gentle laundry detergent. 

Add the pillow and massage it with your hands for a few minutes. This will remove dust mites from your pillow, give it a nice smell, and generally clean it all the way through.

Keep in mind that there are some instances where it may be time to throw out your pillow rather than attempt to clean it. If your pillow is compromising your sleep, it’s probably a sign that you need to switch it up for a new one. 

Equally, if your pillow has large patches of damp and mould, it’s yellowed, or you simply can’t remember the last time you bought a new one, you should replace it pretty quickly. For the best pillow choices click here.

Bestseller No. 1
Beckham Hotel Collection Bed Pillows for Sleeping - Queen Size, Set of 2 - Cooling, Luxury Gel Pillow for Back, Stomach or Side Sleepers
  • Superior Comfort: Our cool pillow is encased in a 250-thread count cover, and filled with a soft down alternative.
  • Keep Cool: If you easily overheat, or maybe you're looking for cool queen size pillows for night sweats, the breathability of our bed pillow can offer welcome relief.
  • Safe & Sound: These bed pillows are made in an OEKO-TEX Standard 100 factory that ensures textiles meet high safety and environmental standards.
  • Easy Clean: Unlike a memory foam pillow, our side sleeper pillow is designed to make life as easy as counting sheep! Simply pop them in the washer and tumble dry.
Bestseller No. 2
HOOMQING Bed Pillows 2 Pack - Queen Size Pillows for Sleeping Set of 2 for Side Back and Stomach Sleepers, Down Alternative Filling Luxury Soft Supportive Plush Pillows (White, Queen)
  • 👉 [ LUXURY FABRICS ] - The skin-friendly soft cover is made, Microfiber fabric material, Nice sleeping pillow in your life. It is highly recommended as a best gift for your parents, family and friends, I’m sure you can get enthusiasm feedback.
  • 👉 [ MATERIAL OF FILLING ] - Pillow core made of down-like microfibre , This pillow No Odor peculiar smell and No irritation, The perfect balance between fluffy and support to provide the which makes the pillows supportive and cozy.It is vacuum-compressed and fully fluffy after 48-72 hours。
  • 👉 [ PROVIDE EXCELLENT SUPPORT ] - These set of 2 pillows are made with a great balance of supple softness and plump firmness, providing adequate support to your head, neck and shoulders, So it can keep your head will never sink right down to the mattress.
  • 👉[ SOFT AND FLUFFY ] - Whether you are a side sleeper, or back sleeper, and even some stomach sleeper. These pillows have a high loft, Great for all sleeping styles , They will give you great support for your neck and shoulder, Most comfortable and cooling pillow.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Utopia Bedding Throw Pillows Insert (Pack of 2, White) - 12 x 20 Inches Bed and Couch Pillows - Indoor Decorative Pillows
  • RECTANGLE PILLOW PACK - Pack of 2 decorative rectangle pillows for your couches or bedroom; they are neither too big nor too small and they give off a homely vibe
  • PACKAGING - Pillows are compressed in vacuum packaging because of shipping purpose, they might appear as one large pillow.
  • DIMENSIONS - Each rectangle pillow measures 12 by 20 inches
  • FIBER FILLING - White poly cotton cover and siliconized fiber filling will never make them look hollow
Bestseller No. 4
Sleep Restoration Bed Pillows for Sleeping – Queen Size Set of 2, Comfortable Luxury Cooling Pillow for Back Side or Stomach Sleepers
  • These hotel quality pillows are encased in a breathable, 250-thread count, 100% cotton cover, and filled with a soft, gel-infused down-alternative.
  • Our cooling, fade-proof, bed pillows 2 pack bounces back with ease and outperforms rigid memory foam alternatives that retain more heat.
  • This cool gel bed pillow is designed to make life as easy as counting sheep! Easy to clean, simply pop them in the washer and tumble dry your way to a peaceful sleep.
  • Whether you're a supine slumberer or you love a sideways siesta, our hotel pillows have a plush, bounce-back design that shapes to your favoured position!

About the author

Rachel Perono

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