Can Pillows Go In the Dryer? - Here Is What You Need to Know for Your Bedding Overhaul

Taking the time to wash and dry your pillows properly can eliminate dead skin, oils, and even dead bugs. By taking good care of your pillows, you can protect your investment and have a safer place to sleep.

Can pillows go in the dryer? If you’re asking this question, it must be time for your three-month bedding overhaul. Here’s what you need to know about pillow care.

The Benefits of Drying Your Pillows

Taking the time to put your pillows in the dryer can make a massive difference to the quality of your sleep. Not only does it help your bed look professionally put together, but it can also offer a couple of health benefits.

Let’s get into some of the top reasons why you need to consider drying your pillows.

Perfectly Fluffed

Drying your pillows gives you the ability to fluff the fill perfectly so that they feel brand new. Instead of letting them air dry, you can restore the puffy texture of the fill, whether it’s polyester or down.

Perfectly fluffed pillow, woman hugging soft fluffy pillow

The most important part of perfecting the quality of your washed pillows is to ensure you use dryer balls. Dryer balls help agitate the fill so that it doesn’t clump or settle in one half of the pillow.

Moreover, using dryer balls also helps ensure that the fill is thoroughly dried, allowing you to make your bed immediately after the cycle is finished. If you’re short on dryer balls, you could also opt to use tennis balls, as we’ll discuss below.

Removing Extra Dust

Even if you take the time to vacuum your pillows before washing them, it’s likely that dust is trapped in the fill. After running your pillows through a complete washing cycle, you’ll want to make sure all traces of dust are taken out.

By putting your pillows through a drying cycle, you can help suck excess dust from the hidden corners. This step is most important for people who suffer from allergies, as drying your pillows can also help remove allergens. It’s also beneficial for removing tangled hair and even naturally occurring mites.

Freshening Your Linens

Above all else, putting your pillows in the dryer is a fabulous way to freshen your linens. When you put fresh sheets on the bed, they’ll likely smell wonderful, making your room more enticing.

To take it to the next level, add a little bit of essential oil to your dryer balls for a natural scent. Even if it’s not time for you to clean your pillows, this is a great way to liven up your space. Consider scents like lavender to help lull you to sleep at the end of a long, stressful day.

Natural Disinfecting

As mentioned, putting your pillows in the dryer can be a great way to get rid of dead mites and dust. Choosing to air dry your pillows in direct sunlight is incredibly useful as a natural disinfectant. If you didn’t know, the sun’s UV rays have been known to showcase disinfecting properties.

Natural desinfecting of pillow via sunlight, woman outside on pillow with lavender in background

By letting your pillows sit in the sun for a couple of hours every few months, you’ll be naturally cleaning the materials. Not only does this process help get rid of bacteria, but it can also help destroy potential viruses. Although it’s not a foolproof way to disinfect your pillows, it’s a substantial upgrade from standard dryers.

The most essential part of leaving your pillows in the sun to dry is to make sure they’re as flat as possible. Also, it’s important to note that UV light only kills bacteria that it can see. With that said, the surface area of your pillow will be thoroughly disinfected, but the inside won’t.

Can Pillows Go in the Dryer? How to Prepare Your Pillows

Before we get into the steps of how to dry your pillows properly, it’s important to know how to prepare them beforehand. There isn’t much to this part, making them just as easy to maintain as your standard linens.

Step 1: Vacuum the Pillows

Whether you have down, memory foam, or polyester fill pillows, always vacuum them first. This step helps remove larger particles before washing. You won’t want any dust getting trapped in the fill and then getting stuck to the materials while washing.

You can use a standard vacuum with a hose attachment or a special handheld vacuum for this task. Alternatively, consider beating the pillow with your hand, which will help remove dust if you don’t have a vacuum.

Step 2: Wash the Pillows

Wash your pillow, laundry room

Of course, the next step before drying your pillows is to make sure you wash them thoroughly. Washing on low to medium heat can help get rid of a ton of dirt, grime, and bacteria trapped in your pillows. If you have down, you can use higher heat settings to help eliminate any traces of allergens and dust.

Washing your pillows is simple, but we always recommend double-checking the care instructions for the specific fill. Different pillows require special care, which means you might need specific types of detergent and water temperatures. With most pillows, you should be able to get away with one to two tablespoons of detergent and cool water.

Another vital step to washing your pillows is to spot-treat any apparent stains. You can do this with baking soda and detergent or use special stain removers or spot treatments. By loosening caked-on dirt, you’ll be getting rid of even more bacteria.

Step 3: Drying Based on Fill Type

Much like the special care instructions for different pillow fill types, there are also individual drying instructions. Some types of fill work best with higher temperatures; others shouldn’t be put in the dryer at all.

Down and Feather Pillows

Down and feather pillows are some of the most luxurious pillow options on the market. It’s surprising how easy they are to care for, especially if you enjoy washing and drying at higher temperatures.

When washing down pillows, you can use medium to high heat; while drying, use medium heat. If you’re uncomfortable putting too much warmth on down fill, you can also opt for a no-heat drying setting.

Most modern dryers have no-heat settings, which simply push room-temperature air into the chamber. It’s a far more time-efficient option than leaving the pillows out to air dry, especially for humid environments.

When you’re drying down and feather pillows, having an agitator isn’t as important as other materials. The feathers are less likely to clump together compared to polyester, for example. However, to ensure the pillows dry quickly, having an agitator can be very beneficial.

At this point, we would recommend tennis balls or dryer balls, as they punch the pillows back into shape. Another great idea is to dry multiple pillows at the same time. Using this process, the pillows act as their own agitators.

Polyester and Down Alternative

Polyester is a popular fill option for pillows, thanks to its affordability. People who are allergic to down can also prefer it, as it’s a synthetic fill with a similar feel. This material is well-known for the amount of bounce and plushness it has, which is where drying is most important.

After you wash polyester pillows, the material will become very heavy and clumpy, often sticking together. When drying, it is essential that you not only use low heat settings but that you also add agitators. Otherwise, the material will stay clumped and dry in this position, creating lumpy, uncomfortable pillows.

A great alternative to putting polyester pillows in the dryer is to consider air-drying them. You won’t have to worry about the material clumping, as the pillow will be lying flat. However, this process can take significantly longer, especially if it’s not a dry and warm day.

Memory Foam and Latex

Two materials that you should never put in the dryer are memory foam and latex pillows. These are often used by people who have back pain or require special sleeping arrangements for ergonomics.

Typically, these pillows have a solid chunk of material within the casing used as the stuffing. Although they are incredibly soft, comfortable, and mold to the shape of your body, they’re challenging to clean.

Most people prefer to hand-wash memory foam, as the material can absorb water, causing it to crack. Also, the more often you wash memory foam pillows, the more likely the material is to break apart. This theory also applies to drying the pillows, as exposure to dry heat can cause crumbling.

A far better alternative is to let your latex and memory foam pillows air dry, especially with spot treating. In addition to spot cleaning, ensure you leave them out in direct sunlight to help kill microorganisms.

Final Thoughts

Homeowners wondering whether or not can pillows go in the dryer will be glad to know that most types can. With the modernization of home cleaning, more pillow materials are adaptable to washing and drying.

Whether you use a dryer or the sun as a natural disinfecting dryer, there are many options for all fill types. Make sure you check the label to know how to wash and dry your pillows according to the manufacturer.