A pillow is one of those things a lot of us forget to clean on a regular basis, assuming that a pillow protector or pillowcase will protect the pillow. However, this is a misconception. Your pillows, shams and even your throws attract all the dead skin, bed bugs and other creepy bacteria over the course of their use, and must be cleaned on a regular basis. You can follow these simple steps and keep those unwanted visitors out of your pillows! Step 1: Instructions Label Your pillow will always come with an instructions label. Before deciding to wash or dry clean your pillow, read the instruction label. Step 2: Wash vs. Dry Clean If your instructions advise you to only dry clean your pillow, do not attempt to wash it just to save a trip and few dollars. Take your pillow to the dry cleaners and ask them to do the job. Step 3: Machine Wash vs. Hand Wash If you are going to wash you pillow in the washing machine, try and do so in a separate cycle without any other linen or washing. Pillows should always be washed on ‘delicate’ mode. This prevents them from losing shape. Pillows have different fillings, and therefore, for best results always use gentle soap and, if possible, avoid washing powder. Liquid soap is usually the best option to go with. When the wash cycle has finished, go through the rinse cycle at least two to three times to make sure all the soap has been completely washed out. Do the same for the spin feature to take out maximum amount of water from the pillows. If you are washing your pillows by hand, fill in a tub of warm water with some mild liquid soap and a few drops of bleach. Immerse the pillow completely into the water and cover the tub. Leave for about half an hour. Then squeeze the pillow a few times to get dirt and stuff out. Rinse under running water for at least 15 – 20 minutes, or till you feel that the soapy feel has disappeared. Place on a flat surface to get rid of excess water. Step 4: Drying Whether you wash your pillows in a washing machine or hand wash them, it is important to make sure you have a completely dry and fluffy pillow. Pillows require plenty of space in the dryer, so do not put any other articles in the dryer with them. During the dry cycle, take them out a few times to fluff them up using your hands. If you are planning to be out whilst they are in the dryer, you can add some tennis balls or clean sneakers to do your job. As the pillows have filling in them, they will require a few cycles to completely dry out. Once you feel they are dry, give them a few punches to bring back the fluffiness, and leave in an airy and moisture free room for a day or so, as there may still be some moisture deep inside the pillow that you may not be able to feel but is a perfect breeding ground for mould. Once finished, you are ready to use your pillows again.