Method to ‘easily’ remove ‘tough’ yellow pillow stains

Lynsey Crombie shares how to check if you need new pillows

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Not cleaning pillows or their covers creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungus to grow. This can trigger allergic reactions or a home for dust mites, and so they should be cleaned every three to six months. A cleaning expert has shared how to spot clean pillows for those who own materials which cannot be placed into the machine.

Karl Huckerby, cleaning expert at Spare and Square, said: “One of the main problems with some of our favourite pillows is that they can’t be machine washed.

“Latex and memory foam pillows are famously known for their inability to be machine washed, so instead it’s necessary to hand wash them through a method called spot cleaning.

“Of course, you can take these pillows to a dry cleaner, but expect to pay a hefty sum. Spot cleaning is when you clean a specific spot of the pillow, instead of just throwing the whole thing into the wash.”

A variety of natural products can be used when spot cleaning a pillow, including baking soda and white vinegar.

Karl said: “Because vinegar is an acid, it helps remove any stains from your pillows. This method is great for tough stains that might have been there a while.”

Firstly, cover the stain or yellow mark in white vinegar, making sure to fully saturate it. Next, mix baking soda and white vinegar in a 1:1 ratio, until it becomes a paste.

The cleaning expert recommended rubbing this paste into the stain and leaving it for a few minutes to work. He added: “Use a wet cloth to remove the paste completely.

“You could also fully rinse the stain with more water but this isn’t ideal if you don’t want to get the full pillow wet.”

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Lemon juice is also an acid, and acts as a natural bleaching agent which Karl said “takes out stains easily”. To make a homemade concoction in a similar way, mix two parts of warm water with one part lemon juice.

Use a clean cloth or small towel to dab the mixture with the stain, repeating this step until the stain comes out fully.

Karl added: “You can also use salt and lemon juice to spot clean.  Cut a fresh lemon or just lemon juice and pour or squeeze the juice onto the stain.

“Make sure to cover the stain completely. Pour salt over the top of the lemon juice and stain before using a dry cloth to dab at the juice and salt until the stain has disappeared.

“Be careful to dab instead of rubbing as the salt could scratch the pillow. Then, rinse the stain well with water.”

For pillows which can be placed into the machine, refer to their wash label to see what wash and temperature suit them best.

Martin Seeley, CEO and sleep expert at MattressNexDay, told “When washing them, make sure to use a mild washing powder and include an extra spin cycle at the end to get rid of as much moisture to prevent the build-up of mould.

“Feather pillows can be washed the same as down pillows. However, they should receive a gentle cycle setting due to being made of natural materials. Do, however, check the care label for full instructions.” 

To keep pillows fresh in-between washes, the expert recommended using vinegar or bicarbonate of soda, two great affordable products.

The sleep expert explained: “The acidity in vinegar acts as a superb deterrent against dust mites. Mixing some with water and a few drops of an essential oil of your choice, will leave your pillow smelling fresh. 

“Plus, it will leave you secure in the knowledge that they’re not going to enjoy the experience. While vinegar helps to repel dust mites, and it also breaks down the proteins in their droppings, which are responsible for the allergens that many sleepers react to. 

“Distilled white vinegar is best and the solution should be sprayed, rather than poured, over the whole pillow.

“You may have seen online hacks on how to clean your bed with bicarbonate soda. Although it’s found its place on the internet, this tip has been used for decades to freshen up mattresses that may smell a little past their sell-by [date]. 

“The trick is to sprinkle yours with bicarbonate of soda and leave it for a few hours.”

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