Friday, May 30, 2014

Have You Washed Your Pillows This Decade?

Have you ever washed your pillows before? Not your pillowcases, the actual pillows? Apparently you're supposed to wash them 2-4 times a year but I can't say I've ever met someone who has done this (or least no one who has admitted to doing it). I noticed our pillows were getting a bit yellow (purchased from IKEA a 1-2 years ago) so I figured I'd try this method from OneGoodThingByJillee and see how well it works.

Here's what you'll need per wash (note: you'll probably want to double this and wash them twice):

* 2 yellowed pillows (so the load will be even in the machine)
* 1 cup of laundry detergent
* 1 cup of powdered dishwasher detergent
* 1 cup of bleach
* 1/2 cup of borax
* 3 tennis balls in socks or dryer balls like Woolzies (tennis balls are cheaper!)

Start by filling your washing machine with a 1/3 of hot water (or the "Whites" load, depending on what kind of machine you use). Next, add your laundry and dishwasher detergent, bleach, and borax. 
Fill the machine another 1/3 of the way with hot water before adding your pillows, to ensure the detergents/borax have completely dissolved.


Add your pillows on either side of the machine and let it fill the rest of the way. Once they've been agitated for a few minutes, the original post recommends flipping the pillows over but the water is really freakin' hot so if you do decide to do it, be careful! 

You can either run the washing machine twice or have it set to do a 2nd rinse cycle (again, depends on what kind of machine you're using).

Before washing
After washing

While the pillows are washing, prepare your dryer balls. Just stick a tennis ball inside a clean sock, tie the end, and you're done!


Note: if you do not hide these from your cat, they will think these sock balls are toys and will give you the death stare if you try to take them away. You have been warned.

"Don't even think about it, bub."
Once the washer is done, throw the pillows in the dryer with what dryer balls you were able to steal from your furry roommate. The original post recommends using the air cycle if you have down or feather pillows and the low heat setting for synthetics.


Well, I'm not rich and I don't have a fancy dryer, so I just set it to the "Whites" dry, which I didn't realize until after the fact means high heat (both are down pillows). It didn't matter, though, because after an hour on high, they were still damp! 

So after waiting a day, I tried this all over again. They were still a bit yellow so I crossed my fingers the second wash would make them white-ish again!


 Here's a before of some stains...


And here's the after... not great, but better than before!


I also decided to have these dry for 2 hours instead of 1 and while they weren't nearly as wet as the day before, they were still a little damp so I had no choice but to set them out to dry.


This certainly isn't a miracle solution but it's better than nothing. Go to your bedroom right now, take off those pillowcases, and give your pillows a long, hard stare. If they're starting to turn yellow, throw them in the washer right now. If it has been years... well... you might be better off buying new pillows altogether.

TOTAL COSTS: About $20
$5.49 laundry detergent from Vons
$2.99 for powdered dishwasher detergent from Vons
$2.29 bleach from Vons
$5.46 for 20 Mule Team Borax on Amazon (realized it was cheaper in the store after I bought it online! Note this is for about 5 pounds worth and you're only using 1-2 cups)
$2.99 for 3 tennis balls from Walgreens

TOTAL AMOUNT OF TIME: 4 hours
1 hour for 2 washes (30 minutes per wash)
3 hours for 2 dries (1 hour on Day 1, 2 hours on Day 2)

EASY-PEASY SCALE (1 super easy-5 very difficult): 2 out of 5
It's not difficult to do a load of laundry but it is cumbersome to carry all the boxes (the detergents, bleach, and borax) down to the laundry room. However, I do NOT recommend putting all the ingredients in a plastic bag for easy transport. Why? The bleach will harden the detergents and borax and will make it more difficult to dissolve in the washer (and it won't all come out of the bag). I know, it'll suck carrying all of those boxes to the washer, especially if you don't have a unit in your home. If you must, put everything in a plastic bag except the bleach and that will help. This is not a foolproof solution to getting white pillows but at least it'll be better than what you had before!

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