How to Wash and Whiten Pillows


On my housekeeping adventures, I often wash pillows, but my latest job took me one step further. My goal was not just to clean the pillows, but to return them to their original white sheen. Over time, our pillows, pillowcases, and mattress protectors build up sweat and body oils, staining them yellow. I've tried many cleaning methods and I'm happy to share my thoughts with you. For more of my original homegrown efforts, check out this link.

Restore luster: whiten yellowed pillows and beyond

But before we get started, a word of caution. I have already washed and dried the pillows. However, as many of us know, drying often leads to stains. Realizing that, I knew I was challenging myself a bit. The pillows you see here are ours, and mine were originally a little white. Yellow spots can be hard to spot, but believe me, they are there. You will get a better view of it in the following pictures. Besides the pillows, I also washed my pillow cases, to see if the same cleaning procedure would work on them and maybe the mattress covers too.

Breathe new life into yellowing cushions:

My initial approach involved using 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide as a bleach replacement.

Renew yellowed pillows and more

I also added 1/2 cup of vinegar to the mixture. Vinegar is a powerful natural cleaner that not only removes stains, but also acts as a fabric softener.

Note to readers: The use of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar is mentioned in this article. It is safe to use them in series, but mixing them directly in the same container can lead to the formation of paraacetic acid. It is a corrosive acid that can damage the skin, eyes, nose, throat and lungs.

revitalizing yellow pillows and more

Then I poured in a quarter cup of lemon juice. Like vinegar, lemon juice has acidic properties that break down stains and leave behind a fresh lemon scent.

Revitalize yellowing pillows and more

Once the pillows are completely submerged in water, let them soak for 30 minutes. Flip it over to make sure it's soaked well on both sides, and let it sit for another 30 minutes.

After the first half hour I wasn't completely satisfied with the progress. Keeping in mind that my washer is quite large, I decided to add another cup of hydrogen peroxide. Everyone's machine sizes are different, so adjust quantities according to your needs. (In all, I used 2 cups hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup vinegar, and 1/4 cup lemon juice).

revitalizing yellowish pillows and more

Continue adding your favorite laundry detergent and run the standard wash cycle.

revitalizing yellowish pillows and more

After washing, check your pillows. If they reach the desired level of cleanliness (like mine), you can dry them. If not, you may need to repeat the process or explore another method described below.

I set the dryer on a low setting and it took about 30 minutes for the pillows to dry.

Right out of the dryer, the pillows were a feast for the eyes and I was very happy with the results.

revitalizing yellowish pillows and more

What other methods have you tried? (this is the safe color)

Let's move on to the next batch of pillows, which have also been pre-washed and dried. I soaked it in a mixture of 1 cup laundry detergent, 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup borax, and 1 cup castile soap. After a similar soaking and flipping process as before, I ran the wash cycle.

revitalizing yellowish pillows and more

The change was noticeable, but one pillow remained more yellow than I would have liked.

In conclusion, these methods provide great bleach-free alternatives for anyone who wants to avoid harsh chemicals. Works effectively on pillows, pillowcases, and mattress toppers.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post