How do you disinfect pillows that can't be washed?


The article discusses the importance of clean pillows for maintaining good health and quality sleep, emphasizing the challenges of disinfecting pillows that cannot be washed conventionally. It highlights the need for practical solutions to keep these pillows clean and free from germs and allergens, and the blog aims to provide such solutions.

Understanding Pillow Materials

  • Different Types of Pillow Materials

Neck Pillows can be made from various materials, including memory foam, latex, down, and synthetic fill. Each material has its own unique properties and care requirements. For instance, memory foam pillows are good for cervical but cannot be washed in a conventional manner due to their sensitivity to moisture.

  • Why Some Pillows Can’t Be Washed

Certain pillow materials are not suitable for washing due to their composition or construction. Washing these pillows can cause them to lose their shape, support, and comfort. In some cases, it can even damage the material, rendering the pillow unusable. Therefore, alternative methods of disinfection are necessary for these types of pillows.

The Need for Disinfection

  • Types of Germs, Allergens, and Dust Mites in Pillows

Pillows can accumulate microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, and dust mites, over time. These organisms and their allergens, such as dust mite feces and mold spores, can cause allergic reactions.

  • How These Can Affect Health and Sleep Quality

Pillows can harbor germs and allergens, which can lead to health issues like skin irritations, respiratory problems, and allergies. They can also disrupt sleep. Regular disinfection of pillows, even those not washable, is crucial for maintaining good health and sleep quality.

Disinfection Methods for Non-Washable Pillows

  • Sunlight Exposure

Sunlight can disinfect pillows by killing bacteria, viruses, and dust mites with its ultraviolet (UV) rays. Place the pillow in direct sunlight for a few hours to disinfect it. However, prolonged exposure can cause fading or degradation of the material, so use this method sparingly and with caution.

  • Vacuuming

Regular vacuuming can help remove dust, dead skin cells, and other allergens from your pillow. Use a vacuum cleaner with  HEPA filter to ensure that small particles are effectively removed. Vacuum both sides of the pillow and pay special attention to seams and crevices where dust and allergens can accumulate.

  • Disinfectant Sprays

There are several disinfectant sprays available on the market that are safe for use on fabrics. These sprays can kill bacteria and viruses on contact. When using a disinfectant spray, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Spray a light mist over the entire surface of the pillow and allow it to air dry.

  • Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning uses hot steam to kill bacteria, viruses, and dust mites. Handheld steam cleaners are available that can be used to clean pillows. The high temperature of the steam ensures deep disinfection. However, not all pillow materials may be suitable for steam cleaning. Always check the care label or manufacturer’s instructions before using this method.

Each of these methods can effectively disinfect pillows that can’t be washed. However, it’s important to consider the type of pillow material and choose the method that is most suitable and safe. Regular disinfection, along with the use of pillow protectors and frequent changing of pillowcases, can help maintain a clean and healthy sleep environment.

Preventive Measures

  • Pillow Protectors

Pillow protectors protect pillows from dust, allergens, and spills. They are made of tightly woven fabric that prevents dust mites and allergens from penetrating the pillow. Some pillow protectors also have a waterproof layer to protect against spills. Using a pillow protector can reduce the need for frequent disinfection and extend the lifespan of your pillow.

  • Regularly Changing Pillowcases

Changing your pillowcase regularly, ideally once a week or more for those who sweat heavily, is crucial for hygiene. Dead skin cells, sweat, and oils from our skin can accumulate on the pillowcase, fostering bacteria and dust mites.

  • Proper Pillow Storage

Pillows should be stored in a clean, dry place when not in use. To prevent dust accumulation while allowing air circulation, store your pillows in a breathable fabric bag. Avoid storing pillows in plastic bags for long periods, as this can trap moisture and promote mold and mildew growth.

These preventive measures, along with the disinfection methods discussed earlier, can help you maintain clean and healthy pillows, even if they can’t be washed in a conventional manner. Remember, a clean pillow is key to a good night’s sleep and overall health.

Read Also - 8 Methods on How to Deodorize Your Pillows 


The article discusses the importance of keeping pillows clean, especially unwashable ones. It explores various methods of disinfecting these pillows, such as sunlight exposure, vacuuming, disinfectant sprays, and steam cleaning.  The article also encourages maintaining a clean and healthy sleep environment by regularly disinfecting pillows, using pillow protectors, changing pillow cases, and storing pillows properly. By taking these steps, people can reduce exposure to allergens and germs, promoting better health and well-being.


Q: Why can’t all pillows be washed?
Some pillows cannot be washed in a conventional manner due to their material or construction, as it can cause damage, loss of shape, support, and comfort.
Q: How can sunlight be used to disinfect pillows?
Sunlight has natural disinfecting properties, thanks to its ultraviolet (UV) rays that can eliminate bacteria, viruses, and dust mites. Exposing a pillow to direct sunlight for several hours can disinfect it. Prolonged sun exposure, however, may cause fading or degradation of some materials.
Q: What is the role of a pillow protector?
Pillow protectors are covers designed to shield pillows from dust, allergens, and spills. They are usually made from tightly woven fabric to prevent dust mites from penetrating the pillow. Some pillow protectors have a waterproof layer for added protection against spills.
Q: How often should I change my pillowcase?
To maintain a clean and hygienic sleeping environment, it's advisable to change your pillowcase at least once a week, especially if you sweat heavily. Regular pillowcase changes prevent the buildup of skin cells, sweat, and oils, which can attract bacteria and dust mites.
Q: Can I use a steam cleaner to disinfect my pillow?
Steam cleaning effectively eliminates bacteria, viruses, and dust mites using hot steam. Handheld steam cleaners can be used to clean pillows, but not all pillow materials may be compatible with steam cleaning. Check the care label or manufacturer's instructions before proceeding with this method.