Mother with newborn baby in the nursing pillow

How to Properly Clean Your Nursing Pillow (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Last Updated September 17, 2017

Did your newborn baby just spit up so much that it soaked completely through the cover of your nursing pillow?

Are you afraid that if you throw it in the wash, it will lose its shape?

Your nursing pillow goes through a lot; Spit up, vomit, poop, leaking breastmilk, and who knows what else. You need this pillow to last for at least a few years, but how on earth are you supposed to get it clean without ruining it?

In this article, we will discuss some pro-cleaning tips and go over the exact steps on how to clean 3 common nursing pillows.

Pro Cleaning Tips to Know Before You Get Started

Whether you have a nursing pillow that can be thrown into the wash or one that needs to be hand washed, here are some great cleaning tips to follow, including preventative maintenance.

1. Preventative Maintenance:

  • Purchase at least two different covers for your pillow for when one is in the wash. We all know how hard it is to keep up on the laundry with a newborn in the house.

  • Drape a receiving blanket over your pillow when using it to prevent stains. Throwing a receiving blanket in the wash is much easier than having to clean your nursing pillow constantly.

  • Wash or spot clean your nursing pillow every couple of months for preventative maintenance.

Read: When Should I Stop Using My Nursing Pillow?

2. Washing Machine Tips:

  • Always check the fabric care instructions before washing your nursing pillow.

  • Use a gentle, scent free detergent that is safe for your baby and your nursing pillow.

  • Use a second spin cycle to get out all of the excess moisture out of your pillow before drying.

  • Place 2 tennis balls in a sock and place in the dryer with your pillow. This will help get out moisture from your pillow, aid in the drying process, and help keep your pillow’s shape.

  • If your nursing pillow is smelly, whether it’s from your baby’s spit-up or puke or something else, you could use ½ cup of baking soda in the main wash to neutralize the odor.

  • If you notice a musty, moldy, or mildewy scent to your nursing pillow, throw in one cup of white vinegar to the main wash with your nursing pillow.

3. Spot Cleaning Tips

You may want to use a quality and safe antimicrobial spray when spot-cleaning your nursing pillow, especially if it’s not machine washable. Never soak or fully submerge a pillow that cannot be machine washed. Here is an all-natural homemade antibacterial spray you could use for cleaning your pillow:

You will need:

  1. A 20 oz. Spray bottle

  2. Hot water

  3. Washing soda - You can usually find this in laundry section at your local WalMart or grocery store

  4. Tea tree essential oil (optional) - It is best to avoid all essential oils around babies less than 6 months of age and cats.


  1. Fill your spray bottle with 2 cups of hot water

  2. Then add ¼ cup of washing soda

  3. Then add about 10 drops of tea tree essential oil if you choose

  4. Shake & spray on affected areas

Another option for an antimicrobial spray is to fill a spray bottle with half water and half organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV). You could also use white, distilled vinegar in replace of ACV. We seriously use this for just about all cleaning purposes in our home due to ACV’s antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties (source).

How to Clean a Nursing Pillow

In this section, we will go over step-by-step on how to properly clean 3 of the most common nursing pillows out there right now: The Boppy, the Brest Friend, and the Ergobaby Natural Curve Nursing Pillow.

How to Clean a Boppy Pillow

  1. Unzip the slipcover and remove it from your nursing pillow.

  2. Zip the cover closed before washing to protect the zipper.

  3. Press out as much air as possible before sticking your pillow in the washer.

  4. Wash your pillow and slipcover on the delicate cycle with an extra spin and cold water. (If you have a top loader with an agitator, even out the load with another pillow.)

  5. Tumble dry the Boppy pillow and slipcover on the gentle cycle with low heat.

  6. Wrap a sneaker or tennis ball in a pillowcase or sock and throw it in the dryer with your Boppy to help keep its shape and get all the excess moisture out.

  7. Place the slipcover back on the Boppy after both it and the pillow are fully dry. Cool iron as needed. Do NOT dry clean (source).

How to Clean a Brest Friend Nursing Pillow

The Slipcover

These steps apply to slipcovers for the original, deluxe, twin, and travel nursing pillows.

  1. Unzip and remove the slipcover from the pillow.

  2. Zip the slipcover closed before washing to protect the zipper.

  3. Wash your slipcover in the washing machine in warm water, on the delicate cycle. Do NOT use bleach or hot water.

  4. Hang the slipcover up to air dry.

If you have a professional nursing pillow, wipe the slipcover down with a soft cloth and an antimicrobial spray. Do NOT machine wash.

Inside Cushion

These steps apply to cushions for the original, deluxe, twin, travel, and professional nursing pillows.

  1. Remove the slipcover and wash according to the instructions listed above.

  2. With a damp cloth and mild soap or antimicrobial spray, spot clean the problem areas on your cushion.

  3. Air dry the cushion either outside or in a well-ventilated area.

  4. Place the slipcover back on when both the slipcover and cushion are fully dry.

Foam nursing pillows should never be fully submerged in water and should never be put in the washer or dryer (source).

How to Clean a Ergobaby Natural Curve Nursing Pillow

  1. Remove the cover from your nursing pillow.

  2. Zip the cover back up before washing to protect the zipper.

  3. Machine wash the cover with cold water on the gentle cycle.

  4. Tumble dry the cover on low heat.

  5. Spot clean the foam cushion by wiping the problem areas with warm water and a clean rag.

  6. Lay the foam cushion flat to dry in a well-ventilated area.

  7. Once the cushion and cover are dry, replace the cover back on the pillow, and you are all ready to use it again.

Do NOT iron, dry clean, or use bleach with the Ergobaby Natural Curve Nursing Pillow (source).

Get to Washing

Now that you have the best cleaning tips and the exact steps for cleaning your nursing pillow, you can have it clean in no time.

You can properly wash your Boppy, Brest Friend, or Ergobaby Natural Curve without it losing its shape or getting damaged.

Did you find this post helpful? Do you have any tips for cleaning nursing pillows?

Share your tips and experiences with us in the comments, and be sure to share this post with all your nursing mama friends.

Jenny Silverstone

Jenny is just another Mom trying to do her Best. She loves organizing things into lists and helping others find what they are looking for. When she's not using her powers to find her kids missing socks, you can find her giving actionable parenting advice & buyers guides at

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