Can You Use Bleach On Pillows? 🦠

If you’re someone who prefers buying a new pillow rather than cleaning an older one, know that you’re not alone! If you have kids like me, I’m sure you realize that cleaning pillows are essential for cleanliness and hygiene. However, it’s not always clear how to get the job done. So, can you use bleach on pillows?

You can use bleach on pillows. Bleach has sodium hypochlorite, which makes it a very potent disinfectant and whitener. However, bleach will weaken pillow fibers and fabric and strip the color. Bleached pillows tear easily, and inhaling the chemicals when sleeping, is dangerous. 

Using bleach has its pros and cons, and weighing them up and comparing them is crucial to your safety and the longevity of your pillows. Let’s learn what’s important to consider and how it can benefit you!

Can You Use Bleach On Pillows?

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You can undoubtedly use bleach on pillows, but the harsh chemicals found in bleach, namely sodium hypochlorite, will cause material damage. It is first and foremost a disinfectant before a whitener, so it has been explicitly designed to “kill and clean” rather than restore. For this reason, please don’t use it on your hair!

It is usually preferable to avoid solutions with potentially harmful chemicals, like bleach and ammonia. When you sleep on a freshly-washed bleach pillow, you could inhale the chemicals, which can be very dangerous to your and your family’s health. However, there is still light at the end of the tunnel.

Some people use bleach on their pillows and sleep to see another day. The “secret” lies in how often you wash your pillows. Generally speaking, pillows shouldn’t be washed more than two to three times a year; that means every four to six months. Bleach should not be a problem if you stick to these guidelines.

If you decide to use bleach, ensure that you do not use bleach on colored pillows. It will completely strip the color and ruin the décor. In addition, not all pillows can be machine washed. Check the small label on your pillow to ensure you won’t cause irreparable damage. Otherwise, you’ll have to purchase a new pillow.

After washing your pillow with a little bit of bleach, rewash it with a washing detergent that will be delicate on the pillow and “soften the blow” caused by bleach. It will also remove the most harmful toxins and make it safer. Give the pillow at least eight hours after the wash before you use it for sleeping. 

Furthermore, it is highly recommended not to use bleach on memory foam pillows. It is improbable that you will get anything out of memory foam once it has settled, which counts doubly for bleach. It will be seeping out for days afterward, damaging your bedding, sleepwear, and, quite possibly, your skin. Use caution!

What Can You Do To Help Prevent Yellow Pillows?

Yellow pillows result from sweating while sleeping, and dirt and natural oils from our skin and hair cause discoloration. You can combat yellow pillows by incorporating healthy habits, such as changing your pillowcases and bedding once a week. It will help to keep your pillows and your sheets clean.  

Pillow sprays containing essential oils are also excellent because they keep your pillows smelling tremendous and help fight mold accumulation and others inside the fibers. More specifically, pillow sprays that contain witch hazel – a flower that grows in North America, Japan, and China – have a lovely, sweet smell!

Before heading to bed, ensure that your face and hair are clean. A busy day often causes a build-up of dirt, grime, and sweat; all transferred onto your pillow when you sleep. Spend five minutes before bedtime and use a gentle face wash to rinse all the dirt and makeup off; you will find that you even sleep a little more comfortably! 

What Can You Use As An Alternative To Bleach?

If you’re in two minds about using bleach, know that other alternatives do exist. Vinegar works great for removing stains and smells, and it’s even more effective when coupled with washing detergent. 

Baking soda also works surprisingly well! Note that you’ll want to use baking soda before the wash. Mix the baking soda with a little water to create a paste, then apply to the most affected areas of your pillow. Afterward, spray some vinegar on top of the baking soda for an extra boost of stain removal and whitening. 

Oxi Clean is one of the most common cleaning agents for removing stains and whitening fibers. It is safe to use and works particularly well on pillows, and you can usually find them at your local supermarket. Spray a generous amount of OxiClean onto the pillow, cover the most affected areas, and wash it. 

Can Feather, Down, and Memory Foam Pillows Be Washed?

Feather and Down pillows are on the expensive side, so you must check their labels for cleaning instructions. Ensure that you do not air-dry feather pillows on a humid day but rather dry them at low humidity. 

Ensure that you use a washable pillow cover so the feathers remain clean and in one piece. Feather pillows can become a nightmare when wet because their effectiveness is reduced. Thus, avoid sleeping on them when they’re damp and when your hair is wet; instead, wait until they are dry before using them. 

Memory foam pillows are always tricky to wash. As with most things, prevention is better than cure. Use a pillow protector and spot clean your memory foam pillows regularly.

Do not soak or wash memory foam pillows because they are stubborn and retain all of their liquid. It makes it very hard to get it out, so the liquids tend to leak onto your bedding and sheets, causing a mess! 


Washing a pillow with bleach is certainly doable, but it’s up to you to weigh up the pros and cons and whether it is a worthwhile, long-term investment. Although it’s highly effective, it does cause some damage to the pillow, albeit it can be maintained by regulating how often you wash your pillows. 


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