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How to Make Your Pillows White Again

Recently I ran across this article that claimed to show you how to get your old, dirty pillows white again. I can't remember the last time I washed our pillows, so I decided to give it a try to see if it really works.


To wash your pillows in the washing machine, you will need:

  • 1 c. liquid bleach
  • 1/2 c. Borax
  • 1 c. dry dishwasher detergent

Please note that if you have pillows that have special care instructions that you should follow the cleaning instructions that came with your pillow. Some pillows may not be able to be washed in the washing machine.

white pillows

If your pillows are so old that you can't read the tags on them any more (like mine), then you won't mind taking the chance of ruining them. In my case they went through the washing machine just fine.

Place two pillows (don't wash one at a time or your washing machine will become unbalanced) in your washing machine along with your regular laundry detergent. If your washing machine is a top loader then put one on each side inside the washer. Use the hottest water setting.

Add the Borax (found in the laundry aisle at the grocery store) and the dry dishwasher detergent.

After the washing machine fills with water, stop the washer and let the pillows soak for at least a couple of hours. The longer the better. Then let the washing machine finish its washing cycle.

Dry the pillows in your dryer. If you add a clean tennis ball in with the pillows they will supposedly fluff up more, although I didn't have one so I didn't use one. My pillows seem to fluff up just fine.

As you can see from the before and after photos, my pillows are definitely cleaner now. I'm not going to lie and say that they look like brand new, however, they are much much whiter and smell good too. My kids even noticed the difference, not that they would normally notice what their pillows smell like.

Just fluffing up the pillows made a big difference. They are a lot fluffier than before I washed them. I would say this experiment was a great success.

If your pillows don't turn out as clean as you would like, soak them again and they should come out a little cleaner next time.

Copyright 2014, Creative Homemaking, LLC. This article may not be reprinted.

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Rachel Paxton
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