Backrest Pillow Care

Top tips to keep your favourite sit up pillow clean and comfy

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Liz has been a professional content manager since the internet was invented. Getting better quality sleep has always been a passion of hers – especially once she had kids! Liz now writes and curates our content, making sure to test all the products she can to give you an unbiased opinion. Learn more about our team.

Nothing feels as good as waking up feeling fresh and well-rested – but that doesn’t always happen.

Your mattress is comfy! Your pillow is just right! You went to sleep early enough!

But still you feel tired and don’t want to get out of bed.

Having a decent pillow is not enough. An old pillow filled with dust mites and dead skin could be costing you a good night’s sleep.

Spoiler alert!

Your backrest pillow needs to be cleaned.

So, what care instructions must you follow when cleaning your backrest pillows? You’re probably thinking of throwing it in the washing machine and that’s it.  That’s not usually a good idea.

But don’t worry, this article contains all the information you need on how to care for your backrest pillows, so they serve you longer. 

Table of Contents

Backrest Pillow Care

How Do You Wash A Bed Rest Pillow?

It is vital to wash backrest pillows to remove dead skin cells and oils. This will help to keep the pillow clean and free of bacteria.

However, you must be careful when washing backrest pillows to avoid ruining them. Make sure to use a gentle detergent and cool water, and avoid scrubbing the fabric too harshly.

Here are our two best tips for washing backrest pillows:

How Do You Wash A Bed Rest Pillow


Backrest and wedge pillows have a unique shape, and therefore putting them inside a washing machine may not be an option. Instead, you can try using a vacuum cleaner to remove the dirt and dust from the pillow.

Make sure to use the gentle suction setting and avoid pressing too hard on the fabric.

This means that you won’t have to wash your pillows as frequently, but you will still enjoy using nice clean pillows.

Hand Washing and Air Drying

Most backrest pillows come with a removable cover. Therefore, when handwashing the pillow, you can easily remove the cover and clean it separately when handwashing the pillow. Use cold or warm water and a mild detergent to clean the cover.

Ensure that you don’t scrub roughly to avoid loosening the cover.

Do NOT use a dryer as this may deform or damage the material of the cover, thus forcing you to buy a new backrest pillow.

Once you have air-dried your backrest pillow, return the filling and enjoy the support your back needs!

Factors To Consider When Washing Your Backrest Pillow

Now that you’ve learned that you should wash pillows, there are various factors you should note before getting down to business.

Removable or Non-removable Cover

If the pillow has a removable cover, then you can easily wash it in cold or warm water with a mild detergent. However, if the cover is not removable, make sure that you don’t scrub roughly to avoid loosening the cover. 

Pillow Size

Another factor that you can consider when washing your pillow is the size of the pillow. If the pillow is large, it might be challenging to fit it in the washing machine. In this case, you can either hand wash it or take it to a laundromat.


The third factor to consider when washing a backrest pillow is the type of detergent you will use. Make sure that you use a detergent that is gentle on the fabric. You can also use a detergent designed for baby clothes, as it will be gentle on the fabric of your pillow.

How Much Do You Need Your Pillow?

Lastly, if you must prop yourself up, make sure that you have alternative pillows you can use while your backrest pillows dry. That way, you can rest comfortably and avoid developing back or neck pain.

What To Use And What Not To Use When Cleaning Backrest Pillows

In my experience, you can extend the life of your backrest pillow by cleaning it the right way. To do so, you must make sure you understand what to use and what to avoid when cleaning them.

Here are a few things I noticed that make sure my backrest pillows get clean without ruining their color or design:

  • Mild detergent
  • Warm water
  • A cleaning cloth if you are handwashing
Detergent and clean cloth

Here is what to avoid:

  • Harsh detergents
  • Bleach

What are we saying?

The gross truth is that backrest pillows accumulate oils, dust and they are a good breeding ground for dust mites and other pathogens.

However, strong chemicals are a NO; whether you choose machine washing or washing by hand.

Experts also warn against scrubbing roughly, so your best play is to ensure they don’t become too dirty. Easy, right?

Yellow Stains On Backrest Pillows

When you purchase a new pillow, it is beautiful and firm, thus supporting your head and providing a healthy spinal alignment. However, as you use it, you will realize that it loses its firmness, and also, yellow spots start appearing. 

If you weren’t sleeping during science class, you’ll remember that even when you’re asleep, your body releases salts, water urea, and other wastes through sweating.

So your sweat combined with oils creates yellow spots on your backrest pillow.

If you notice these spots, you can remove them by soaking your bed sheets and pillowcase in water and adding detergent.

However, if you notice when the stains have already set in, they will not come off.

So make washing your pillows a regular habit!

How Often You Should Wash Back Rest Pillows

Cleaning your backrest pillow depends on various factors. However, ensure that you clean it once per week if you use it frequently and at least once every month if you dont use it often. Additionally, each time you see a stain spot, clean it to ensure it doesnt set it.

Factors That Determine How Frequent You Should Wash Your Pillow


Cute cat under the pillows

The type of pet you have can affect how often you should clean your pillows.  for example, if you have a dog, you should clean your backrest pillows more often.

Dogs need plenty of exercise, so they’re outside a lot. Outside, there is mud…

What does that mean?

If you can’t keep your furry friend away from your backrest pillow, be prepared to wash it frequently or keep a hamster…

Cats usually spend most of their time indoors and are less likely to bring in outdoor contaminants.

Where do you use your backrest pillow?

If you’re only using it for watching movies or reading, it’s not going to get as dirty as if you use it for napping or sleeping.

So people who use their backrest pillow in bed due to issues like back pain and improved sleep quality must wash them more often.

The hygiene of the person using the backrest pillow is also a determining factor in how often it needs to be cleaned. If you don’t shower or bathe often, your backrest pillow will get dirty much faster than someone who practices good hygiene.

With or without?

If you sleep with clothes on, you should wash your backrest pillow every two weeks. If you don’t sleep with clothes on, you should wash your backrest pillow every month.

If you sleep without clothes, your backrest pillow absorbs the sweat and oils from your skin, which can cause the pillow to develop bacteria and odor.

How To Disinfect Pillows That Cannot Be Washed

There are washable pillows that can help reduce the amount of dust mites and allergens in your bedroom.

However, backrest pillows made of other materials are not washable and will need to be replaced more often.

How To Disinfect Pillows That Cannot Be Washed_

Feather Pillows

The best part about feather pillows is that they are very comfortable and can help improve your sleep. They also conform to the shape of your head and neck, providing support and reducing the amount of pressure you feel.

However, feather backrest pillows are on this list because they are not washable.

If you wash feather pillows, they will get softer over time and need to be replaced more often.

Foam Pillows

Ever seen how soap foam behaves when you put your hand on it? Imagine lying on such a surface.

Foam pillows are among the most popular. One of the main reasons is that they are very comfortable and soft. They also conform to the shape of your head and neck, providing support and reducing the amount of pressure you feel.

Down Pillows

Down pillows are made up of feathers that come from the chest area of a duck or goose. Thus they should be treated the same way as feather pillows, and you should avoid washing them.

Memory Foam Pillows

Memory foam pillows are also among the unwashable pillows because they will lose shape and firmness if washed.

If you prefer a latex pillow, you are lucky because you can give it a good wash as they do not lose their shape or firmness. 

So what can you do except replace pillows regularly?

How about disinfecting your pillows? You can disinfect your feather and latex pillow as regularly as you’d want.

All you need to do is use a spray disinfectant or borax. Let the pillow absorb the disinfectant for an hour before vacuum-cleaning it.  If you dont like the smell of disinfectant, you can air-dry your pillow, and it will be good to use.

When Do You Know It's Time To Replace Bed Rest Pillows?

Your bedding affects how well you sleep and your overall health. That is why you should make sure you get new pillows when the ones you are using no longer serve their purpose.

Your backrest pillow is supposed to help you get into a good position whether you want to fall asleep or read a book on a couch. So if you realize that it is no longer supporting your spinal alignment, it’s time to get a new pillow.

Additionally, if you wake up with a stiff or sore neck, wherever you use your backrest pillow, it is no longer serving its purpose, and so you need to replace it.


Memory foam pillow. Latex pillow. Feather pillow. All these have in common that they have a life span, and thus unless you take proper care of your backrest pillow, they will be ruined, forcing you to replace them often.

Replacing pillows requires money, so this means wasting money you would have spent on more important matters.

So ensure you understand how to clean different materials that make backrest pillows to ensure they last longer, and help you get the sleep you deserve.