How To Wash and Whiten Yellowed Pillows {Best of Jillee}

washing pillows


Welcome to Day Two of Best Of Jillee Week!

(See yesterday’s post for more information on Best Of Jillee Week!)

Let’s start things off with the really important stuff…the winner of yesterday’s $50 Lowe’s Giftcard is………………..

Karen Sheeley!!!

Congratulations Karen! I promised in yesterday’s post that I would give you more details today about the GRAND PRIZE that we will be giving away on SATURDAY! Unfortunately, the Lowe’s website was being temperamental today and I wasn’t able to grab any images for you. TOMORROW, I promise!  But trust me, it’s a great prize!! :-)

So let’s get started on Day Two of Best of Jillee Week! I’m excited to give this post another go-round because it was IMMENSELY popular the first time around. As a matter of fact, it is the “youngest” entry in the top seven posts of all time!


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This was originally posted just 4 months ago on February 22, 2013, and has had (as of today) 1,396,958+ pageviews; 643,000+ Pins on Pinterest; and 935 Facebook Likes!

At first I hesitated doing this post because it teeters precariously close to over-sharing…but the more research I did, and the more I asked around, I realized that pillows that become yellow over time is a pretty common thing!

One of the most common reasons why pillows can turn yellow is sweat. Even when you’re sleeping your body continues to sweat to keep your body at a comfortable temperature. Depending on the type of fabric your pillowcase is made from, sweat can seep through the fabric. As the sweat dries, it can leave a yellow stain on the pillow. Even if you use pillow COVERS underneath your pillow CASES, the yellowing can still occur.

In the past when the yellowing got really bad, I would simply toss the pillow and buy a new one. But I hated doing that because the pillow was still perfectly good. Recently I came across an old article from Martha Stewart Living that suggested pillows should be WASHED at least twice a year. Wow. I hope I’m not the ONLY one who didn’t know that! I have washed an occasional pillow in the past but usually because something was spilled on it.

After I read Martha’s suggestion I decided to take it to heart and set out on a mission to systematically wash all the pillows in the house, and since I was going to the trouble…I decided to address the YELLOWING issue at the same time. I decided to give them the “Miracle Laundry Whitening Solution” treatment. You can CLICK HERE to read all about it, but basically it involves the following ingredients:


washing pillows


  • HOT HOT HOT water
  • 1 cup of laundry detergent
  • 1 cup powdered dishwasher detergent
  • 1 cup bleach (you could try “A Natural Bleach Alternative if you are opposed to chlorine bleach)
  • 1/2 cup borax

Not only did the whole pillow-washing process turn out to be much easier than I anticipated, it worked like a CHARM!  

Just look at these “BEFORE” and “AFTER” pictures! It’s almost like my poor pillows were just WAITING for me to rescue them! ;-)


washing pillows


WASHING {and whitening} your pillows:

  • Check the care label to confirm that your pillow (down or synthetic) can be machine washed – most can be.
  • Remove the pillow case and any pillow protector
  • Fill the washing machine about 1/3 full with HOT water (I even added a couple of pans full of boiling water).
  • Add all the ingredients in the Miracle Laundry Whitening Solution (or, if you’re just looking to wash your pillows, add your detergent now) then start the machine and allow it to agitate for a few minutes to makes sure all the detergent dissolves before adding the pillows.


washing pillows

  • Once the detergent is dissolved, add the pillow(s), and then allow the washer to fiil the rest of the way with HOT water. I washed two pillows at a time, which helped balance the load when it came time for the spin cycle.


washing pillows

  • Agitate the pillows for several minutes, then turn the pillows OVER to allow the top side to get the full effect of agitating in the HOT water. Agitate for several minutes more.


washing pillows

  • Put your machine on the 2nd rinse cycle or just run it through twice manually.


DRYING your pillows:

  • For down and feathers, use the air cycle. For synthetics, use the low heat setting.


washing pillows

  • Place the pillow(s) in the dryer, add a couple of tennis balls covered in clean socks or a few Homemade Dryer Balls to help FLUFF the pillows as they tumble dry. (If it’s a nice day you could also set them outside in the sun to dry!)


washing pillows


Now isn’t that just about a thousand times better!?!? :-)  


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Enter to win a . . . . . . .


lowes gift card


Here’s How To Enter:

Leave a comment below telling us what YOUR best laundry tip or trick is!


1.  “Follow” One Good Thing By Jillee on Twitter and leave a comment saying you did so.

2.  “Follow” Lowe’s Home Improvement on Twitter and leave a comment saying you did so.

3.  Tweet the following statement about this giveaway: ” Enter to win a $50 Lowe’s Giftcard courtesy of @JillsGoodThings and @Lowes. Enter here: ”



Check back tomorrow for another chance to win a $50 Lowe’s Giftcard AND to qualify for the WASHER AND DRYER Grand Prize giveaway on Friday!



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  1. Megan says

    Tip # 1: don’t let the husband do the laundry! (Some exceptions;))

    #2 NEVER overfill. Might seem like you’re saving time and money, but eww! Those clothes will not be clean.

    #3 if you feel the need to always do a 2nd rinse you are using way too much detergent or not following #2.

    #4 Pretreat! Those grease stains will not just magically come out!


  2. Kelly says

    I love your solid laundry detergent with washing soda, baking soda, borax, fels naphtha, and oxy-clean. Works wonderfully! Sometimes I add the scenting crystals, sometimes not, but i always get a good clean!

  3. Talinda says

    I always always always wash my towels in hot water and add just a tiny bit (maybe 1/4 C) of bleach, in addition to my usual detergent, to my load of towels. They always come out clean and smelling wonderful!! Also, I followed Lowes Home Improvement and One Good Thing by Jillee on Twitter. I also retweeted the statement.

  4. Leslie says

    My favorite laundry tip is to try using less detergent than the directions indicate. If you don’t like the results, just go back to using more after the one wash. I believe that many of us use too much detergent and I now use half or less of what I used to pour in.

    I also love the Dawn recipe for detergent you posted and now that’s what I use.

  5. Kathryn K says

    Never use fabric softener when you wash towels or they won’t soak up as much moisture when you dry. Instead use white vinegar, which also helps get any extra suds out too.

  6. Terry Clark says

    My favorite laundry tip is to pretreat stains of all kinds with white vinegar and Dawn! Works on just about everything…even got mustard out of white cotton blouse!! I also use white vinegar in the rinse to soften and remove static. As someone else mentioned, it works great on towels, since fabric softener keeps them from being as absorbent. Also fabric softeners can interfere with the flame retardant in childrens sleepwear! I just tried washing my pillows last weekend using your treatment and was amazed by the results! They had been yellowed for years so I was not expecting them to come out so white! Love you Jillee!!!

    • Cathy W says

      I like the Dawn detergent too! Was using it as a spot remover for years, then along came Jillee with her great laundry soap! Every thing is clean and even the little vinegar I put in (God forbid I’m making my own when “there’s perfectly good soap to buy”) aka my husband… the one who doesn’t know I mixed up my own in an Arm and Hammer container!!! :D He’s happy, I’m saving $$$ so we’re all happy here!

  7. Deb says

    To remove old organic stains (baby spit-up, etc.) from cloth items, use lemon juice & salt (table salt will do but coarse salt works better.) Apply lemon juice to the stain & “scrub” with salt. Then set in the sun. Depending on the severity & age of the stain it might take more than one treatment.

    When I had my 2nd child (2 years after the first) I discovered that all the baby clothes I had carefully washed & put away in storage had yellow stains. I treated them with the lemon juice/salt/sun remedy and was thrilled when all the stains disappeared.

    I don’t “do” Twitter. But I follow Jillee’s posts on the blog, Facebook & via Email. I could really, REALLY use a Lowe’s Gift Card. :-)

  8. Bridget says

    My laundry tip for whites is to use the hottest water possible, and not overfill the drum. I use about 1/2 to 2/3 of a cup of bleach. Let the hot water agitate with the clothes for a bit, then stop the cycle and let things soak for about 20 mins. Turn the machine back on and let it finish the cycle as normal. I get the whitest whites this way. =)
    Following One Good Thing and Lowe’s on Twitter.

    Thank you!

  9. Robin says

    I keep both ammonia and hydrogen peroxide near the washer. If blood is in a garment, I treat it every time I pass by with some ammonia on a q-tip. Over time the blood is completely gone. Hydrogen peroxide has been really successful for me at getting makeup foundation stains out of while clothing.

  10. Donna Braamse says

    I really like to hang the bath towels and washcloths out to dry — love the smell and they seem more absorbent, too.

    Also, teach the kids to help fold and put away their clothes as soon as possible. With mine, we’ve noticed that if they realize how much work goes into it, they are less likely to just paw through their drawers and throw their clothes around the room. We still have to remind them to put their dirty clothes in the hamper, but the clean clothes aren’t on the floor anymore.

  11. Diana says

    My best laundry tip is using hydrogen peroxide. I use hydrogen peroxide on washable panty liners to remove all stains and keep them looking new. Just a few sprays with a squirt of hand soap and a light scrub. Then you can throw them Ina wet bag till laundry day. They come out stain free and new looking every time. :)

  12. Valerie Reum says

    I won’t admit to how often this happens, but I “occasionally” forget to switch my clothes from the washer into the dryer before I go to bed at night. When this happens, the clothes usually end up with a funky odor (please nobody tell me why this is because I truly believe that in this situation ignorance is bliss!). To combat the odor, I pour a bit of vinegar (maybe around a cup? I don’t actually measure) into the soap compartment and re-wash. Takes care of the odor problem every time! :-)

  13. Donna Ingalls says

    Best laundry tip is to clean my washing machine every 6 months. I follow the directions found on your blog using bleach and vinegar (not together!). My machine stays nice and clean.

      • Barbara says

        My towels always had a funky smell too until I switched from using fabric softner to putting straight white vinegar in an old Downy Ball (same amount as if fabric softner) with the wash. I also use her famous Dryer Balls. They make a great Bridal Shower gift! I have soft, clean smelling towels that absorb water far better. Plus, the added bonus is my dryer lint screen does not clog making lint removal clean, keeping screen cleaner and clothes dry much faster! The few times I forgot to throw the downy ball in the washer and had to throw in a fabric softner sheet, I could tell the difference right away on the lint screen. I could never go back to store bought fabric softners!


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