Latex pillows are, in my humble opinion, the best type of pillow in the world. Supportive, long lasting, squishy, and (supposedly) protective against dust mite allergens, what’s not to love?
However, their cotton covers get filthy. So this morning, I washed them. They’ve never been washed before, and to be honest I wasn’t sure it was possible to really wash the covers without wrecking them – mine are so old that the care instructions have worn away! It turns out that they can be cleaned, and easily, but if the process intimidates you, here’s a walkthrough.
- Take off any jewelry that could snag, put on some clothes you don’t mind getting wee bits of foam all over, and wash your hands. The pillow form itself is easily torn, and we don’t want it to get dirty either.
- Spread a clean, old sheet out on the floor. You’re going to open the pillows up over this, and lay the naked pillows on it while the covers are washing. It will also collect most of the loose foam mess from inside the pillows. For heavens sake, don’t put them on your bed like I did – even vacuuming won’t get all the tiny shreds of foam off! I had to go over my whole mattress with a lint roller.
- Carefully worm each pillow out of its cover. If they’ve been in heavy use for a while, the pillows will probably have some pock marks and there will be lots of small chunks of loose foam in the cover. The sheet on the floor should catch it all.
- If there is a lot of loose foam, turn each cover inside out and brush out as much as you can. Then turn the cover right side out again.
- Take the covers outside, turn them inside out again and shake them out vigorously. You don’t want little shreds of latex foam infesting your washing machine.
- Launder the covers. If you lack care instructions like I did, my covers took two warm washes (one with 1/2 cup chlorine bleach), and a hot dryer without damage or discernible shrinkage. I put mine through two large washes because they were simply filthy.
- Now that they’re clean and dry, inspect them for wear. Mine are starting to wear thin on the bottom corners, so I took measurements for future reference. There’s no reason I can’t just make new cotton covers for the latex forms to extend their useful life. Latex pillows aren’t exactly cheap.
- Time to put them back on the pillows! Fold down a cover till it’s only about 6″ deep. Brush any loose foam off a pillow form and gently work it into the bottom of the cover. Once it’s in, carefully fold the cover up the length of the pillow and zip it closed.
- Gather the bits of torn foam to the center of your sheet, and use it to empty them into the trash can. Take the sheet outside and shake it out well.
All done! The instructions are detailed, but it really doesn’t take that long. Took me about 2 hours, including the two washes and the dry time.
I’m not sure how often I’d want to do this though. They were really dirty and needed the wash, but washing them regularly would be inconvenient and too much handling could damage the foam. I think I’ll get some pillow protectors instead and see whether the pillow covers need washing again during next year’s spring cleaning.