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Yellow Pillows? Here’s The Secret To Making Them Look Like New

To whiten yellow pillows you need a combination of cleaning and bleaching ingredients, a washing machine, and hot water.
Yes, you can clean and whiten yellowed pillows in your washing machine!

How To Clean And Whiten Yellowed Pillows

In my experience, if you want to whiten dingy pillows, it’s not enough to wash yellow pillows in your washing machine with your usual detergent. I discovered this firsthand a long time ago, but I was unwilling to admit defeat, and kept trying to figure out how to whiten yellow pillows until I found a method that worked!

I’ll share that method with you in this post, so you’ll know how to clean yellow pillows and restore them to a whiter, brighter state. It isn’t that difficult to do, but it does require a combination of cleaning agents to break down those stubborn yellow stains.

To clean yellow pillows, you’ll add a cup of powdered laundry detergent, a cup of powdered dishwasher detergent, a cup of bleach (or bleach alternative) and half of a cup of borax to a washing machine or bathtub full of very hot water. After soaking the pillows for at least an hour, you’ll wash and dry the pillows as usual.

Related: The One Thing You Need To Do Before Switching To Lighter Bedding

This is one of my most popular blog posts, so I’m far from the only one who’s enthusiastic about this laundry hack! Read on for the complete step-by-step tutorial!

Why Do Pillows Turn Yellow?

Wondering why pillows turn yellow in the first place? That dingy yellow hue that bed pillows tend to develop over time is caused by the moisture they absorb while you sleep, including sweat, saliva, natural oils from your hair and skin, and even skin and hair product residues. It’s perfectly normal for pillows to turn yellow (if a bit gross), but I’m also glad there’s an easy way to restore them to cleaner state!

Here’s how it’s done.

To whiten yellowed pillows you'll need borax, Cascade powdered dishwasher detergent, liquid chlorine bleach, and powdered laundry detergent.
These ingredients each contribute their own magic to clean yellowed pillows.

How To Wash Yellow Pillows

You’ll need:

Related: 31 Surprisingly Brilliant Ways to Use Borax

Directions:

First, check the tag to make sure you can machine wash your pillow. (You can put most feather pillows, down pillows, and synthetic pillows in your washer, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!)

Remove the pillow case and pillow protector, if present.

Soaking the yellow pillows in very hot water with all the cleaning ingredients is the first step to getting yellow pillows white again.
Whitening yellowed pillows in the washing machine hardly takes any effort, and it gets stains out like magic.

Step 1 – Soak In Hot Water

The first step in the cleaning process is to soak your yellow pillow in hot water to give the cleaning agents a head start on dissolving those tough stains. (If you have a top-loading washing machine, you can do the soak right in your washer. For those with front-loading washers, or if your top-loader doesn’t have a soak function, you can do the soak in a separate container or your bathtub.)

Related: How to Clean Your Top-Loading Washing Machine (Effortlessly)

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil on your stovetop. Stir the laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and borax into the boiling water, and stir until the powdered ingredients dissolve. (You could also pour the water into a bucket and then add the dry ingredients if you don’t want to mix cleaning ingredients inside a cooking pot.)

Once the powders have dissolved into the water, pour the water into your washer (or whatever you’re using to soak the pillows in), then add the bleach. Then let the pillows soak in the solution for at least 30 minutes (an hour or more is even better), flipping the pillows over about half-way through the soak time to make sure that they’re getting saturated on both sides.

Related: Get Your Front-Loading Washing Machine Sparkling Clean (and Germ Free!)

Before you begin washing your pillows in the washing machine, put the cleaning agents in the machine with hot water and soak the yellow pillows.
Soak the yellowed pillows in the washing machine for at least an hour before starting the wash cycle.

Step 2 – Wash

Following the soak, wash the pillows in your washing machine on a normal hot water cycle. (Add an extra rinse, if your washer gives you the option.)

Once you've got your yellow pillows clean and white, dry them in the dryer with dryer balls to keep them fluffy.
Using dryer balls will help keep the fluffiness in your beautiful whitened pillows.

Step 3 – Dry

Finally, all that’s left to do is dry your pillows. A lot of people ask if you can dry pillows in the dryer, and most of the time, the answer is yes.

Down pillows should be dried on the “fluff” or “air” setting, while synthetic pillows can be dried on low heat. Add a couple of tennis balls or wool dryer balls to the dryer to help fluff the pillows as they dry.

Related: The One Extremely Simple Thing You Need To Do To Your Pillow

A combination of things like body oil and sweat turn your pillows yellow, but this method cleans yellow pillows and makes them look like new.
Look at the difference between this pillow before – yellowed and stained – and after. It looks like new!

This “before and after” features a pillow that our Production Manager Brittany offered up as a test subject. As you can see, this method made a profound difference in the color and appearance of her pillow (and the difference was even more dramatic in person!)

FAQs About Whitening Yellow Pillows

Does this work for memory foam pillows?

Generally speaking yes, but be sure to check the tag. Keep in mind that memory foam will take much longer to dry, so be sure to give it plenty of time in the dryer on a low heat setting. If you want to dry it outside, make sure there is a nice breeze to provide plenty of opportunity for all that dense memory foam to air out.

Does this work for down feather pillows?

Definitely. Follow the same advice above for your down feather pillows—plenty of drying time on low heat. It’s best to put them in your dryer with a few dryer balls to help prevent the feathers from clumping as they dry. (Believe me, you don’t want to end up with a pillow full of hot, soggy clumps of feathers.

Have you ever tried washing stained or yellow pillows?

How to wash yellow pillows in the washing machine.

How To Whiten Yellow Pillows (Step by Step)

Jill Nystul
Sweat, natural oils, and other forms of moisture can turn your pillows yellow over time. Lucky for us, there's a simple and effective way to clean and whiten pillows!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 15 minutes
Soak Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Cost $15
Yield 2 very white pillows!

Equipment

  • Washing Machine
  • Measuring Cup

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil on your stovetop. Stir the laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and borax into the boiling water, and stir until the powdered ingredients dissolve. (You could also pour the water into a bucket and then add the dry ingredients, if you don’t want to mix cleaning ingredients inside a cooking pot.)
    Wash & Whiten Yellowed Pillows
  • When the dry ingredients have dissolved into the water, pour the water into the washer (or wherever you’re soaking your pillows) along with the bleach. Then let the pillows soak in the water for about 30 minutes. You should also flip the pillows over about half-way through the soak, to make sure that they’re getting fully saturated.
    Wash & Whiten Yellowed Pillows
  • Following the soak, run the pillows through a full wash cycle in your washing machine. Select the 2nd rinse option, if possible.
    Wash & Whiten Yellowed Pillows
  • If you have down pillows, put them into your dryer on the “fluff” or “air” setting. Synthetic pillows can be dried on low heat. Add a couple of tennis balls or homemade dryer balls to the dryer to help fluff the pillows as they dry.
    Wash & Whiten Yellowed Pillows

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Homekeeping Tips

  • When I moved in with BF, all his pillows were brown! A round in the washer with a cup of bleach and they were good as new. He was amazed! Nobody ever taught him to wash pillows. Of concern now I wash them monthly so they don’t get dirty like that anymore.

  • Hi Jilliee, I am thrilled I found your website. I was wondering if the recipe for the yellow pillows can be used for sheets and using your bleach alternative. Thank you

  • Hi there. I saved this post as a bookmark last year and yet I’m just now trying it out. However, I used Cascade Complete dishwasher detergent gel because I don’t have the dish powder. But I have a concern. I haven’t added any bleach yet, but I’m reluctant to because I just saw the warning statement on the back of the Cascade jug that includes “Contains enzymes. Do not mix with bleach containing products due to incompatibility.” I wish it was more specific as to what “incompatibility” suggests. Like if that means it’s just less thorough or effective, or is it a chemical clash that is harmful? Because those are two very different things! Lol

    Since I already have everything else mixed in, I’m thinking maybe I will just skip the bleach for the first cycle in the wash, and then maybe add bleach for a second cycle before drying. What are your thoughts? And if I do a separate wash cycle for the bleach part, should I add some laundry detergent to that cycle to give the bleach something to mix into and distribute more evenly?

  • Nice to read your blog, I also write blogs for people, Let me explain the correct process for which www Firstly check your pillow’s label to see if there are any specific cleaning instructions recommended. In general, most types of pillows are machine washable and can be washed using a cool, gentle setting. This goes for those filled with cotton, polyester, down, and feathers.

  • Okay, very important first step is missing here.

    You NEED to make sure you deflate your pillows as much as possible, and put them into the washing machine filling up with water. Do not add after, otherwise your pillows will float to the top and will not sink into the mixture, and you’ll be left trying to shove the pillows down into a boiling bleach water.

  • Actually, a front-loader washing machine has a seal that a top-loader doesn’t have. In a front-loader, place the first pillow at the bottom, so it fits snuggly when it begins to spin back and forth, and either push to lower the back or slightly raise the front of the pillow so the liquid will not come our of the machine when you pour it on the pillow. Then, carefully and slowly without any splashing, pour the hot mixture in the middle or rear of the pillow. I used a handled pan that fit through the door without splashing anything. Then place the second pillow along the top of the washer. Between the pillows, I add my makeup soiled wash clothes and an old t-shirt that needed bleached too. Just don’t add anything greasy, as grease may become trapped in your pillows and then spoil. Everything that I add with the pillows are pretreated or prewashed and rinsed well, unless they were soaked in bleach. The, I close the door, begin filling with hot water. The wash cycle will begin rolling the washer drum back and forth. I set a timer for it to wash about 5 minutes, so the mixture is completely saturated the pillows. Then turn off the washer for the pillows to soak for 30 minutes. Then restart the washer and turn on the extra rinse. There is no need to flip clothes or pillows in a front-loader washing machine, because of how the machine works.

    If you come into any contact with the bleach or mixture – rinse with cool water thoroughly and completely.
    If you splash any bleach or chemicals into your eyes – Get into the shower and hold the lids of your affected eye or eyes open. – FROM: The Mayo Clinic.

    Then call the poison control center immediately.

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-eye-emergency/basics/art-20056647

  • Just be very careful when you add anything to Bleach as a chemical reaction can happen with some chemicals and the fumes are dangerous esp if you have any C.O.P.D. symptoms.

  • This a great idea & yes I did try it & it worked beautifully, thank you. I just wanted to mention that on your before & after pictures where you mentioned about the homemade dryer balls, these labels are in correct. The before label is on the white already cleaned pillows & the after label is on the yellow pillows just thought I mention it, it’s an honest mistake. Thank you, keep up the great ideas.

  • I use another method, with even better results. Try soaking the pillows in a large plastic bin, in a solution of the hottest water you can get from your bathtub spout and two scoops of OxiClean. The Hydrogen peroxide in the OxiClean will take care of the human oils that are staining the pillows (and also causing that sour smell) without compromising the fiber of the pillowcases as any solution of bleach will do.

    • Not directly in the washer? I’m just imagining trying to lift and squeeze out pillows weighed down by all that water, and then carry them downstairs to the washer to finish the cycle of rinse and spin…

      • So true, Michelle, so why not take the easy way out. Whether it is an old stained pillow or a brand new pillow, just order those pillow covers that are sold in catalogues, such as Make Life Easier or Signatures. The pillow covers come in the standard, queen and king sizes. The standard pillow cover is $7.00, I bought six of them to cover the pillows in our room, the guest room and the pillows for a pull-out couch that we have in our family room. My washer is small as there are just the two of us at home, now, thus washing pillows would take way too much time and put too much strain on the washing machine. Then, to dry them would take as much electricity for my dryer to dry them that I could light up the entire city of New Your. Nope, no washing pillows for me, I just cover them and when the cover is soiled with perspiration, I remove them, wash them and throw them in the dryer.

  • This is a great idea . Now I know that I can save my yellowed pillows. Especially about the dryee wool balls and what it can do .

    I have a question. My daughter left the stove on and ruined our range hood which has to be replaced. She wiped the walls with black soot with a wet paper towel which did not helped. We do not have a dry sponge avaikable. I read that Mr Clean Magic Eraser works. The walls had just been recently painted white. My landlord will be very unhappy if he finds out. I would like to clean the damage before this happens. Thank you for your help.

    • If used consistently it may damage the elastic in items such as underwear. I use Oxy-Clean, Clorox Stain Remover, Biz, and Tide to get my whites really white. Also, Persil does whiten better than Tide.

      • I use nonchlorine bleach, such as found in most supermarkets. It works well on all our white and colored items.

      • Try a chlorine free bleach which uses hydrogen peroxide. Check out your supermarket and they have several that are on the market and they whiten whites very well. I have never tried Persil and will check to see if it is hypoallergenic, as I have sensitive, dry skin.

  • Careful if you have an old washer – ours tore up one pillow! It’s a stacking top-loading Maytag from 1998. Next time I’ll try the soak and then hit the laundromat. Pillows are nice and clean though.

  • Incredible! I only had a bit of liquid Tide free and clear, bleach for unbleachables, a pod of Seventh Generation natural unscented dishwasher detergent and the borax. I do wish that I had taken a picture before! A very new pillow very badly stained from night sweats from a medication change. I was going to toss it and remembered reading your post so did a search for it. THANK YOU Jillee!

    • I use bleach as needed (2 – 3 loads per week), in the sinks, and to clean bath and kitchen and it has not negatively affected my septic system. A commercial laundry would have greater impact. I have two 750 gal septic tanks (overkill) though and there are only two of us in the house. I think you will find that many folks have discovered that bleach is not so much the terrible no-no it once was considered. One of the reasons, chemistry-wise is that every time the chlorine comes into contact with organic matter, the chlorine is neutralized and turned into other chemical compounds, trihalomethanes, many of which easily dissipate into the air. So by the time the diluted bleach mixes with the goo in the tank and certainly before it goes into the field lines,l it is quickly nuetralized. Still, do your own research. Many people heard it was bad for so long, they just stick to that.

      • I called our septic guy who handles thousands of them. He said not a problem unless I was going to put a gallon down in. He said it would be so diluted that it would have no effect.

      • I agree…I’ve never had anything but a septic tank. This one load would be diluted by showers, dishwashing, and flushing over a significant period of time . I’ve never had anyone caution me against using bleach.

      • The average tank is 1000 gals and needs to be over 3/4 full to run out the baffles so that is how much water you’re putting that 1 cup of bleach in. If it still concerns you i’d use the Opticlean.

      • I’d be more worried about wrecking the washing machine…..I think I’ll just recover mine!

      • Jillee, many of your ideas are great, but not this one regarding washing pillows and drying pillows.
        Please, just tell your readers to purchase pillow covers. You slip the pillow into the cover and zip it up.
        That way they will not damage their washing machines to wash their pillows, or burn up fossil fuel using gas or electricity running their dryer for such a long time to dry the pillows.

    • Front loading washers have been engineered so water does not leak out. I’ve had mine for 20 years and soak things all the time. I set the timer for 10 minute intervals for swishing purposes. Front load owners don’t have to beware . . . go for it! Thanks for the suggestions. I’m always looking for new methods for my husband’s very old pillow, which he refuses to throw out.

      • If I put any liquid in my front loader and start a cycle, the washer thinks it is water left from a previous cycle and will pump it out before filling. My washer has an “extra sanitary” feature for this sort of item. I use my regular detergent, 1/8 cup Oxyclean liquid, two TBS. of Dawn BLUE dish detergent, 1/2 cup Borax (Borateem or other brand), 1/4 cup or less of bleach. That cycle takes over 2 hours. The borax, which is in dishwasher powder BTW, is the key to getting stains out. Works great even with colors. The Dawn gets out the oily yellow head “grease”. I have to wash one family member’s sheets this way. They sued to have a trace of smell left after even two washings. The Dawn and borax made the difference.

      • Buy your husband a pillow cover, Signatures and Make Life Easier Catalogues carry pillow covers. They are $7.00 per regular size pillows, $9.00 for a king size pillow. If you research On-Line you can order one of the two catalogues.

    • I would just put the pillows and detergent(s) in, wait for the water to fill, let it go around a couple of times and then pause the washer, wait for ten minutes, start the washer again for a couple of rounds, 10 minute pause and one more time. Then let the machine proceed to the end of the cycle.

    • No, you are hardly “thick,” Heather, you are very wise not to try to wash pillows. It is a waste of time plus being very hard on any washing machine, whether it is a top loading machine, or a front loading machine. Add to that the electricity or gas that is used to dry a pillow or pillows, especially if there is more than one person in your home. We should strive to be more energy efficient when we can.

  • Bleach on a pillow amd breath that residue in nightly along with cascade DW powder???!!!
    no way. Toxins. Toxins. Toxins.
    This suggestion is so terrible it warranted a comment.

    Breath these chemicals in nightly and I bet you will have more issues than you can ready.

    • If you have chemical sensitivity issues you could rinse them again using hot water with vinegar and dry in the sun all day.
      Or better yet, run them through another whole hot wash using just vinegar instead of adding soap and they’ll get double rinsed.
      Of course, of you are very sensitive, you’d rather have slighty yellowed pillows and just wash in the ‘fragerance free’ laundry detergent and still probably double rinse! Either way, its better than buying a new pillow as they are fill of chemical residues from production.

    • Most recipes for whitening formulas do say to run through a second rinse & spin, or usually just do a full wash & rinse with water only. I think this will take care of any residue in the covers. Next time I try pillows & I will probably do this with them too.

      If you have had sensitivities to other cleaners, I would probably do better to stick with simple detergents, but all types have many ingredients listed that only chemists could interpret. I cannot use Ajax dishwashing liquid or Dial soap with out an itchy skin reaction, but millions of people use them with no problem.

    • There are no toxins if the stuff gets rinsed out. I have a water softener though and everything rinses clean with no smelly residue left. We are a fragrance free household, so I wouldn’t tolerate strong chemical smells.

    • Eliza, it is good to make people aware of the use of toxins in general (and not only toxic for humans, as the replies here suggest). But it is better to be precize.
      I do not know exactly how bad Chlorine bleach etc is, but eg you cannot use it if you use natural enzymes in your water system.
      As for Borax, just googling ‘Borax Toxic’ gives a very confusing collection of + and – suggestions ;-) Looks a bit weird below without the lay out. So indeed, carefully reading the links below should give a hint of how to CONSCIOUSLY use all these chemicals. And use neutral stuff if possible.

      Getting to the Bottom of Borax: Is it Safe or Not? | Crunchy Betty
      https://crunchybetty.com › Blog › Crunchy Home
      Dec 4, 2017 – Borax is acutely toxic in the same manner that salt is (in rats, it’s 4500-5000 mg/kg of body weight, which is A LOT). Ingested in moderate …

      Borax – Wikipedia
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borax
      Jump to Toxicity – All restrictions were removed in February 1986 due to the low toxicity of borax, as reported in two EPA documents relating to boric acid …

      Is Borax Toxic? | Small Footprint Family
      https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/is-borax-toxic
      Many people are concerned about whether borax is a safe chemical. There are many sites on the internet claiming it is toxic. I disagree with these sites and …

      Is Borax Safe for Natural Cleaning? | Wellness Mama
      https://wellnessmama.com › Natural Home
      Mar 10, 2018 – Sodium Borate. Both are used as natural pesticides, which is probably the reason for the misconception, but boric acid carries a risk for toxicity … etc etc

      • Here in the US they sell a chlorine-free bleach that uses Hydrogen Peroxide, I use this chlorine free bleach when ever bleach is needed. I, too, dislike the smell of chlorine bleach.

  • This worked well–in the end. BUT I think one might add that it helps a lot to squish the air out of pillows FIRST. I had a dreadful job submerging my pillows in the very hot water; they kept rising out of the brew like gassy belugas…. a nightmare that left me with bruises after fighting them down. Also they caused the washer to bump and bang during the spin cycle and I had to rearrange and disentangle them every two minutes. White and fresh results were a reward, I must say. Thanks for the recipe, which works a treat on yellowed laundry too.

  • Many newer washers have a recommendation to only use HE labeled liquid soap. How do we revise your formula to factor that into the mixture?

    • You still use your HE liquid soap. It is recommended you only use that KIND of soap to keep the amount of bubbles down. That doesn’t mean it’s the only thing you can add to get your clothes clean. I see how that could confuse people.

      I add Oxclean liquid, borax, bleach, Dawn Blue dish detergentto a load of yellowed/greasy/smelly laundry and “cook” on the sanitary cycle. I do push the “extra dirty” and the “extra rinse” buttons.

  • This is one of my pet peeves. Pillows! Years ago I started tossing out pillows every Fall and spring. We spend at least 8 hours a day breathing into a pillow. Think of what seeps into a pillow at night besides hair oil. We wash down everything in the house to reduce the amount gems and forget the pillows. I have reduced the Colds in our house to almost none. And the Flu, no one has had that in years. I use to wash them but they were lumpy and not the same. You’d find a great pillow wash it and boom it’s ruined because it’s lumpy.

    Well Thank you Jillee. The tennis balls tied up in old socks does the trick. No more Lumps. Your ideas give our pillows that fresh new look. Great Ideas.

  • This worked great! My husband’s pillow and pillowcases were saturated with hair wax. I’ve tried washing in hot water, but it did nothing. They still had that waxy feel. When I was done with this process, I couldn’t tell which pillowcases were the waxy ones! Plus, they smelled sooooo clean and fresh! I have a top loading washer. I only washed one pillow and filled the other side with two queen size sheets and four pillowcases to balance out the load. I had to babysit the spin cycles to make sure everything stayed balanced. It was a process, but well worth the time. I will definitely use this as my go to for washing pillows and cases! Thank you Jillee!

  • I washed two pillows in my fairly new Kenmore washer. The one pillo jammed between wall and spinner of washer. I had a hard time getting it out of washer. The other one ripped and the stuffing was all over. I was sure my washer was damaged but it was o.k. Thank goodness. The one pillow came out clean.

    I was my queen size comforter with out problems. Twice a year. I don’t know if I’ll try pillows again maybe the laundry mat would be a better option.

      • Sometimes ONE PILLOW at a time is fine/better. You can put other items in the washer with the pillow, i.e., bedding/sheets, perhaps a twin size blanket, or even towels — they can be cleaned, too. But BLEACH is not a good idea for everything … even pillows. That’s my take on it. Also, every couple weeks just toss your pillows without the cases in the dryer. 20 minutes in the dryer can kill dust mites, etc. Will help freshen your pillows. Since they aren’t wet, your dryer will be adequate to do the job it’s meant to do.

  • Can you do this with feather and down pillows? I have a really expensive one that has yellow stains,and would love to try it if you think it’d be ok?
    Thanks,Ann

  • I’m going to have to do this one of these days. I’m glad to know you can use the liquid detergent. I’m not crazy about that type of laundry detergent and would rather not have to buy it just for that. Besides the liquid tends to work better for me. Maybe its just the water where I live.

  • I forgot to mention that I soak every load, even the down pillows, for at least a half hour. I start the water, add the soap and vinegar right into the drum (not the dispenser), then add the clothes. I no longer use fabric softener, either, just the vinegar in the dispenser.

    I’m positive it’s the vinegar that helps get everything so clean and odor-free. Vinegar and baking soda even remove pet stains and the odor.

  • I finally got around to washing our down pillows just the other day! Every time I changed the sheets and pillowcases, I was creeped out by the body oils and mites that I knew had set up housekeeping inside. So gross.

    I’ve been using the homemade powder laundry detergent for several years but noticed after about six months that our clothes were getting dingy. Now I add a quarter cup of white vinegar to every load and another quarter cup in the fabric softener dispenser. I also reverted back to adding commercial detergent- every load gets a pod of All Free and Clear and a one-ounce scoop of homemade powder. I couldn’t help it; we live on a farm and our clothes showed it. Now they come out sparkling clean every time.

    Back to the pillows: I washed them the same way. I dried them on the fluff cycle first, and then on low heat to finish. I always have six wool dryer balls in the dryer, which help dry everything quicker. I added a few drops of lavender essential oil to one or two of the balls. The pillows came out unbelievably clean, lofty and white, with just a subtle hint of lavender.

    Jillee, I love your blog and have learned so much from you. Thanks for proving an old dog (63) can learn new tricks! But I just can’t bring myself to use bleach anymore. White vinegar seems to work just as well to remove stains and odors.

  • With respect, there is really no need to use so much bleach. An ounce or two should get the same result without such a hit to the environment. Chlorine is a poison that we should try diligently to use as sparingly as possible

  • I tried this and did not work very well unfortunately. Maybe my pillows are too far gone. For front load washer you must soak seperately first.

  • Jill – Would this same process apply to down comforters? I’ve always been afraid to wash ours and have sent it to the cleaners, but they don’t get it as white as I would like. Thank you!

    • I wash my down comforter all the time. A really great way to whiten it is to spread it out in the sun. I spread out my patio chairs and drape the comforter over them. Flip it over half way through drying time. The sun is a great natural whitener. Just make sure it is dry. Down can get moldy. I do a final dry in the dryer just to make sure.

  • I would love to try this out on some down/feather pillows that have seen better days on the outside, but they are otherwise in great shape. My only concern is using the powdered detergent and cascade. I have septic and was told not to use powdered detergents to protect the septic system. Since these items come in liquid form can I use them instead?

    • I am also on a septic system and would love an answer to this! Trying my best to be careful while still learning what products are septic safe.

      • Christine & Cindy,

        I have always washed my pillows (synthetic and down) about twice a year. I am speaking from 50 years of laundering experience. I’m a cold water launderer and have used liquid soap almost since it came out. I come from a farming upbringing and for the last eight years I am again on a septic system. So in answer to your queries, yes you can use liquid soap to achieve white pillows so no worries about the septic tank. Just keep in mind to use enough soap to break down the body oils that create the yellowing. Just like in the kitchen, an oily surface needs more soap to clean it than a non-oily surface. I don’t use bleach but if your pillows haven’t been washed in years, I would recommend it to give the soap a helping hand with the discolouration.

  • I’m very excited to try this!! But I’m sorry – there’s one step I’m not sure I understand – first you soak your pillows in hot water in the washing machine. Then you make the mixture and add that to the machine as well? Or are you making the mixture and pouring it over the pillows in the machine? Thank you!!

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