· Homekeeping · Laundry · This Tip For Washing Yellowed Pillows Works Shockingly Well
Homekeeping · Laundry · This Tip For Washing Yellowed Pillows Works Shockingly Well
103

This Tip For Washing Yellowed Pillows Works Shockingly Well

Don't toss out those discolored old pillows—rescue them with this simple whitening method.

Inevitably, sweat and natural oils from your body get absorbed into your pillow while you sleep, causing discoloration and attracting dust and dirt that worsen the problem. But knowing why your pillows don’t look like they used to doesn’t make them any less unpleasant to look at.

A few years ago I found myself mourning the discolored state of my own pillows, and had accepted that I probably needed to replace them. But I figured I might as well poke around online to see what I could find out about cleaning discolored pillows before I chucked them in the trash.

That’s when I came across the following whitening procedure and decided to give it a try. The results were so impressive that I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! So that’s what I’m doing today; I’m taking to my virtual rooftop to share exactly how to rescue those yellowed pillows.

I know you’ll be as impressed with the results as I was! 🙂

Related: The One Thing You Need To Do Before Switching To Lighter Bedding

How To Wash And Whiten Yellowed Pillows

You’ll need:

Related: 31 Surprisingly Brilliant Ways to Use Borax

Directions:

First, check the tag on your pillow to confirm that it’s washable. (Most feather down and synthetic pillows can be safely washed.) Remove the pillow case and pillow protector, if present.

Step 1 – Soak The Pillows In Hot Water

The first step in the cleaning process is to soak your dirty pillows in hot water to give the cleaning ingredients a head start on dissolving those tough stains. (If you have a top-loading washing machine, you can do the soak right in your washer. For those with front-loading washers, or if your top-loader doesn’t have a soak function, you can do the soak in a separate container or your bathtub.)

Related: How to Clean Your Top-Loading Washing Machine (Effortlessly)

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil on your stovetop. Stir the laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and borax into the boiling water, and stir until the powdered ingredients dissolve. (You could also pour the water into a bucket and then add the dry ingredients if you don’t want to mix cleaning ingredients inside a cooking pot.)

Once the powders have dissolved into the water, pour the water into your washer (or whatever you’re using to soak the pillows in), then add the bleach. Then let the pillows soak in the solution for at least 30 minutes, flipping the pillows over about half-way through the soak time to make sure that they’re getting saturated on both sides.

Related: Get Your Front-Loading Washing Machine Sparkling Clean (and Germ Free!)

Step 2 – Wash The Pillows

Following the soak, run the pillows through a full wash cycle in your washing machine. (Select the additional or second rinse option, if your washer has one.)

Step 3 – Dry The Pillows

Finally, all that’s left to do is dry your pillows. If you have down pillows, put them into your dryer on the “fluff” or “air” setting. Synthetic pillows can be dried on low heat. Add a couple of tennis balls or wool dryer balls to the dryer to help fluff the pillows as they dry.

This is the “before and after” of our Production Manager Brittany’s pillows, who offered them up as test subjects so we could shoot these photos. After following the steps above, her pillows went from looking grimy to just like new (and the difference was even more dramatic in person!)

Give it a try for yourself, and see what you think!

FAQs About Whitening Old Pillows

Does this work for memory foam pillows?

Generally speaking yes, but be sure to check the tags on yours. Keep in mind that memory foam will take much longer to dry, so be sure to give it plenty of time in the dryer on a low heat setting. If you want to dry it outside, make sure there is a nice breeze to provide plenty of opportunity for all that dense memory foam to air out.

Does this work for down feather pillows?

Definitely. Follow the same advice above for your down feather pillows—plenty of drying time on low heat. It’s best to put them in your dryer with a few dryer balls to help prevent the feathers from clumping as they dry. (Believe me, you don’t want to end up with a pillow full of hot, soggy clumps of feathers.

Do you wash your pillows in your washer?

Whiten Your Yellow Pillows (Step-by-Step)

Jill Nystul
It’s a fact of life: Over time the natural oils from your body will turn your pillows yellow and make them very unattractive. But it turns out there is a simple and VERY effective way to whiten and wash those pillows!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Soak Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Homemade cleaners
Servings 2 very white pillows!

Equipment

  • Washing Machine
  • Measuring Cup

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup powdered laundry detergent
  • 1 cup powdered dishwasher detergent
  • 1 cup bleach (or bleach alternative)
  • 1/2 cup borax

Instructions
 

  • Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil on your stovetop. Stir the laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and borax into the boiling water, and stir until the powdered ingredients dissolve. (You could also pour the water into a bucket and then add the dry ingredients, if you don’t want to mix cleaning ingredients inside a cooking pot.)
  • When the dry ingredients have dissolved into the water, pour the water into the washer (or wherever you’re soaking your pillows) along with the bleach. Then let the pillows soak in the water for about 30 minutes. You should also flip the pillows over about half-way through the soak, to make sure that they’re getting fully saturated.
  • Following the soak, run the pillows through a full wash cycle in your washing machine. Select the 2nd rinse option, if possible.
  • If you have down pillows, put them into your dryer on the “fluff” or “air” setting. Synthetic pillows can be dried on low heat. Add a couple of tennis balls or homemade dryer balls to the dryer to help fluff the pillows as they dry.
Keyword whiten yellow pillows
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
  • I may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website. I always offer my own genuine recommendation. Learn more.


  • image

    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

    Read More

    MORE IDEAS FROM

    Homekeeping

    103 Comments
    most voted
    newest oldest
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    Menu