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How to Get Your Bed Pillow Bright and Clean

A grocery store staple does the trick

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Here's a cleaning method that can bring your bed pillow back to life.

Have a favorite pillow? Don’t want to throw it out yet? When you really like your bed pillow, but stains or a dinghy yellow look make you feel that all you can do is throw it in the trash, wait — you may be able to hang on to it for a while longer.

Pillows should be cleaned or replaced every three months to get rid of the gross stuff, like skin cells, mites, perspiration and body oils — and, yes, those mouth stains that can absolutely ruin your favorite headrest.

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Here’s a method that can clean your pillow and get it bright, white and bouncing back to life.

All you need are your favorite laundry detergent, washing soda and, for a special scent, lavender essential oil.

The washing soda is the trick, says Jessica Kielman of eHow. It is known for its stain-removing abilities. You can make your own by cooking baking soda in a pan at 450 degrees for about an hour until the moisture is removed, or you can buy it.

Steps to Clean Your Bed Pillow

  1. Set your washing machine to the hottest temperature and for a large load.
  2. Add your normal amount of laundry detergent to the hot running water in the washing machine.
  3. Now add ½ cup of washing soda as the water continues to fill.
  4. For a soothing, fresh scent add five drops of lavender essential oil.
  5. After you've added the detergent and washing soda, put no more than two pillows at a time into the washing machine. (Place the pillows evenly, to keep the machine from getting out of balance.)
  6. After the washing cycle is complete, put the pillows into the dryer on low heat for a full cycle. (This will fluff them and restore them to their original shape.)

It is important to make sure the pillows are dry completely. If necessary, and depending on your machine, run them through a second low-heat cycle to be sure.

Once your pillow is bright and clean, you can cover it with a waterproof pillow cover to extend its life. Among the choices are terrycloth waterproof covers, velour covers and ones that shield you from allergens.

When should you toss out your pillow? Try this test: Fold the pillow in half. If it stays folded, then it’s time to ditch it. If the pillow goes back to its usual shape, you can keep it.

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