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How to Wash Pregnancy Pillows

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN
It might be time to give your pregnancy pillow a little tender loving care. Here are five easy steps.

Have you been getting to sleep at night with the help of a pregnancy pillow? Have you been scratching your head over how to give it a good cleaning?

If you’ve purchased a pregnancy pillow at any point in your pregnancy, you may have wondered about this topic. After all, it has been with you through night sweats and bodily discomfort. Just like any other bedding, it’s bound to need a wash from time to time.

However, unlike other bedding, pregnancy pillows come with special considerations. Should you hand wash or machine wash? What detergents should you use? Read on to learn all you need to know — and then some — about pregnancy pillow protocol.

Pregnancy Pillow Considerations

Before you wash your pregnancy pillow, there are a few pieces of essential information to collect.

This information will help you determine the best way to care for your pillow.

  • Shape and size: Pregnancy pillows come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. If a pillow is too large, it may not fit into a traditional washing machine, even if it’s technically safe to do so.
  • Material: The type of material your pregnancy pillow is made out of is one of the most critical factors in determining how you wash it.
  • Filling Type: If your pregnancy pillow does have a filling, you need to know what it’s made out of. Common examples include micro-beads, polyester fibers, or even natural materials such as wool.

With these three things, you can make an educated decision on how to best wash your pregnancy pillow and move forward with confidence. Washing your pillows may help you reap many benefits, including reduction of allergens, dust mites, and better sleep.

The Key To Washing Pregnancy Pillows

The easiest way to wash a pregnancy pillow is simple: follow the instructions.

Not only is it standard to provide washing instructions, the manufacturers of your pregnancy pillow help moms every day with their product. They understand how stressful pregnancy can be and likely put some thought into how their product is best-taken care of.

So, pull out those instructions! You should find them on the tag or on the packaging.

Pro Tip

If the washing instructions have worn off the tag or you’ve tossed the packaging, go online. The washing instructions are generally included in the product description or you can ask your questions to the company directly.

How to Machine Wash a Pregnancy Pillow

For moms and moms-to-be, machine washing a pregnancy pillow can be the easiest route. The washer and dryer will take care of everything, leaving you with more time to relax and take care of yourself.

However, washers and dryers can do a lot of damage if not used correctly. Just think of all the agitation and tumbling that occurs! You want to be cautious and review any and all instructions carefully before moving forward.

If the instructions say using a machine washing is okay, you’re good to go. Otherwise, proceed with caution.

Important Note

These steps assume you have already checked the materials and fillings of your pregnancy pillow and they can be laundered in a machine. Organic, raw materials will most often need to be hand washed.

1. Make Sure It Fits

Make sure your pregnancy pillow fits comfortably inside both your washer and dryer. Do a test run before you add water and detergent. If you have to do a lot of shoving, the pillow may be too big and become damaged.

Full body pregnancy pillows and u-shaped pregnancy pillows are the largest types of pregnancy pillows available and likely the ones to give you the most trouble.

2. Remove Coverings

If your pillow has a covering, remove it and see if they should be laundered separately. By removing the cover, you are also preventing the bulk of the pillow from becoming tangled inside of the covering.

Make sure you take some time to learn how to put your pillow back inside of its cover. They can be tricky to get on and off!

3. Close Zippers

If your pregnancy pillow contains a loose filling, such as styrofoam peanuts or micro-beads, you will want to make sure it is zipped up tight.

Should the zipper become loose or if it’s not closed all of the way, the agitation of a washing machine can rip it open and destroy your pillow.

For some extra security, use a small safety pin through the zipper pull and a bit of the pregnancy pillow to make sure it remains closed.

4. Use Gentle Wash Cycles

For nearly all pregnancy pillows, you’ll want to use a gentle cycle with cold to warm water. Do not launder other clothes with it or use bleach, as both can cause damage to your pillow.

After washing, rinse the pillow thoroughly with cold water. You can do this with your machine’s rinse cycle. Many pregnancy pillows are made of absorbent materials that can hold on to the detergent.

Pro Tip

Make sure to use a mild detergent without scents or added chemicals. Your skin may be extra sensitive during pregnancy and strong detergents can cause irritation.

5. Dry on Medium Heat

Use a slow drying cycle on low-to-medium heat. High heat and strong tumbling can cause your pillow to distort, melt, or shrink. It’s better to keep your pillow in the dryer for a longer period of time at a lower heat setting than to try and dry it quickly at high heat.

How to Hand Wash Pregnancy Pillows

If you’re concerned about damaging your pregnancy pillow, or if your pillow is made of organic materials, hand washing is your best course of action.

Though it may take some extra time, hand washing is easier than you think.

1. Gather Supplies

Save time by gathering the supplies you need before you get started.

This way, you’re not scrambling for items in the middle of the procedure.

  • 2-3 large plastic tubs.
  • Mild detergent.
  • Absorbent towels.
  • Small upholstery brushes.

Fill up one large tub with lukewarm water and a little mild detergent. Fill another with cold water and leave the third one empty.

2. Soak Pillow

Place your pregnancy pillow in the washing tub. Depending on how soiled your pillow is, you can gently knead it with your hands or simply let it soak. Use small upholstery brushes to treat any stains or discoloration.

3. Rinse Pillow

Lift your pillow out of the detergent solution. Gently squeeze out the water. Place it into the clean, cold water. Allow the pillow to become soaked. Hold the pillow over the empty bin and wring it out.

Rinse your pillow a couple of times to ensure all of the detergent comes out. The water should run clear when you wring your pillow.

4. Pat Dry

Use a towel to pat your pillow dry. This will help speed up the drying process and stop the water from warping your pillow if it rests too long. Many pregnancy pillows are made of super-absorbent materials and can take a long time to dry.

5. Allow Drying

Give your pillow ample time to dry! The best way is to find a sunny, dry place. Consistently rotate or move your pillow so different areas are exposed to the air.

You want to make sure you dry your pillow properly, so it does not remain wet for an extended period of time, especially if you’re in a humid environment. The longer your pillow is wet, the higher the chance for mold or mildew to form.

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Medically Reviewed by

Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN, is a pediatric intensive care nurse at Children's Hospital of New York for the past 14 years. Jennifer also has extensive experience teaching Maternity and Obstetric Nursing, as well as Pediatrics Nursing.