The best way to wash a pregnancy pillow depends on the material used inside and on the cover. Some materials are easy to clean while others require special care.
Whichever type of pregnancy pillow you have, the first thing you should do before washing it is to check the instructions on the care label. If there are no instructions or there is no label, use these tips to safely wash your pregnancy pillow.
Pillows with removable covers
Before you dunk the entire pillow in the washing machine, check if the cover is removable. Look for a zipper on the side of the pillow.
If the cover is removable, wash the cover instead of the entire pillow. This will keep the pillow clean without having to put the whole pillow in the washer.
Certain pillows, especially organic ones, specifically require that you only wash the cover to avoid degrading the natural filling.
If you are not sure whether you should wash the whole pillow, visit the manufacturer website and look at the product description or contact their customer support.
Cleaning pregnancy pillows in a washing machine
If the manufacturer says it’s okay to clean the pillow in the washing machine, go ahead and put it in. Just make sure it fits properly.
If you have to stuff it inside, it’s probably too big and could get damaged. You’ll have to hand-wash it.
For pillows with removable coverings, remove the cover first before putting it in the washing machine. But if the pillow has loose filling – e.g. microbeads – you’ll want to tightly close the zipper on the cover to prevent the filling from spilling out.
Most pregnancy pillows call for a gentle cycle which will not damage the fabric. Use either cold or warm water depending on the instructions on the label (either is okay with most types of pregnancy pillows).
Do not add any bleach or strong detergent to the washing machine. This will damage most fillings and fabric covers. A gentle detergent will do.
During the rinse cycle, add some fabric softener. This will soften the fabric and prevent static in materials like polyester.
You can then dry the pillow outside in the sun or in a dryer.
If you use a dryer, set the heat to low or medium. The pillow will take longer to dry but it’s safer. Too much heat can cause the pillow to shrink or in some cases, melt.
Hand washing pregnancy pillows
Hand washing is usually recommended for organic pregnancy pillows and pillows with delicate materials. It’s also the best way to wash large full-body pregnancy pillows that won’t fit in a washing machine.
You’ll need a couple large tubs, one with warm water for the first wash and the other with cold water for rinsing.
Add a mild detergent to the warm water and soak the pillow in. You can let it soak for a while or wash it immediately.
To get rid of stains, scrub with a soft brush.
Do not use bleach or any harsh detergent.
Wring the pillow to remove excess water and then dunk it into the cold water to rinse it. You can add some fabric softener to the cold water if you want.
Dunk and wring the pillow several times until it drips clear water when you wring it. Air-dry it in the sun for several hours until it is completely dry.
You can also dry it in a dryer on low or medium heat.
Cleaning stains on pregnancy pillows
If machine or hand washing the maternity pillow doesn’t remove the stain, try using a solution of vinegar and warm water.
Use a soft brush to scrub off the stain until it goes away.
For stubborn stains that won’t away with vinegar, use baking soda. Sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the stain and let it sit for an hour.
Then scrub the spot with warm water or a mixture of warm water and vinegar.
For an extra-dirty or discoloured pillow, soak it overnight in water mixed with mild detergent. But do not use bleach.
Note: Always make sure the pillow is completely dry before you use it again. A damp pillow can develop mould which is especially dangerous for an expectant woman.