How To Clean Your Pillows, Blankets, And Comforters & How Often You Should
We’ve talked about washing your bedsheets, we’ve talked about the great and wondrous powers of your washing machine, but we haven’t explicitly addressed the issue of washing your other bedthings: your pillows and comforters. Those things need cleaning too! I could go into why, but I just don’t want to right now. So think hard; you’ll get there.
But how does one go about it? And how often does a really hygienic person attend to the task? Read on, my fine feathered friend.
How To Clean Pillows
Most down and synthetic pillows can be washed in your washing machine. That’s right folks, just like laundry. Follow the advice of any care tags you see, but otherwise choose the delicate or gentle cycle with warm water.
Washing two pillows at a time is recommended, but definitely don’t put a single thing more in the load or you’ll cause a combustion. Probably.
It’s also not a bad idea to run an extra rinse cycle if you can spare the time/ don’t live in California; this ensures you don’t leave a soapy residue.
Once washed, put the pillows into your dryer (preferably with a dryer ball or even a tennis ball–I’ve resorted to a lacrosse ball on several occasions) on the lowest heat setting. If your care tag allows, use low heat. If there’s no care tag in sight or you feel extra nervous, use air fluff.
Apologies in advance: this takes a rawther long time. You might have to run and re-run and re-run that dryer cycle. But I promise, eventually, no matter how strong the smell of wet goose at first, those pillows are going to dry. And if you use a dryer ball as prescribed, they’ll be restored to their fluffiest, cleanest state.
How To Clean Blankets
Most blankets can also be washed in the washing machine (again, always refer to care tags). Follow the same procedure as washing pillows: gentle cycle, warm water. Wool and cashmere blankets can usually be washed by hand. (Fill a vessel/tub with warm water and gentle detergent, swish the blanket around and allow to soak for up to half an hour. Empty the water, press out blanket. Add in cool water to rinse. Repeat until soap is gone. Never wring! Wringing is prohibited. Place the blanket on a clear dry towel, roll up and gentle squeeze.)
How To Clean Comforters
I feel like advising anyone to wash a comforter in their washing machine is a definite liability–too much chance of washing machine breakage, flooding, etc. It isn’t that you can’t, full stop, it’s just that you have to be careful about whether your machine is actually large enough to accomodate the quilt. If it isn’t (most aren’t) you’ll have to head to the laundromat and use one of their largest machines. (If you go this route, follow the same cleaning instructions for pillows.)
Unless you’re opposed to it for some reason or other, I say opt for the dry cleaners. Anyhow, that’s my preferred course of action, since my bubby and papa, who owned a custom quilt and pillow shop, always took their quilts in to be dry cleaned. If you’re making quilts by hand, you’re probably a reliable source on how to clean them.
I think 2 times a year is a realistic expectation and hygienically acceptable. Most experts recommend 2-3 times per year.
Really good quality pillows, comforters and blankets can and should last for many years–great ones closer to a decade and over. But all good things must come to an end, and life is far too short for shoddy sleeping provisions.
When pillows won’t be resuscitated to a fluffed up state no matter how you pound them, or feathers or fibers within pillows or comforters lump up in certain areas and won’t re-distribute themselves evenly no matter what you do, or when they discolor beyond recognition, or adopt an odor you can’t ward off, it’s time to call it. Say goodbye, thank them sincerely for their service and them treat yourself to some new bed accoutrements. You deserve it.
Image credits: via Style Files, photography by Trevor Dixon for Country Living, Country Living
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