How to Change Yellow Pillows Back to White

Pillows, even those covered with pillowcases, can turn yellow with time. Bodily fluids, such as perspiration and saliva, make their way through the pillowcase into the cushion, rendering it a dingy yellow color that doesn’t only looks disgusting, but is unsanitary as well. The good news is that if you wash your pillows at least two times per year — and, yes, even a down pillow can be washed you can keep them clean and fresh and as white as newly fallen snow.

Pillow Washing Prep

You can clean down pillows, cotton pillows, fiberfill pillows and pillows filled with feathers, so long as the maintenance label advises washing, cleaning. Read the tag to confirm that hot water is acceptable; otherwise, use warm water only. But before you wash down or feather pillows in the drier, check the cushion seams to ensure they don’t have any rips. If you find a rip, stitch by hand or re-sew the seam using the sewing machine.

The Washing Method

Fill the drier 1/3 with hot water; add 1 cup of soap, 1/2 cup of borax, 1 cup of powdered dish soap and one cup of a whitening agent or oxygen bleach if the care tag advises against using chlorine bleach. Agitate the machine to ensure the detergents are completely mixed; then add the pillows, ensuring they are fully immersed and moist. Permit the drier to finish filling with water. Halfway during the clean cycle, manually turn over the pillows to ensure they get completely clean. After washing, place the pillows during two rinse cycles. Use the air to dry down pillows, along with two tennis balls in tied-off clean socks to help them dry more quickly. For fresh-smelling pillows, set them outside to dry or hang them over a clothesline, turning them as needed to dry completely.

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