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Washing Pillows Without Clumping: Preserving Fluffiness and Comfort

Over time, pillows can lose their fluffiness and become clumpy. Regular washing is necessary to maintain their cleanliness and extend their lifespan.

However, improper washing techniques can cause the filling to clump together, resulting in an uncomfortable pillow which spells disaster for your sleeping pattern.

In this blog, we will share effective methods to wash your pillows without clumping, ensuring they retain their original shape, loft, and comfort.

By following these tips and techniques, you can enjoy clean and fluffy pillows that provide optimal support for a restful sleep.

How to prevent clumping when washing your pillows

If you're washing your pillows in the washing machine, put it on a low setting and add some tennis balls placed in white socks into the washing machine along with the pillow. This will help to distribute the materials inside the pillow, avoiding clumping.

This is not always possible though for a number of reasons. Read on for more information:

Assessing Your Pillows

Before washing your pillows, it's important to assess their care instructions and determine the type of filling they have. Different types of pillows require specific washing methods to avoid clumping, for example you can't machine wash a memory foam pillow. This step will help you choose the appropriate technique for your pillows.

Preparing for Washing

  • Removing Pillowcases and Protectors: Start by removing any pillowcases, covers, or protectors from your pillows. These can typically be washed separately according to their care instructions.

  • Beating and Fluffing: Prior to washing, give your pillows a good beating or fluffing to redistribute the filling. This helps loosen any clumps and ensures a more even distribution of the filling during the washing process.

Selecting the Right Washing Method

  1. Front-Loading Washing Machine: Front-loading machines are ideal for washing pillows as they provide a gentler washing motion. Place two pillows in the machine to maintain balance and prevent excessive clumping. Use a mild detergent and set the machine to a gentle or delicate cycle with a large load capacity to allow ample space for the pillows to move freely.

  2. Top-Loading Washing Machine: If you only have a top-loading machine, you can still wash your pillows without clumping. However, extra care is required. Place one pillow in the machine to prevent an imbalance. Use a mild detergent and set the machine to a delicate or hand wash cycle with cold water.

  3. Hand Washing: Hand washing is the most controlled method to prevent clumping. Fill a basin or bathtub with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Submerge the pillow and gently agitate it with your hands. Avoid squeezing or wringing the pillow excessively, as this can lead to clumping. Rinse the pillow thoroughly and gently press out excess water. For more tips, read our how to hand wash your pillow guide.

Drying Techniques

Air Drying: After washing, air drying is the best method to avoid clumping. Lay the pillows flat on a clean, dry towel or a drying rack in a well-ventilated area. Flip and fluff the pillows periodically to ensure even drying. This process may take a couple of days, so be patient. If you don't have a couple of days, try the next method.

Tumble Dryer: If you prefer to use a dryer, choose the lowest heat setting and add dryer balls or clean tennis balls to the dryer. These balls help to fluff and separate the filling, preventing clumping. Check the pillows frequently to ensure they are not overheating, and remove them promptly when they are dry.

Extra Tips for Clump Prevention

Tennis Ball Trick: Before washing, place a few clean tennis balls into separate white socks and tie the ends. Add these socked tennis balls to the washing machine or dryer. They will help agitate the pillows during the wash or dry cycle, preventing clumping.

Proper Storage: Store your pillows in a cool, dry place when not in use. Avoid compressing them under heavy objects or in tight spaces, as this can lead to clumping over time.

Regular Fluffing: Even after washing, regular fluffing is essential to maintain pillow loft and prevent clumping. Give your pillows a good shake and fluff them daily to keep the filling evenly distributed.


Washing pillows without clumping is possible with the right techniques. Assess your pillows, choose the appropriate washing method, and follow the steps outlined in this guide.

Whether you use a washing machine or opt for hand washing, remember to be gentle and avoid excessive squeezing or wringing.

Allow ample time for thorough drying, and incorporate additional tricks like tennis balls or dryer balls to prevent clumping. By following these tips and taking proper care of your pillows, you can enjoy clean, fluffy, and clump-free pillows that provide the comfort and support you need for a restful night's sleep.

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