how to wash a bamboo pillow

How to Wash a Bamboo Pillow (in 5 Easy Steps)

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Bamboo pillows typically have a bamboo viscose covering and are filled with shredded foam. The viscose is both soft and durable, with greater strength than other fabrics. The foam, of course, allows the pillow to mold to your head and neck to ensure a restful night’s sleep.

Although the bamboo fabric is anti-microbial, hypoallergenic, and touted to resist dust mites, odors, and germs, it does get dirty from use and may need to be washed.

This may leave you wondering how to wash a bamboo pillow. While the procedure differs depending on whether your bamboo pillow’s filling is shredded foam or memory foam, both can be washed successfully with a bit of care.

Can You Wash a Bamboo Pillow?

Like other pillows, bamboo pillows can get dirty with use. The good news is that they are easier to wash than you may think.

But you do need to use cold water. Heat destroys bamboo fibers and may cause the fabric to shrink. With a bit of extra care, you can machine wash many bamboo pillows in cold water on the delicate cycle of your washer.

How Often Should You Wash a Bamboo Pillow?

Bamboo pillows typically last 2 to 3 years and require washing every six months with regular use. Your bamboo pillow may require washing sooner if you accidentally spill liquid on it or if it is otherwise soiled.

How do You know if a Bamboo Pillow Needs to be Washed?

Soiled areas or stains are an obvious sign that your bamboo pillow needs washing, but there are other more subtle signs to be aware of.

  • Waking up in the night or changing sleeping positions. Washing and fluffing your bamboo pillow may provide the support you need for restful sleep.
  • Increased allergies — Although there is some evidence that bamboo pillows are less likely to cause allergic reactions from bacteria and dust mites in the pillow, says Web MD. However, even bamboo pillows harbor some dust mites and dust. Washing your pillow may bring relief from allergies.
  • Neck pain. Like restless sleep, neck pain in the morning may indicate that your pillow isn’t providing the support you need. Washing the pillow, a fluffing it may correct the problem.

How to Wash a Bamboo Pillow

wash a bamboo pillow in 5 easy steps

Not all bamboo pillows are alike. While most are filled with shredded foam, some contain memory foam. Before washing your bamboo pillow, it is best to check the manufacturer’s washing instructions.

Washing instructions can typically be found on the pillow’s tag. Unless your pillow tag states otherwise, follow this procedure for how to wash a bamboo pillow that’s filled with shredded foam.

  1. Remove the covering of the pillow and wash it separately. Most coverings zip off for easy washing.
  2. Select cold water. The heat from hot water can damage the fibers of your bamboo pillow.
  3. Add mild detergent without bleach. Bleach may damage the bamboo fibers or the foam filling, ruining your pillow.
  4. Choose the delicate cycle for washing the pillow.
  5. Remove the pillow from the washer promptly. The inside of your washer, particularly in warm, humid weather, is a breeding ground for bacteria and mildew. Forgetting the pillow (or neglecting to remove it promptly) can lead to mildew or mold in the pillow, as it needs to be dried right away. For more on removing mold, check out “How to Get Mold Out of Clothes”

This is exactly how to wash a bamboo pillow, with input from experts at Cleaner Digs.

How to Dry a Bamboo Pillow

Although some may suggest drying your bamboo pillow in the dryer, it is risky, as heat from the dryer may shrink or damage the bamboo fibers or the foam filling. Air drying the pillow prevents damage to the pillow.

  1. Place the pillow in a well-ventilated area. Setting it atop a clothes rack or shelving that allows air to flow around it is ideal.
  2. Turn the pillow frequently, particularly if it is lying on a flat surface where air cannot circulate freely.
  3. Use a fan to circulate air, if necessary, but avoid heat sources, like a hair dryer or heater.
  4. Check the pillow to see if it is dry by squeezing it between your hands or touching it to your face. Your pillow must be free of all moisture before you use it again.

How to Wash a Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow

Many bamboo pillows have a memory foam filling. Machine washing is a no-no for memory foam pillows. You will need to hand wash your bamboo pillow if it has a memory foam filling. Here’s how.

  1. Fill a wash basin or tub with tepid water. The water should be warm enough for you to handle the pillow comfortably but cool enough to avoid damaging the pillow from heat.
  2. Add just enough mild detergent to create gentle suds. Too much detergent will cause the inside of the pillow to get soapy, making it difficult to rinse the pillow. Begin with a small amount of detergent and add more later if necessary.
  3. Immerse the pillow into the wash to saturate it.
  4. Rub the outside of the pillow with a soft cloth, using a circular motion, to clean the surface. Pay attention to any stains or soiled areas. Rub gently to avoid damaging the pillow.
  5. Squeeze the pillow to work the soapy water into the inner parts of the pillow. Do this several times until you are sure the soap and water have reached the inside of the pillow.
  6. Allow the pillow to soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Agitate the pillow in the water with your hands to help lift dirt and soil from the pillow.
  8. Drain the water and rinse the pillow, squeezing it occasionally to remove all traces of soap residue. You can either fill the basing with clean water or run the pillow under running water.
  9. Rinse the pillow until the water runs clear and there are no signs of soap left in the pillow.
  10. Gently squeeze the pillow to remove as much water as possible but avoid twisting or wringing the pillow as this may damage the memory foam.

How to Wash Bamboo Pillowcases

Bamboo pillowcases are easy to wash in your washer. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Place the pillowcase in the washer (it is best to wash them separately).
  2. Select the cold water setting on your washer.
  3. Add mild laundry detergent. Bleach is not recommended for bamboo and may damage the fibers.
  4. Select the delicate cycle on your washer.
  5. Line-dry the bamboo pillowcases.

How to Make a Bamboo Pillow Softer

how to make a bamboo pillow softer

Your new bamboo pillow may need to be broken in, especially if it was delivered via mail or courier. Because they are typically shipped tightly rolled to allow for more convenient shipping, your new pillow may be flat, lumpy, and certainly not as soft and fluffy as you expected.

There is an easy way to fix that.

  1. Remove the pillow from its wrapper.
  2. Shake the pillow so it can begin to resume its natural shape.
  3. Fluff it gently with your hands and break apart any clumps of foam inside the pillow.
  4. Place the pillow in the dryer with several tennis balls or dryer balls.
  5. Select the air dry or low dry setting on your dryer. Avoid heat as much as possible.
  6. Allow the pillow to tumble (and fluff) for about 10 minutes. Check it often to assess whether it needs more time to fluff up.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is bamboo pillow made of?

The covering of your bamboo pillow is made from ‘bamboo viscose,’ a type of rayon made from the cellulose extracted from bamboo wood pulp.

The inside of your bamboo pillow may be made of memory foam, shredded foam, or even polyester, depending on the manufacturer.

Can you wash a bamboo pillow in the washing machine?

Bamboo pillows with shredded foam or polyester fiberfill fifillings can be washed in the washing machine on the delicate cycle with cold water. However, bamboo pillows with a memory foam filling need to be hand-washed.

Can you dry bamboo pillows in the dryer?

Bamboo pillows need to be air dried as the heat from the dryer can damage the fibers and ruin the pillow. However, you can put the pillow in the dryer on the air-dry cycle to finish drying it or fluff up your bamboo pillow. Remember the dryer itself isn’t the enemy, heat is.

How long do bamboo pillows last?

Bamboo pillows typically last 2 to 3 years with regular use, which is slightly longer than ‘regular’ pillows last. According to the Sleep Foundation, traditional pillows usually need to be replaced in 1 to 2 years. Pillows in guest rooms or other areas where they are not used on a nightly basis will last longer.

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Ken Lyons
Ken Lyons is one of the founding members of Cleaner Digs. He is also the senior editor and contributing author. Ken has owned and operated two cleaning companies in the past: one commercial and one that serviced residential customers. He writes for Clean Digs to share his professional expertise on cleaning and organization. He's been a fastidious cleaning nut and writing about it for more than a decade.