Effective method to clean pillows without a washing machine

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Laundry experts recommend deep cleaning pillows about three times a year, but many households don’t know how to go about cleaning them. Some pillows cannot be put in the washing machine, others leave the drum lumpy. Here’s an easy way to strip pillows of their dirt. 

Before cleaning pillows, it is advisable to check the label to make sure they aren’t dry-clean only. 

If you’re planning on cleaning several pillows and your washing machine drum isn’t big enough, consider using the bathtub. 

And for down or feather-filled pillows, it is best to wash them by hand. 

Erika Dison, aka Pampered Momma on TikTok and Instagram, has been showing her followers how to strip pillows. 

@pampered_momma Stripping my 10 yr old pillow! ������ #ThatsHot #YouHaveTo #DinnerWithMe #viral #trending #tiktok #tiktokindia #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #clean #stitch #ti ♬ Mr. Clean – Yung Gravy

She started off by stripping her “body pillow” – a large pillow that is recommended for side sleepers, pregnancy and back pain. 

“I’ve had it close to ten years and I can count on one hand how many times I’ve washed it,” she admitted. 

Erika filled up her bathtub with “really hot water” and poured in a cup of washing detergent and Borax. 

Borax cannot be purchased in the UK but sodium sesquicarbonate is a safe substitute. 

Some prefer to use baking soda instead, it is a similar salt to Borax but has a lower pH of eight, so it is slightly less alkaline but is said to do the job just as well. 

These cleaning materials are all effective at “killing germs and bacteria”. 

Erika then placed the large pillow into the tub of water and pushed it down with the end of a broom or mop handle to ensure it was fully submerged. 

It wasn’t long before the colour of the water changed to a light brown, and she commented: “This icky water is a combination of detergent build up, dead skin cells, body oils and dirt.” 

After leaving it to soak for a couple of hours, she drained the water from the tub and “wring the pillow out by hand as best as you can”. 

As for how the pillows dry, there are a couple of options. 

For those who don’t wish to use their washing machine and tumble dryer, Erika recommended hanging the pillows outside to drip dry for a few hours, or when slightly damp, they can be placed in an airing cupboard to finish drying. 

For an extra level of cleaning, the pillows can be put in a washing machine and “washed as normal”, then dried in the tumble dryer “with some tennis balls to fluff [them] back up”. 

Erika followed a similar washing method for the other pillows on her bed. 

“Today I decided to strip our other pillows – they’re probably only a couple of years old but they get yellow, even with pillowcases on,” she explained on another video 

Having removed the pillowcases and protectors – these can be washed in the washing machine with other similar colours – she soaked the pillows in the bath in a solution of “hot water, washing powder and soda crystals” for “six hours”. 

Again, the water turned brown as the dirt emerged from the pillows.

Place pillows outside in the fresh air to dry and check the middle to ensure they’re really dry before putting a pillow protector and then pillowcase because if the filling is still wet while you do this, it can easily lead to mould.  

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