Friday, November 15, 2013

How to wash & whiten yellowed pillows

Happy Friday, friends!  I'm breaking my regular Five on Friday routine today to share some of what's been going on around here.  (Hoping to get all the pictures sorted out from last weekend this weekend so I can share that fun with you soon!)

Today's post is one of those posts that I feel like might be a little too much information.  I don't make any secrets here about not being perfect, but it's not often that I air out my dirty laundry [literally] here for the whole wide world to see.  

But, we've been on a little cleaning spree here at the Thrift for Today house, going above the regular, dust, vacuum, dishes routine that we do regularly and really trying to get all those hiddedn nooks and crannies around here clean.  

And so today, we're talking about washing and whitening yellowed pillows.  Yep, the kind you sleep on.  We sleep on.  That are still in perfectly good condition, but when we take the cases off for the laundry, yikes!  Those things look a million years old and also gross.  

And while it looks completely gross, I take a little bit of comfort in knowing that pillows turning yellow over time just happens even to the best of us.  A quick internet search confirmed that...whew!  Turns out, we're sweating people.  Our bodies naturally sweat throughout the night even just a little to keep our bodies at a comfortable temperature.

That was comforting, but honestly, I had just assumed that it would be a nightmare to wash the pillows, so I've just been recovering them and moving on.  

But good grief!  It was so easy to clean them and they look like new!  Martha Stewart recommends washing pillows twice a year and after this transformation, I am happy to oblige.  

1. Set washer to large load, delicate cycle, and HOT water.  
2. Recommended amount of laundry detergent (we used liquid and filled cap to line for large loads). 
3. Pour in about 3/4 cup of bleach (I estimated it.)
4. Run wash cycle stopping half-way through to turn pillows over.
5. Rinse twice to be sure all the soap is out.  

This took a while, to be honest, but damp pillows can lead to mold which is bad, bad, bad...especially for something you put your face on every single day for extended periods of time.

1. Put pillows in dryer with tennis balls (we covered ours in old socks as seen above).  This helps them maintain their shape.  
2. Dry on low heat until dry.  You should press them to be sure they are totally dry.  

For alternative tutorials, see this little list below.  I read each of these before committing to washing our pillows: 

Good Housekeeping

I know people spring clean, but is anyone else doing some deep fall cleaning these days?  Tell me I'm not the only one!

*Don't try to wash your feather down or memory foam pillows this way.  Please consult the cleaning instructions on the pillow's tag.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Melissa! I appreciate you stopping by!

  2. ugh! this helps...I totally hate yellowed pillows! Most of the time I just replace them but I should totally consider actually washing them. lol

    1. Same! I was glad to be able to wash them instead of getting rid of them!

  3. Found your blog on the That Friday Blog Hop! Your blog is so cute!
    I don't think I have ever washed my pillows. I actually didn't know you could do that. I just throw them away and buy new ones. Oops.
    I'm following via GFC/Bloglovin'/and FB! Check out my blog if you get a chance!



    1. Hey Sarah Beth! Thanks so much for stopping by; I appreciate you following along! :)

  4. That is a great idea. I hate when our pillows get yellow and you can really tell the difference in your pics.
    Thank you for linking to Super Sunday Sync.

    1. I had just never thought of washing them. But of course, the tags tell you that you can...I guess I was just always scared to mess them up. This was super easy though and definitely worth a try!

  5. Thats a very good tip!, I always throw my away when it gets yellow, but I will try this

    Take Care Maria

    1. Thanks, Maria! Let me know if you try it out!

  6. Very interesting idea about adding tennis balls to the dryer to maintain their shape! That's exactly the reason why I hate washing pillows in the first place...I can't sleep on a pillow once it loses it's shape, so I end up buying new pillows every 6 months or so. I'll keep this in mind. Thanks for linking up to Share Your Stuff Tuesday!

    Jenn @

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jenn! I'm a fan of the Share your Stuff party! :) Mine seemed to hold their shape just fine after coming out of the dryer, so before you toss them, I'd give it a try! Have a great day!

  7. Timely advice - I was ready to toss the old ones and buy new pillows before holiday guests arrive. You have saved me money AND time with this handy tip.

    1. Oh great! Thank you so much for stopping by; I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!


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