Should You Wash New Pillows? What to Know

Last Updated on May 22, 2024

by Marc Werner, Founder - GhostBed

You've just brought home a new pillow (or perhaps unboxed a cooling GhostPillow) and can't wait to cozy up with it. We don't blame you!

But wait-should you wash your new pillow before you sleep on it? The answer is yes.

Closeup image of two GhostPillows.

Should You Wash New Pillows Before Use?

Yes, you should wash new pillows before you use them. Unfortunately, even brand-new pillows aren't immune to the icky stuff that can accumulate on them, like dust and other contaminants from manufacturing, storage and transportation.

It's also possible that chemicals used in manufacturing-while ultimately not dangerous to your health-may trigger allergies for some folks. So it's a good idea to give your pillow a scrub first.

New pillows may also come with a distinct scent due to the materials they're made with. This scent will dissipate over time, but washing is one way to speed up the process.

Washing a new pillow also helps to gently “break it in,” so it's extra soft, fluffy and ready to support you while you sleep.

Are You Supposed to Put Pillows in the Washing Machine?

Now that you know you need to clean your pillow, you may be wondering if you can toss it in with the rest of your laundry. Well, it depends on the type of pillow.

Cotton and feather pillows can typically go right in the washer. So can wool, microbead and gel pillows.

If you have a memory foam or buckwheat pillow, you'll need to spot-clean them instead.

Should You Put Your New Pillow in the Dryer?

Again, this depends on the type of pillow. Memory foam pillows, for example, cannot go in the dryer because the heat may melt the foam.

Faux down pillows, on the other hand, can go directly in the dryer. Some pillows, like those made with wool, do best when you air dry them for a few hours, then throw them in the dryer for a final fluff.

Check out our guide to washing pillows for detailed information on how to clean and dry any type of pillow you own!

Woman sleeping on a GhostPillow under a weighted blanket.

What Happens if You Don't Wash Your Pillow?

If you don't wash your new pillow, you'll likely be fine. Greg, one of our sleep experts here at GhostBed, says most pillows are already sanitized or processed to prevent dust mites, mold and mildew.

That said, if you happen to be sensitive to the chemicals that your pillow was manufactured with, you may have an uncomfortable night of itching, sneezing or-in very rare cases-trouble breathing. So it makes sense to give your pillow a quick clean.

You'll also avoid any unpleasant scents when you do this.

Now, if you continue to avoid washing your pillow the longer you have it, you'll be dealing with an accumulation of dust, oils and other unsavory things that aren't great for your health (or complexion)!

Plus, you'll be contributing to the breakdown of your pillow's quality and support. So make sure to wash your pillows at least every four months.

Other Ways to Disinfect Your Pillow

When you're ready to clean your pillow, we recommend spot cleaning or laundering it according to the manufacturer's instructions.

That said, if you're in a pinch and need to disinfect your pillow, there are some other methods you can try:

  • Use a fabric-safe disinfectant spray on the pillow. Be mindful not to saturate it and allow it to air dry.
  • Use a handheld steam cleaner to gently clean the surface of the pillow. Again, be sure you don't get it too wet. Allow it to dry completely before lying on it.
  • Wash the pillow's cover. If for some reason you're unable to clean the pillow itself, it's still helpful to wash the pillow's cover. Most can go directly in the washing machine.

Comfortable, Easy-to-Care for Pillows

If you're in the market for a new pillow, we'd love to show you the customer-favorite GhostPillow line.

Choose between a hypoallergenic, dust-free faux down pillow, a supportive ultra-cooling pillow, or a special adjustable one featuring shredded foam. If you're not sure which to pick, our Sleep Experts are standing by to help you decide. Simply send them a chat to get started.


Marc Werner - Founder, GhostBed

Marc Werner

Founder - GhostBed

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Marc has spent the last two decades designing & manufacturing mattresses and other sleep products, drawing on a lifetime of experience working with the material sciences. With several patents to his name, he works closely with the GhostBed team to create products with the perfect balance of comfort & support. Learn More

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