How to Wash Bamboo Pillows

Jo Davies (Mattress Expert)

If you’ve made the move from cotton infill pillows to bamboo, or you’re considering it for comfort, cleanliness and hypoallergenic features, then we have some great tips and tricks for you when it comes to washing bamboo pillows.

As you’ll already know bamboo pillows do come in a range of firmness levels, as well as profiles to ensure you’re getting the correct support for your sleeping position. They’re soft, contouring and springy and miles better than the old school cotton products.

Other than comfort, bamboo is greener, cleaner and all around better to sleep on than cotton and gives you the chance to keep your body cooler and even reduces the chances of sweat build up.

In all, whether it’s for temperature regulation, comfort or the environment, bamboo pillows are your best bet to getting relaxed muscles and a good night’s sleep at night. 

Keeping Bamboo Pillows Clean

As outlined above, bamboo is a naturally hypoallergenic material, which means you’re reducing your risk of allergies and waking up coughing, sniffling or with a running nose during the night.

That is, so long as you keep these pillows clean.

With a clean and hygienic bamboo pillow you’re essentially reducing your risk of everything from snoring to asthma and other breathing problems. Somewhat of a ‘wonder’ product, bamboo pillows still need to be washed and kept clean in order for the health benefits to be effective.

That said, let’s take a look below at how to wash bamboo pillows.

Taking Care of a Bamboo Pillow

You might have already guessed, bamboo pillows do require a little bit of a different regimen when compared to cotton fill pillows.

These bamboo pillows don’t ask you to throw them away after a year or two for one thing, and they also come with some rather clear instructions on how to correctly use them without damaging them in the long term.

A lot of bamboo pillows do outline how to keep them clean and why you should use a pillow protector, though some advise against these products and suggest you simply use a pillow case — as some protectors restrict the movement and elasticity of the pillow.

Washing Your Bamboo Pillows

When it comes to washing your bamboo pillows, there are a few things to keep in mind that we’ll go over below.

On the very first day you that you get your pillow, it will smell rather odd, though it’s important not to try wash away this smell. The odour you’ll first be smelling is the off-gassing that occurs when the pillow leaves the factory.

These smells usually aren’t too strong, but they certainly are noticeable. However, within a day or two it will go away.

If the smell is a little too harsh for you to sleep on, we suggest placing the pillow or the set of pillows in a guest bedroom and simply letting them air out for a few hours to a day or two. Again, don’t try to wash the smell away.

Washing

When it comes to actually washing your pillows after a few weeks or months of use, bamboo is not like cotton. You shouldn’t be putting these pillows in the washing machine and certainly shouldn’t have them in the dryer either.

In a lot of cases, even the most gentle hand-wash or pillow-wash settings on washing machines are too harsh for these pillows and you’re likely to see the bamboo material tear and disintegrate in the machine.

That said, no matter which settings your machine has or how strong you think your pillows are, you cannot put these products in a washing machine like their cotton fill counterparts.

If you want to extend the pillow’s longevity, there are some simple steps to follow.

Strip the Pillow

To start, you’ll want to take off the pillow covers and protectors that come built into the bamboo pillow. A good majority of bamboo pillows do come with a protector or a cover build in simply to make it more hygienic and easier to clean, so make use of this.

Firstly take off the pillow cover and put this in the washing machine. It’s good to stick to a gentle setting and to wash this cover on cold.

A lot of the time, a warm or hot wash will mildly shrink these covers and you’ll notice that the pillow cover doesn’t flex and expand with the pillow as you’re using it, which can upset spinal alignment.

For those who don’t want to risk putting their pillow cover in the washing machine, you can simply fill the wash basin with lukewarm water and soap, detergent or any other cleaning agent you use on your linens and wash the pillow cover this way.

Washing the Pillow Itself

Once you’ve washed the cover, or at least stripped the cover from the pillow, you can then move on to washing the pillow.

Of course, this is where you’ll need to be pedantic and careful. The fibres that make up bamboo pillows are stretchy and rather durable, though if you’re too rough they can tear and break apart.

Start by filling your wash tub with lukewarm water, or use the same water you used for the pillow cover. Be sure it isn’t too hot or you might damage the internal fibres like a machine could. It’s also important to make sure that the water isn’t too cold either, you’ll want to make sure the water softens the pillow and also kills any bacteria and germs.

Once you have the soapy water ready, with no bleach added in here, you can then set down the pillow and leave it until things get completely soaked.

You don’t need to keep the pillow dry like memory foam as bamboo will slowly dry and there’s little to no risk for mould if you air it out correctly.

When your bamboo pillow is totally soaked, then you can work to squeeze and add more detergent to it. Much like moulding dough, you’ll do the same with your pillow and work to ensure that the soapy water is making its way all the way through the pillow.

After a few minutes of squeezing the pillow and getting all of the water and soap into it, you’ll then work to squeeze it all out of the pillow too.

Keep on going until you’re only seeing water leaving your pillow and then you’re be ready to move on to drying your bamboo pillow.

Drying Out a Bamboo Pillow

Once the pillow has been washed and you’re sure you’ve squeezed out all of the soapy water from the inside of the pillow, you can work on drying it out.

That means sunning the pillow and air drying it.

Do not place a bamboo pillow or the cover in the dryer. You’ll essentially disintegrate the pillow by doing this and have little to no way of salvaging it.

Our top tip here is to peg up your pillow on a clothes line or a balcony where it’s elevated and not laying down on one side. You’ll want the pillow to be able to air out correctly and have the chance to dry all the way to the core.

If you’re not able to hang up the pillow, you can place it on a clothing rack or place a towel beneath it on the ground. For our readers placing the pillow on the ground, be sure to set a timer for every couple of hours so you’re able to flip it over to keep both sides drying out evenly.

It may take all day to dry out the pillow depending on how warm and sunny of a day it is, so plan to wash your bamboo pillows in the morning. For high-profile pillows, these are thicker and will take a little longer to dry out, so be sure to factor this in. You may need to switch to your guest bedroom pillows for a night while the pillows dry out.

One last thing we’d like to note is to ensure your bamboo pillow is bone dry before you put the cover back on and bring it inside. You don’t want to increase your risk of having mould or mildew growing inside the pillow’s perforations.

The Takeaway

When it comes to bamboo pillows, these are some of the best sleeping accessories for the bedroom and offer a great experience when it comes to helping keep your back in alignment and supporting the neck and shoulder muscles.

Of course, keeping these pillows clean is an essential to reducing your risk of allergies sparking up as you sleep, though unlike cotton pillows, bamboo does require a little more care to ensure they last a long while.

For some more information on why bamboo is a good sleeping material in mattresses, pillows and mattress toppers, you can take a look on Sleepify’s website. 

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My goal with Sleepify is to be the ultimate sleep resource – helping you have a better night’s sleep.

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