Full body pillows have become extremely popular for their ability to provide comfort and support while sleeping or resting. Their long design contours to the body’s shape, helping improve alignment and reduce pressure points. Full body pillows come in many shapes like U-shaped, C-shaped, and J-shaped to cradle different areas.
But like all bedding, full body pillows require regular washing to eliminate dirt, oils, and dead skin cells that accumulate over time. Properly washing them is important for good hygiene and ensuring their longevity.
However, cleaning these oversized pillows does require some special considerations compared to standard bed pillows. In this guide, we’ll discuss some key questions around washing full body pillows and provide tips for effective cleaning.
Should it be washed by hand or in the washing machine? At what temperature should I wash a large pillow with cotton? Read to find out how to wash a body pillow.
What is a Full Body Pillow?
A full body pillow is an extra-large, elongated pillow designed to support the entire body for side sleeping or resting. They come in straight, curved, and flexible shapes from 4 to 6 feet in length.
The extended size contours along the body help maintain proper spine alignment, relieve pressure points, and provide all-over comfort and support. This makes them popular for:
- Pregnancy support
- Nursing support
- Reducing joint pain
- Leg, knee, and hip alignment
- Neck and back support
- Side sleeping comfort
They come in various fill materials like memory foam, polyester, microbeads, buckwheat hulls, and more. Covers are usually soft, removable, and machine washable.
Why Wash a Full Body Pillow?
Like regular bed pillows, full body pillows need periodic washing to keep them fresh and clean for optimal comfort and health:
- Remove oils & skin cells – Body oils, sweat, and dead skin cells deposited on the pillow over time. Washing removes these contaminants that can cause odors.
- Prevent allergens & dust mites – Dust mites feed on the dead skin and oils on pillows. Washing regularly reduces allergy triggers.
- Freshen outer cover – The removable pillow cover absorbs skin and hair oils. Washing it often keeps the cover and inner pillow clean.
- Extend lifespan – Cleaning full-body pillows regularly helps maintain their shape, performance, and longevity over years.
How Often To Wash a Full Body Pillow
Most manufacturers recommend washing full-body pillows every 2 to 3 months. However, the ideal frequency depends on several factors:
- Use – Wash more often if used every night, by multiple people, or in a warmer climate with more sweating.
- Covers – Wash the outer cover at least biweekly. The inner pillow may not need washing as often if using a cover.
- Fill material – Pillows like latex or memory foam only need occasional spot cleaning unless the cover needs washing.
- Allergies – Wash at least monthly for allergy sufferers to control dust mites and dander.
- Visible soil – Wash when visibly soiled, even before the 3-month mark. Spot clean stains immediately.
Listen to your nose – If a pillow starts smelling, it’s time for a wash.
Washing Methods for Full Body Pillows
There are several ways to effectively clean full body pillows depending on the material and construction.
Many full body pillows today have removable machine washable covers. Check the care tag to confirm washing instructions.
If machine washing the entire pillow:
- Use a front or top loading washing machine with sufficient room for the pillow. Measure first.
- Wash on a gentle cycle using cold water and a mild detergent. Skip fabric softener.
- Add a few tennis balls to help fluff and dry the pillow.
- Air dry or tumble dry on low. Never use high heat.
Washing with other items risks tearing the pillow. Wash alone or with large blankets.
To hand wash in a bathtub or large sink:
- Fill with cool water and a small amount of mild detergent.
- Immerse the pillow and gently press and knead the sudsy water through.
- Drain dirty water and refill the tub to rinse clean. Repeat rinsing if needed.
- Press the pillow gently with towels to remove excess moisture.
- Air dry the pillow flat on a rack or dry surface.
For small stains or soiled areas:
- Mix mild detergent with water in a bowl or spray bottle.
- Lightly sponge and blot the stain, working the solution into the area. Avoid over-saturating.
- Rinse by dabbing clear water with a clean wet cloth.
- Air dry the spot fully before using or storing the pillow.
This targets problem areas without fully washing. Vacuum first to lift and remove loose dirt.
Drying Full Body Pillows
- Lay flat on a drying rack or a clean towel. Shape while drying to help retain the form.
- Can speed up drying time in the dryer on air or no heat tumble settings. Always air dry memory foam pillows.
- Use a few clean tennis balls in the dryer to separate pillow fibers and improve airflow.
- Once fully dry, place back inside the cover before using or storing.
Handy Tips for Washing Full Body Pillows
Follow these handy tips when washing and caring for your full body pillow:
- Wash the removable cover at least every 1-2 weeks, even if the inner pillow doesn’t need washing yet.
- If your full body pillow has a non-removable cover, wash the entire pillow when the cover needs cleaning.
- Check the fill material – memory foam and latex pillows require only occasional spot cleaning of the cover.
- Wash large or dense pillows in batches if needed. Very heavy pillows become difficult to clean properly when overstuffed in a washer.
- Use the delicate cycle setting on the washing machine and cold water to protect fibers.
- Air fluff pillows occasionally to restore loft and shape between washes. Allow to fully dry before using or putting cover back on.
- Spot clean stains immediately with mild detergent and cold water using a sponge or soft brush.
- Replace old pillows that become misshapen or flattened. Washing can help extend lifespan but all pillows wear out over time.
Full body pillows improve comfort and support during rest by cradling the body’s natural contours. However, they require periodic washing to keep them fresh, allergen-free, and performing at their best.
Carefully follow the cleaning instructions for your specific pillow. In general, machine washing on a cold, gentle cycle or hand washing with mild detergent and air drying work well for most models. Concentrate on washing the removable cover regularly.
With some simple tools and supplies, plus these handy cleaning tips, you can easily keep your full body pillow clean and ready to provide you many nights of healthy, restful sleep.
Frequently Ask Questions
What is the best way to dry a heavy U-shaped pregnancy pillow?
For heavy U-shaped pregnancy pillows, it’s best to air dry them to avoid damage in the dryer. Lay the pillow flat on a clean, dry surface or drying rack. Use a fan to speed up drying if needed. Make sure the pillow is completely dry before putting the cover back on.
Can I wash a latex full body pillow in the washing machine?
Latex pillows should never be machine washed or dried as this can damage the latex material. Only wash latex full body pillows by spot cleaning the cover as needed with a mild detergent, cold water, and damp sponge or cloth. Air dry completely.
How do I get body oil stains out of my polyester full body pillow?
To remove body oil stains from a polyester full body pillow, mix a mild detergent with cool water and lightly sponge the stain. Avoid rubbing or soaking the area. Rinse well with clean water and blot dry with a towel. Allow to air dry before using or replacing the cover fully.
What’s the best way to wash a J-shaped down full body pillow?
For a J-shaped down full body pillow, machine wash on a gentle cycle using cold water and mild detergent. Wash alone – do not overload the machine. Tumble dry on low heat with a couple tennis balls to fluff and retain shape. Remove promptly when dry.
Can I wash my microbead full body pillow with my regular laundry?
It’s best to wash a microbead full body pillow separately from your regular laundry to avoid overloading the machine. Wash alone or with other large items like blankets using a gentle cycle, cold water, and mild detergent. Air or tumble dry on low.
How often should I wash the cover of my buckwheat hull full body pillow?
For optimal hygiene, you should aim to wash the removable cover of your buckwheat hull full body pillow at least every 1-2 weeks. Wash the inner pillow itself every 2-3 months or whenever you notice odors. Always check the tag for specific care instructions.
What’s the best way to wash an 8-foot long C-shaped pillow?
For extra long C-shaped pillows, washing in batches is easiest. Divide the pillow in half and wash each half separately using a gentle cycle, cold water, and mild detergent. Air dry completely flat before placing back in the cover.