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How To Sanitize Pillows After COVID

How To Sanitize Pillows After COVID

Sanitizing Pillows after COVID-19: A Comprehensive Guide

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant changes in our daily lives, emphasizing the importance of cleanliness and hygiene like never before. As we continue to adapt to the new normal, it is crucial to take proactive measures to protect ourselves and our loved ones from potential sources of contamination. While we diligently sanitize our hands, surfaces, and commonly used items, one area that often goes overlooked is our pillows.

In this in-depth blog post, we will explore the key steps and precautions necessary to sanitize your pillows effectively after COVID-19. From understanding the virus's survival on surfaces to providing detailed instructions on washing and drying pillows, we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring your sleep environment remains clean and safe. Whether you have traditional pillows, memory foam pillows, or down pillows, this comprehensive guide will address your concerns and provide practical solutions.

Understanding the COVID-19 Virus and Pillows

To effectively combat any potential spread of COVID-19, it is crucial to understand how the virus behaves on different surfaces. We will delve into the science behind how the virus spreads and its survival on pillows. By exploring if pillows can be a source of transmission and the associated risks, we will gain a deeper understanding of the importance of regular pillow sanitization.



Precautionary Measures

Before diving into the step-by-step guide, it is essential to identify when and why pillows need to be sanitized. We will discuss the signs that indicate the need for sanitization and the safe handling and disposal of potentially contaminated pillows. Additionally, we will address specific precautions for high-risk individuals, ensuring their safety and peace of mind.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Sanitize Pillows after COVID-19

This section will serve as your comprehensive manual for effectively sanitizing your pillows. We will start by discussing the necessary supplies you will need to gather before beginning the process. Whether you choose machine washing, hand washing, or using appropriate detergents and sanitizers, we will provide detailed instructions on each method. We will also explore the most effective methods of drying your pillows, including air drying, using a dryer, or sun drying. Furthermore, we will offer valuable advice for maintaining pillow hygiene post-sanitization, ensuring a continuous clean and healthy sleep environment.

Frequently Asked Questions and Troubleshooting

As with any topic, there are bound to be questions and concerns. This section will address the most commonly asked questions regarding pillow sanitization after COVID-19. From using bleach and steam cleaning methods to the frequency of sanitization and handling non-machine washable pillows, we will provide insightful answers and practical solutions. We will also discuss the effectiveness of professional cleaning services, the use of UV light or disinfectant sprays, and the precautions to take while handling potentially contaminated pillows. Lastly, we will provide valuable tips on preventing future contamination of your pillows, supporting long-term hygiene practices.


In conclusion, sanitizing pillows after COVID-19 is a crucial step towards maintaining a clean and safe sleep environment for you and your family. By understanding the virus's behavior, taking necessary precautions, and following our step-by-step guide, you can ensure your pillows are effectively sanitized. Remember, a clean and hygienic sleep space not only promotes better sleep but also contributes to overall health and well-being.

Stay tuned as we explore each section in detail, providing the knowledge and practical advice you need to sanitize your pillows effectively after COVID-19. Let's prioritize cleanliness and hygiene in all aspects of our lives and create a safer environment for ourselves and our loved ones.

Understanding the COVID-19 Virus and Pillows

In order to effectively sanitize pillows after COVID-19, it is essential to have a clear understanding of how the virus behaves on different surfaces. The SARS-CoV-2 virus primarily spreads through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes. These droplets can land on various surfaces and objects, potentially contaminating them.

When it comes to pillows, the risk of contamination largely depends on their exposure to respiratory droplets. While pillows themselves may not be a common source of transmission, they can still harbor the virus if they come into contact with infected droplets. This can happen if an infected individual sneezes or coughs near the pillow or if contaminated hands touch the pillow surface.

Research suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can survive on surfaces for varying periods of time, depending on factors such as temperature, humidity, and the type of surface. While specific studies on the virus's survival on pillows are limited, it is advisable to exercise caution and ensure proper sanitization.

The risks associated with contaminated pillows should not be underestimated. When we sleep, our faces come into close contact with the pillow surface, providing a potential route for the virus to enter our respiratory system if the pillow is contaminated. This is especially concerning for individuals who share a bed or have compromised immune systems.

Therefore, it is crucial to include pillows in our sanitization efforts and adopt regular cleaning routines to minimize the risk of potential transmission. In the following sections, we will explore precautionary measures and provide a step-by-step guide on how to effectively sanitize pillows after COVID-19, ensuring a safe and hygienic sleep environment for everyone.

Precautionary Measures

Before diving into the step-by-step guide on how to sanitize pillows after COVID-19, it is crucial to understand when and why pillows need to be sanitized. While the risk of pillow contamination may vary depending on individual circumstances, there are certain situations where precautionary measures should be taken.

One of the key indicators that your pillows might require sanitization is if you or someone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has had close contact with an infected individual. In such cases, it is important to assume that the pillows may have come into contact with respiratory droplets and take appropriate steps to minimize the risk of potential transmission.

Additionally, if you have recently had guests staying at your home, it is a good practice to sanitize the pillows they used, especially if they were showing symptoms of illness or have tested positive for COVID-19. It's better to err on the side of caution and prioritize the safety of everyone in your household.

Safe handling and disposal of potentially contaminated pillows are equally important precautionary measures. If you suspect that a pillow has been directly exposed to respiratory droplets or has been used by an infected individual, it is advisable to handle it with gloves and place it in a sealed bag before sanitization. This minimizes the risk of unintentional spread of the virus during the cleaning process.

For high-risk individuals, such as those with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions, it is crucial to maintain extra vigilance in sanitizing pillows. Regularly cleaning and disinfecting pillows can provide an added layer of protection and peace of mind.

By taking these precautionary measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of potential transmission and ensure a safer sleep environment for yourself and your loved ones. In the next section, we will provide a detailed step-by-step guide on how to effectively sanitize pillows after COVID-19, allowing you to sleep soundly knowing that you have taken the necessary precautions.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Sanitize Pillows after COVID-19

Now that we understand the importance of sanitizing pillows after COVID-19 and have taken the necessary precautionary measures, let's delve into the step-by-step guide on how to effectively sanitize your pillows. By following these instructions, you can ensure that your pillows are thoroughly cleaned and free from potential contaminants.

Gathering the Necessary Supplies

Before you begin the sanitization process, it is essential to gather all the necessary supplies. This will ensure a smooth and efficient cleaning process. Here are some items you will need:

  1. Gloves: Disposable gloves will protect your hands from potential exposure to any pathogens during handling.

  2. Laundry Detergent: Choose a mild or hypoallergenic laundry detergent that is suitable for your pillow's fabric type.

  3. Sanitizer or Disinfectant: Consider using a sanitizer or disinfectant specifically formulated to eliminate viruses and bacteria. Ensure it is safe for use on pillows.

  4. Washing Machine or Basin: Depending on the type of pillow and your preferred cleaning method, you will need either a washing machine or a basin for hand washing.

  5. Dryer or Drying Rack: You will need a proper drying surface such as a dryer or a drying rack, or even outdoor space for sun drying.

Washing and Drying Pillows Properly

The next step in the sanitization process is washing and drying your pillows properly. This will help remove any potential contaminants and ensure a clean and fresh sleep surface. The following methods can be used, depending on the type of pillow and your preferences:

Machine Washing

For machine washable pillows, follow these steps:

  1. Check the care label: Read the care label on your pillow to ensure it is safe for machine washing. Some pillows may have specific instructions or limitations.

  2. Preparing the pillow: Remove the pillowcase and pillow protector, if applicable. Place the pillow in the washing machine, ensuring there is enough space for it to move freely.

  3. Selecting the appropriate cycle: Choose a gentle or delicate cycle with warm water. Avoid using hot water, as it may damage certain pillow materials.

  4. Adding detergent: Add the appropriate amount of mild detergent to the machine. Avoid using excessive amounts, as this can leave residue on the pillow.

  5. Starting the wash cycle: Start the machine and allow it to complete the wash cycle. If possible, select an additional rinse cycle to ensure thorough cleaning.

  6. Drying the pillow: Once the washing cycle is complete, transfer the pillow to the dryer. Use a low heat setting and add dryer balls or tennis balls to help fluff the pillow. Alternatively, you can opt for air drying or sun drying, as discussed in the next section.

Hand Washing

For pillows that are not machine washable or require extra care, hand washing is a suitable option. Follow these steps:

  1. Preparing the pillow: Fill a basin or sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Gently agitate the water to create suds.

  2. Submerging the pillow: Immerse the pillow in the water and press it down to ensure it is fully submerged. Allow it to soak for a few minutes.

  3. Cleaning the pillow: Using gentle motions, squeeze and knead the pillow to remove dirt and stains. Pay extra attention to any soiled areas.

  4. Rinsing the pillow: Drain the soapy water and refill the basin or sink with clean water. Submerge the pillow and repeat the squeezing and kneading process to rinse out the detergent thoroughly.

  5. Removing excess water: Gently press the pillow to remove excess water without wringing or twisting it, as this may damage the pillow's shape and structure.

Drying Pillows Effectively

Once you have washed your pillows, it is essential to dry them thoroughly to prevent the growth of mold, mildew, or unpleasant odors. Proper drying is crucial to maintain the integrity and hygiene of the pillows. Let's explore the different drying methods and how to choose the most suitable one for your pillows.

Air Drying

Air drying is a natural and effective method for drying pillows. Here's how to air dry your pillows:

  1. Squeeze out excess water: After hand washing or removing the pillows from the washing machine, gently squeeze out any excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting the pillows, as this may damage their shape.

  2. Patting and shaping: Place the pillows on a clean and absorbent surface, such as a towel or drying rack. Pat them gently to remove any remaining moisture and reshape them to their original form.

  3. Adequate air circulation: Position the pillows in a well-ventilated area. Ensure there is enough air circulation around the pillows to facilitate drying. This can be achieved by placing them outdoors or near an open window.

  4. Flipping and rotating: Periodically flip and rotate the pillows to ensure even drying. This will help prevent any damp spots from developing.

  5. Allow sufficient time: Depending on the weather conditions and the pillow's material, air drying may take several hours to a couple of days. Be patient and allow the pillows ample time to dry completely.

Using a Dryer

Using a dryer is a convenient and efficient method for drying pillows. However, not all pillows are suitable for machine drying, so it is important to check the care label before proceeding. Here's how to dry your pillows using a dryer:

  1. Check the care label: Ensure that the pillows are labeled as safe for machine drying. Some pillows may have specific restrictions or temperature recommendations.

  2. Fluffing and reshaping: Before placing the pillows in the dryer, fluff them up and reshape them to their original form. This will help them dry more evenly.

  3. Low heat setting: Set the dryer to a low heat or delicate cycle. High heat can damage certain pillow materials or cause shrinkage.

  4. Add dryer balls or towels: Place a couple of dryer balls or clean towels in the dryer with the pillows. These will help fluff the pillows, prevent clumping, and promote faster drying.

  5. Regular checks: Periodically check the pillows to ensure they are drying evenly. If necessary, rearrange or separate them to prevent clumping.

  6. Complete drying: Once the pillows are dry, remove them from the dryer and give them a gentle pat to restore their shape. Allow them to cool down completely before placing them back on your bed.

Sun Drying

Sun drying is an excellent natural method for drying pillows, especially during sunny and warm weather. Here's how to sun dry your pillows:

  1. Squeeze out excess water: After washing, gently squeeze out any excess water from the pillows. Avoid wringing or twisting them.

  2. Patting and shaping: Pat the pillows gently to remove excess moisture and reshape them to their original form.

  3. Suitable location: Find a clean and dry outdoor area that receives direct sunlight. Choose a spot where the pillows won't be exposed to dust or debris.

  4. Proper positioning: Lay the pillows flat or hang them on a clothesline, ensuring they are evenly spaced and have enough room for air circulation.

  5. Regular turning: Periodically turn the pillows to ensure all sides are exposed to the sun. This will help speed up the drying process and prevent any potential dampness.

  6. Complete drying: Allow the pillows to dry completely under the sun. This may take several hours or even a full day, depending on the weather conditions and the pillow's material.

Additional Steps for Specific Types of Pillows

Different types of pillows require specific care when it comes to sanitization. While the previous sections covered general washing and drying methods, it's important to address the nuances of certain pillow materials. Let's explore the additional steps you should consider for specific types of pillows:

Memory Foam Pillows

Memory foam pillows are known for their contouring and support. However, they require special care to maintain their shape and functionality during the sanitization process. Here are some additional steps to consider for memory foam pillows:

  1. Spot cleaning: Instead of fully immersing memory foam pillows in water, it is best to spot clean stains or spills using a mild detergent or a mixture of water and vinegar. Avoid saturating the foam with excessive moisture.

  2. Handwashing: If the memory foam pillow is machine washable, follow the instructions mentioned earlier for machine washing. However, ensure that the pillow is thoroughly dried to prevent any moisture retention within the foam.

  3. Air drying: Memory foam pillows should be air dried rather than using a dryer or direct sunlight. Place the pillow in a well-ventilated area, allowing it to dry naturally. Avoid exposing memory foam to excessive heat or direct sunlight, as it can cause damage.

Down Pillows

Down pillows provide a luxurious and soft sleep experience. However, the delicate nature of down requires extra care during sanitization. Consider the following additional steps when sanitizing down pillows:

  1. Pre-treatment: Before washing, check the care label of your down pillows. Some may require pre-treatment with a specialized down cleaner or enzyme-based detergent to effectively remove stains and odors.

  2. Gentle cycle: When machine washing down pillows, opt for a gentle cycle to prevent excessive agitation that may damage the down clusters. Use a mild detergent specifically formulated for down-filled items.

  3. Extra rinse: Add an extra rinse cycle to ensure thorough removal of detergent residues from the down pillows. Residual detergent can cause clumping and affect the loftiness of the down.

  4. Proper drying: Dry down pillows on a low heat setting in the dryer. Adding a couple of clean tennis balls or dryer balls will help fluff the down clusters and restore their loftiness. Monitor the drying process closely to avoid over-drying, as excessive heat can damage the down.

Synthetic Pillows

Synthetic pillows, such as polyester or microfiber-filled pillows, are generally more durable and forgiving when it comes to cleaning. However, it is still important to follow the appropriate steps for sanitization. Here are some additional considerations for synthetic pillows:

  1. Machine washing: Most synthetic pillows can be safely machine washed following the instructions provided earlier. Ensure you use a gentle cycle and a mild detergent suitable for synthetic materials.

  2. Drying: Synthetic pillows can be dried in a dryer on a low heat setting. Adding dryer balls or clean towels will help fluff the pillows and maintain their shape during the drying process.

Remember to always check the care label and manufacturer's instructions for your specific pillow type. These additional steps will help ensure that your memory foam, down, or synthetic pillows are effectively sanitized without compromising their quality or longevity.

Tips for Maintaining Pillow Hygiene Post-Sanitization

Once you have successfully sanitized your pillows after COVID-19, it's important to maintain their hygiene to prevent future contamination. Here are a few tips to help you maintain a clean sleep environment:

  1. Regularly wash pillowcases: Launder your pillowcases frequently, ideally once a week, to remove sweat, oils, and other debris. This will help prevent the buildup of allergens and maintain a fresh sleeping surface.

  2. Use pillow protectors: Consider using removable and washable pillow protectors to provide an extra layer of defense against stains, allergens, and dust mites. These protectors can be easily cleaned and help extend the lifespan of your pillows.

  3. Opt for pillow covers: Using zippered pillow covers can further protect your pillows from allergens, dust, and spills. These covers can be easily removed and washed, providing an additional barrier for a cleaner and healthier sleep environment.

  4. Vacuum regularly: Vacuuming your pillows periodically can help remove any dust or debris that may accumulate over time. Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to gently clean the surface and crevices of the pillows.

By following these tips and maintaining a consistent cleaning routine, you can ensure that your pillows remain fresh, hygienic, and free from potential contaminants.

Frequently Asked Questions and Troubleshooting

As we near the end of this comprehensive guide on how to sanitize pillows after COVID-19, it's time to address some common questions and concerns that readers may have. By providing answers to these frequently asked questions and troubleshooting common issues, we aim to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to effectively sanitize your pillows. Let's dive in:

Can I bleach my pillows for sanitization?

Bleach can be effective in killing certain pathogens, but it is not recommended for sanitizing pillows. The harsh chemicals in bleach can damage pillow materials and potentially cause respiratory irritation. Instead, opt for suitable detergents, sanitizers, or disinfectants that are specifically formulated for pillow sanitization.

Can I use steam cleaning methods?

Steam cleaning can be an effective method for sanitizing various surfaces, but it is not recommended for pillows. The high heat and moisture generated by steam cleaners can damage the pillow's structure and may not effectively penetrate deep into the filling to eliminate potential pathogens. Stick to washing and drying methods discussed in this guide for optimal results.

How often should I sanitize my pillows?

The frequency of pillow sanitization depends on various factors, including personal preference, usage, and exposure risks. As a general guideline, it is recommended to wash and sanitize your pillows every 3 to 6 months, or more frequently if you or someone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, experienced symptoms, or had close contact with an infected individual.

What should I do if my pillows are not machine washable?

If your pillows are not machine washable, you still have options for sanitization. Consider spot cleaning stains or using hand-washing methods as discussed earlier in this guide. Alternatively, professional cleaning services may offer specialized pillow cleaning methods that can effectively sanitize non-machine washable pillows.

Can professional cleaning services sanitize pillows effectively?

Professional cleaning services can be a valuable resource for thorough pillow sanitization, especially if you have specific concerns or non-machine washable pillows. Ensure you choose a reputable service that follows proper sanitization procedures and uses safe and effective cleaning methods.

Can I use UV light or disinfectant sprays for sanitization?

UV light and disinfectant sprays can be effective in killing certain pathogens on surfaces. However, their effectiveness on pillows may vary depending on factors such as the pillow material, depth of penetration, and exposure time. It is advisable to exercise caution and follow the manufacturer's instructions when using these methods on pillows.

What precautions should I take while handling potentially contaminated pillows?

When handling potentially contaminated pillows, it is crucial to prioritize personal safety. Wear disposable gloves to minimize direct contact with the pillow surface. If possible, place the pillow in a sealed bag before handling to prevent unintentional spread of the virus. Remember to properly dispose of the gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after handling the pillows.

How can I prevent future contamination of pillows?

To prevent future contamination of pillows, consider the following preventive measures:

  1. Practice good hygiene: Regularly wash your hands, especially before touching your face or handling pillows. This reduces the risk of introducing pathogens onto the pillow surface.

  2. Cover pillows: Use pillow protectors or zippered pillow covers to create a barrier against sweat, oils, allergens, and dust mites. Wash these covers regularly to maintain cleanliness.

  3. Launder bedding regularly: Wash your pillowcases, sheets, and other bedding items frequently to remove dirt, sweat, and allergens. This helps create a clean sleep environment.

  4. Avoid sharing pillows: Minimize the sharing of pillows, especially with individuals outside your household, to reduce the risk of potential transmission and contamination.

By implementing these precautions and maintaining good hygiene practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of future contamination and ensure a cleaner and healthier sleep environment.


Congratulations! You have now reached the end of this comprehensive guide on how to sanitize pillows after COVID-19. We have covered the importance of pillow sanitization, precautionary measures, step-by-step instructions for washing and drying pillows, additional steps for specific pillow types, and addressed common questions and concerns.

Remember, maintaining a clean and hygienic sleep environment is crucial for overall health and well-being, especially during these challenging times. By following the methods and tips outlined in this guide, you can effectively sanitize your pillows and create a safe space for restful sleep.

Sleep tight, knowing that you have taken the necessary steps to safeguard yourself and your loved ones. Sweet dreams!

In conclusion, sanitizing pillows after COVID-19 is an essential step in maintaining a clean and safe sleep environment. By understanding the behavior of the COVID-19 virus on surfaces and taking necessary precautions, you can effectively minimize the risk of potential transmission through contaminated pillows.

We have explored the step-by-step guide on how to sanitize pillows, covering various washing and drying methods for different pillow types. Whether you have memory foam pillows, down pillows, or synthetic pillows, there are specific steps to follow to ensure thorough sanitization.

Additionally, we addressed frequently asked questions and provided troubleshooting tips to help you navigate any concerns or uncertainties you may have had. By following the guidelines and maintaining good hygiene practices, you can maintain a clean and healthy sleep space for yourself and your loved ones.

Remember, the fight against COVID-19 requires a comprehensive approach, and ensuring the cleanliness of commonly used items like pillows is an essential part of that. By prioritizing regular pillow sanitization, you contribute to the overall well-being and safety of your household.

As we continue to adapt to the challenges brought forth by the pandemic, it is important to remain vigilant and stay informed about best practices for hygiene and sanitization. Stay up to date with guidelines from reliable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Now it's time to put this knowledge into action. Take the necessary steps to sanitize your pillows, create a clean sleep environment, and sleep soundly, knowing that you have taken proactive measures to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Sleep well, stay safe, and remember, we are all in this together.

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