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How To Wash A Pregnancy Pillow: 5 Easy Steps

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN
Five easy steps to give your pregnancy pillow a little tender loving care.

Pregnancy pillows are sanity-saving devices that come in a wide range of shapes and styles. Because of their unique shapes, cleaning them is not very intuitive, so many moms have asked us how to wash a pregnancy pillow.

After all, it has been with you through night sweats and bodily discomfort. Like any other bedding, it’s bound to need a wash from time to time.

But should you hand wash your pregnancy pillow or machine wash? And what detergents should you use?

We’ve reviewed the cleaning instructions for various pregnancy pillow styles and designed this guide to help you access this info fast when you need it. Read on to learn all you need to know — and then some — about pregnancy pillow protocol.

Key Takeaways

  • Pregnancy pillows come in different shapes, sizes, and materials; consider these factors before washing.
  • Check the pillow’s tag or manual for specific cleaning instructions, or search online if these are unavailable.
  • Machine washing may be suitable for some pillows; ensure it fits, use gentle cycles, and mild detergent.
  • Hand washing is safer for delicate or organic materials; use mild detergent, rinse well, and allow ample drying time.

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. Typical fillings include micro-beads, polyester fibers, or even natural materials such as wool.

With these three things, you can make an educated decision on the best way to wash your pregnancy pillow. Washing your pillows may reap many benefits. A clean pillow can reduce allergens, get rid of dust mites, and help you sleep better.

The Key To Washing Pregnancy Pillows

If you still have your pregnancy pillow manual, check that first for cleaning instructions. Or remove any pillowcase and check the product for a tag with cleaning instructions.

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

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

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 all instructions carefully before moving forward.

If the instructions say it’s OK to use a washing machine, 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 and U-shaped pregnancy pillows are the largest types of pregnancy pillows and will likely give you the most trouble.

2. Remove Coverings

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

Make sure you take some time to learn how to put your pillow back inside 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 tightly zipped.

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

For extra security, use a small safety pin to connect the zipper pull to the pregnancy pillow to ensure it remains closed.

4. Use Gentle Wash Cycles

You’ll want to use a gentle cycle with cold to warm water for nearly all pregnancy pillows. Do not launder other clothes with it or use bleach, as both can damage 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. During pregnancy, your skin may be extra sensitive, 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 more extended period at a lower heat setting than to 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.

  • Two to three 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 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 to expose different areas to the air.

You want to dry your pillow properly so it doesn’t remain wet for long, especially if you’re in a humid environment. The longer your pillow is wet, the higher the chance for mold or mildew to develop.

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How Many Times a Month Should I Wash My Pregnancy Pillow?

Depending on how much it’s used, washing the pillow cover once every 1-2 weeks is a great idea. The actual pillow should be washed less frequently, perhaps once every few months, unless there’s a spill or deep stain.

Can You Put Pregnancy Pillows in the Dryer?

Most pillow covers can be machine-dried, but the inner pillow should be air-dried to maintain its shape and integrity. Always refer to care labels when washing things like this.

How Long Do Pregnancy Pillows Take to Dry Naturally?

Depending on the material and thickness, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day in a well-ventilated area.

How Can I Make My Pregnancy Pillow Fluffy Again?

Shaking and fluffing by hand can definitely help. Tossing pillows filled with synthetic fibers in the dryer with a couple of tennis balls can also rejuvenate the fluffiness. Make sure to use a low-heat setting.

What Happens If You Don’t Wash Your Pregnancy Pillow?

Regular washing removes body oils, sweat, and dead skin cells. Without washing, your pillow can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and dust mites.

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Headshot of Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

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.