Washing your pillows regularly will remove unwanted materials from the pillow, like dust mites and allergens. But it can be difficult to get over the idea of dunking them in water or risking clumping these fluffy friends together. Wet washing is a great way to keep away all sorts of unwelcome guests!
You may wonder, how can I dry my pillows? Can I put them in the dryer?
You can put pillows in the dryer. Place the pillows in a dryer on the lowest heat possible. Add an extra softener sheet for freshness and two or three tennis balls to help fluff them up! Keep track of time so you can remove your pillow when it’s done getting fluffy, not burnt (or at least before). It is even recommended to put your pillows in the dryer every few weeks to kill bacteria and mites in your pillows.
Putting your pillows in the dryer is a very simple way of drying your washed pillows. It is much quicker than air-drying them. However, drying them like regular laundry will turn your pillows hard, clumped, or even completely unusable. You should know how to put them in the dryer and how often to have clean and durable pillows.
How To Dry A Pillow In The Dryer
I have found that machine drying a pillow is much more efficient than drying them under the sun. However, whether you should put a pillow in the dryer depends on the type of your pillow. The label on a pillow will mention whether it is dryer safe.
If the pillow is dryer safe, you can quickly dry it in the dryer. Here are some tips I recommend following to dry your pillows without any damage to your pillows or the dryer.
Don’t Leave Your Pillow Wet.
Leaving your wet pillow in the washer will cause the fillings to clump up. It may also retain so much moisture that the dryer may fail to dry it thoroughly. So, put your pillow immediately in the dryer from the washer.
Set The Dryer To Low Heat
Pillows tend to heat up easily because of their natural insulating properties. The pillow in the dryer will trap the heat just like it traps your body temperature. Setting a low heat option will help you avoid fire hazards.
Run Several Cycles
Because the dryer heat only touches the moist surface, you will need several cycles for the pillow to dry all the way through. “After rinsing, use the spin dry feature of your washer at least twice to get as much moisture out of the pillows as possible,” says Brian Sansoni, Senior Vice President of communications, outreach, and membership of American Cleaning Institute.
Fluff The Pillow After Every Cycle
The dryer may cause the pillows to shrink or clump up. I prefer to avoid taking the pillow out of the dryer after every cycle and fluff it up like I would when making my bed.
Use Dryer Balls
If available, you can use dryer balls instead of fluffing them after every cycle. They help to fluff the pillows by hitting them with the spin cycle. Dryer balls are also designed to keep your pillow soft and fresh.
Setting low heat and running the cycle over and over surely takes longer than drying laundry. I have had the temptation to speed up the process by setting a higher heat option, but having patience is important. High heat can cause a fire in the dryer.
Although it may sound like a long process, drying a pillow in the dryer is much faster than taking a whole day to air dry them. Besides, it’s a process that cannot be replaced if you live in a damp climate or in a place that gets very little sunlight.
What Precautions To Take When Putting Pillow in Dryer
The biggest problem with putting a pillow in the dryer is that pillows are naturally insulating because of their ingredients. They trap the temperature around it. When put in the dryer, pillows retain all the heat. The pillows, being in a confined space, have a chance of catching fire.
However, dryers are fire-prone by design. It doesn’t matter whether you are drying a pillow or your regular laundry. Some very simple preventive measures can help you avoid the disaster.
Set A Low Heat Option
Because a pillow can retain heat inside for a long time, it tends to reach a higher temperature than the dryer temperature. Even though this slows down the process a little, it will help you avoid any possibility of your dryer catching on fire.
Let The Cooling Cycle Finish
Dryers have a cooling cycle along with their drying (or heating) cycle. You may feel the need to fluff your pillow by taking it out of the dryer before the cooling cycle ends. Sometimes, people could be in a hurry and stop the dryer before it cools properly. This may cause sparks of fire in the dryer with a chance of spreading.
Keep The Lint Filter Clean
The lint filter catches everything from loose threads to all the fuzzy debris from your clothes. Lint is the exact kind of material you would need to kindle a fire. So, the lint filter must be cleaned after every cycle to avoid fire hazards.
Clean The Dryer Vents
The lint filter is not a foolproof tool to catch all the lint. Some of it will gather in the dryer vent. Besides, outdoor debris can block the exhaust of the dryer vent. This will trap the heat in the dryer, causing a fire.
How Often You Should Do It
People wash their laundry at least once a week. The same goes for the bed linens. So why do we avoid cleaning our pillows?
Our pillow’s shape, size, and structure usually make us believe that these can go without washing. Besides, the inconvenience of washing them may also discourage you. It is important to clean your pillows still.
Most experts suggest that you must wash your pillows two or three times a year. That is, it is best to wash pillows every 4-6 months. “If you sweat more during the night, have more sensitive skin, or have allergies, you should wash your pillows more often—about every three months or more, if you feel the need.” Natalie Barret, a cleaning supervisor at Nifty Cleaning Services, says.
You can dry your pillow by putting it in the dryer after every wash. I also put them in the dryer without washing until the pillows accumulate too much dust or pollen from the air. In case of mold or any other pungent smell, it is best to wash them.
If cleaning the pillows doesn’t fix them, it is time to replace your pillows. This is how you can decide if you should throw away your pillows:
- The pillow has become permanently flattened
- There are lumps in the pillow that cannot be fluffed up by hand or the dryer
- The pillow stays folded and does not unfold or fluff itself after folding it in half
- There is a yellow tint on the pillow that cannot be washed off
- The pillow has stubborn odors that will not go away after washing
Why You Should Put Your Pillows in the Dryer
Pillows are always in close contact with our skin. This makes it very important that the pillows are always clean and do not carry any bugs or infections. Our sweat glands release sweat and sebum. This moisture can become a breeding ground for bacteria and other mites and parasites.
“Pillows are perfect hosts for debris, dead skin cells, sweat, moisture, skin oils, and so on. If you leave all of that stuff be, it may attract dust mites. And sharing your sleeping space with those guys can cause allergies, itchy or watery eyes, skin rashes, and even increased risk of asthma,” says Alex Savy, a certified sleep science coach.
Even when you are not washing your pillows, putting them in the dryer can help kill the dust mites. A clean bedroom can still lead to dust mites in your pillows. Besides, night sweats can cause the pillows to get so dampened that they fail to dry throughout the day. This will result in mold and bacteria. The heat in the dryer kills the bacteria in pillows.
Is Drying Under The Sun A Better Option?
Growing up, I have always seen my family putting the pillows up in a clothesline in the backyard every other week. Many still debate the sun has various properties that make air-drying a superior option to machine drying.
Air-drying has various advantages and disadvantages. However, which features can be considered as an advantage depends upon your convenience. I have made a list of the features of air-drying to consider:
Saves Money And Energy
Air-drying saves a lot of energy. A dryer uses around 2 to 6 kilowatts of energy each cycle, and you must run several cycles to dry a pillow. If you have many pillows, drying them under the sun will help you reduce energy usage and electric bills.
The dryer spin cycles cause friction with the clothes, which may wear out your pillow after a few washes. On the other hand, the sun does not affect the pillow shell in any way that can reduce its lifespan.
When air-drying, you have to start early in the day because you may have to keep the pillows under the sun throughout the entire day. You also have to come back to them every once in a while to flip them. However, if you have many pillows, you can air-dry them at once, but you have to machine dry them in several batches.
It is important to keep track of the pollen count on the day you will be drying them. Being outside for hours will surely cause your pillows to trap some of the pollen in the air. If you have allergies, machine drying is a safer option.
Weather plays a big role in deciding when to wash your pillows if you are going to air-dry them. You can only wash your pillows on a sunny and breezy day. Besides, you have to check the weather reports to ensure that there is no chance of rain.
Kills Bacteria Effectively
Air-drying has a special edge to it, which is the UV light of the sun. It kills all the bacteria in your pillows. When machine washing and drying, you may need to use soap and other cleaning agents to get rid of those same bacteria.
The sun is called a natural sanitizer. The sunlight has properties that work as a sanitizing element. So if you dry your pillows under the sun, they will smell cleaner and fresher.
The sun’s UV light also has bleaching properties. This will whiten your pillows. As a result, they will look cleaner and less stained. Air-drying will give the pillows a newer look compared to machine drying.
Clumps Feather And Down
Air-drying can take a lot of time, especially when the pillows are not set directly under the sun. The longer it takes to dry, or in other words, the longer the down-and-feather filling of a pillow stays wet, the more it clumps. These pillows should always be put in a dryer.
Only Way To Dry Memory Foam
Memory foam is easily destroyed in a dryer. Most memory foam and other pillows that are not dryer safe have to be dried under the sun because there is no other option.
Although I favor drying my pillows in the dryer, it may not be a convenient option for many. Knowing that you can easily dry your pillows in the dryer and get rid of mites makes this a choice if you need it.
While air-drying is a better option in a dryer climate, putting your pillows in the dryer is your only option when it is raining. In contrast to air-drying, you can put your pillows in the dryer any time of the year you may need to.