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How to make old pillows feel new again with a simple wash cycle

Is your pillow a little flaccid or smelly? Make it like new with these tips.

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Alina Bradford/CNET

They say that you need to replace your pillows every so often to get the most support. Once you find a great pillow, though, it's hard to let go. These steps will not only fluff a flat pillow, but will also sanitize it. I use this technique and it works great.

Be sure to use these tips only on synthetic pillows, though. Down pillows can be ruined with this technique.

  1. Throw your pillow in the washer, by itself, with your regular detergent and some fabric softener.
  2. Set your washer to the Sanitize mode or on the hottest wash cycle your washer provides.
  3. Choose the fastest spin cycle, too. You want as much water wrung out of the pillow as possible before it goes in the dryer.
  4. What soil setting you choose depends on how dirty you think your pillow is. Make sure to set it high enough.
  5. When the wash is over, put your pillow in the dryer with a dry, clean bath towel. This will speed up the drying process.
  6. Select the Sanitize mode on your dryer or the highest heat setting.
  7. Set the timer to 30 minutes. It may take more time if you are using a king-size pillow or less time for full or twin-size pillows. If you pull your pillow out of the dryer and it's still damp, put it back in and select the damp dry mode or set the timer for another 10 minutes. If you put it in for more than 10 minutes, check on it from time to time to see if it's dry. Overdrying really doesn't damage the pillow, but it does waste electricity. You don't want to air dry the pillow. The rotation of the dryer drum fluffs the pillow as it dries.
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