Your pillow makes contact with your face for six to eight hours each night, so you should hold it to a higher standard of hygiene than most household items. Changing your pillowcases once a week may not be cutting it. Even with a layer of protection, the pillow itself can get yellowed over time. If visions of the horribly discolored cushion beneath your head have been keeping you up at night, it’s time to give your pillow a deep clean.

According to Lifehacker, yellow streaks on once-white pillows are more common than we’d like to believe. As we sleep, bodily fluids—like sweat, hair oils, and drool—seep through our cases and into pillows. Your evening skincare routine is another likely culprit. When you slather your face with lotion before going to bed, some of that product is likely to rub off on your pillow. Gradually, all of these substances accumulate and dry to form unsightly stains.

Unfortunately, a piece of fabric is the only thing separating your face from a year’s worth of old sweat. The good news is that washing out the built-up gunk is fairly easy to do. Start by checking the tag on your pillow for cleaning instructions. If the tag says to toss the pillow in the machine, add half a cup of bleach and half a cup of borax along with your regular detergent. This will help remove any stubborn discoloration. Continue washing and drying the item per the tag’s specifications. For pillows that require spot washing, try tackling stains with a baking soda solution or commercial stain-removal products.

Even if your pillow looks as clean as it did the day you bought it, you should still be washing it at least a few times a year. Hair, fluids, and dead skin cells all make their way into the material whether you can see them or not. The same goes for the mattress you sleep on every night, but this cleaning job isn’t as simple as turning on your washing machine. Here are some tips for cleaning your mattress safely.

How to Clean Yellow Pillows

If your pillows aren’t too yellow, you should be able to wash the stains out! So, how do you clean soiled pillows? Check the care labels on your pillow first. Certain pillows may be washed in a washing machine. If this is the case, we recommend saturating the yellow areas with stain remover spray and letting the pillow lie for a few hours before washing it. If you want, you can use baking soda combined with a little water.

After that, throw your pillow in the washing machine. The care marking will indicate whether you should use hot or cold water. When cleaning your pillows, use a mild cycle.
If your pillows are yellow and don’t have particular stains, mix your detergent with 120ml of bleach or borax before washing. It may aid in the whitening of your machine-washable pillows. To whiten pillows, use your detergent with white vinegar.
After that, double-check the care tag. Most machine-washable pillows may be dried on low heat in the dryer. We recommend putting a few tennis balls in the dryer to help your pillows fluff up as they dry.

If your pillows are not machine washable (for example, memory foam pillows), the best thing to do is spot-treat the most stubborn stains. Use a moderate washing detergent, your chosen stain remover, and a moist towel to massage out the spots. Allow the pillow to air dry before replacing it on your bed.


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