How To Wash Backrest Pillow?

To wash a backrest pillow, it’s essential to first check the care label for specific instructions. Most backrest pillows with removable covers can be machine washed in cold water with mild detergent on a delicate cycle, then air dried or tumble dried on low heat. However, for backrest pillows without removable covers or with memory foam inserts, spot cleaning or hand washing is generally recommended to maintain the shape and integrity of the pillow.

Understanding Your Backrest Pillow

Before you dive into cleaning your backrest pillow, it’s important to understand its materials and construction. Backrest pillows—also known as husband pillows or reading pillows—typically consist of a supportive, cushioned back with armrests. They are designed mainly for comfort and support while sitting up in bed or on a sofa, for activities such as reading, watching TV, or working on a laptop. The materials commonly used in backrest pillows include polyester fiberfill, memory foam, or a combination of various supportive materials.

Check the Label

Virtually every pillow should have a care label with washing instructions. This label will tell you if the pillow has any specific washing requirements or if it can be placed in a washing machine. If the care label is missing or unreadable, you’ll have to use good judgment or seek advice based on the material of the pillow.

Preparation for Washing

Before you begin, remove any loose debris from the surface of your backrest pillow. If your pillow has a removable cover, unzip it and take it off. Shake it out to get rid of dust and any stray crumbs or dirt.

Pillows with Removable Covers

With removable covers, you’re in luck, as they are the simplest to wash. Treat any stains on the cover with a gentle stain remover before washing. Place the cover in the washing machine, setting it to a gentle cycle with cold water to prevent shrinkage or color fading. Use a mild detergent that is appropriate for the fabric. Once the cycle is finished, avoid high heat in the dryer, as this could cause shrinkage; instead, opt for air drying or a low heat setting.

Pillows without Removable Covers

For pillows without removable covers, you will need to proceed with caution. Spot cleaning small areas with a damp cloth and a small amount of gentle detergent can help remove light stains. Avoid saturating the material, as this could damage the internal filling.

Deeper Cleaning for Non-Removable Covers

If the backrest pillow without a removable cover needs a deeper clean, consider hand washing it in a bathtub with warm water and gentle detergent. Gently agitate the pillow with your hands to clean it, then rinse it thoroughly to remove all the soap. Press out as much water as possible without wringing, which could damage the pillow’s structure. To dry, place it in an area with good airflow or outside in the shade. Do not expose memory foam or synthetic fillings to direct heat or sunlight, as they can degrade the materials.

Cleaning Memory Foam Inserts

Memory foam should never be machine washed since doing so can break down the foam material. For memory foam backrest pillows or inserts, vacuuming with an upholstery attachment can help remove dust and allergens. If liquid spills occur, blot the area immediately and air dry. For deeper cleans, you can use a mild detergent with water to spot clean but do this sparingly to preserve the foam’s structure and support.

Maintaining and Protecting Your Backrest Pillow

Frequent cleaning can wear out your pillow over time, so it’s important to protect it from everyday dirt and spills. Using a removable washable cover not only makes cleaning easier but also extends the life of your backrest pillow. Avoid eating or drinking in bed to minimize the chances of spills, and keep the pillow away from pets if possible, as their claws and fur can soil or damage the pillow.

Odor Elimination

Sometimes, backrest pillows can develop odors from sweat, moisture, or general use. To combat this, sprinkle baking soda on the pillow surface, let it sit for a few hours or overnight, then vacuum it off. This method also works for memory foam inserts. For a fresher scent, some people opt to use a fabric freshener spray that is safe for use on their pillow materials.

Finishing Thoughts

Washing a backrest pillow doesn’t have to be a challenging task. It’s all about knowing the materials you’re dealing with and choosing the appropriate cleaning method. Remember to always check the care label for manufacturer recommendations, use gentle detergents, and avoid high heat when drying. By taking proper care of your backrest pillow, you’ll ensure that it remains comfortable, supportive, and fresh for a long time. Though it may take some effort, keeping your favorite comfort accessory in top condition is certainly worth it for the countless hours of relaxation it provides.


  • Ollie Lane

    My name is Ollie Lane, the zestful spirit and sleep enthusiast editor at GoodSleepHub. Blending my expertise in Sleep Technology with a dash of whimsy, I'm all about transforming your nights from blah to ta-da! I believe great sleep is a blend of science, art, and a bit of fairy dust. When I'm not knee-deep in the latest sleep gadgetry or jotting down notes for my next blog post, you can find me strumming on my ukulele or chasing after my mischievous beagle, Benny. My approach to sleep is like my music: playful, innovative, and always in tune with your needs.

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