Step-by-Step: Easy Ways to Clean and Maintain Your Wool Pillows

Wool pillows are a luxurious and natural choice for your bedding, offering a range of benefits, including temperature regulation, moisture wicking, and excellent support. However, one of the challenges of owning wool pillows is knowing how to clean and maintain them properly.

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to clean wool pillows, ensuring that they remain fresh and in top condition for years to come.

Understanding Wool Pillows

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s essential to understand the unique properties of wool and why this natural fiber requires special care when cleaning.

The Benefits of Wool

Wool is a fantastic choice for pillows for several reasons:

  1. Temperature Regulation: Wool fibers can naturally adjust to temperature changes, keeping you comfortable in both hot and cold environments.
  2. Moisture Wicking: Wool can absorb and release moisture, helping to keep you dry and comfortable throughout the night.
  3. Support and Comfort: Wool pillows offer excellent support and can maintain their shape for an extended period with proper care.
  4. Breathability: Wool fibers are highly breathable, allowing for adequate air circulation and a comfortable night’s sleep.

The Sensitivity of Wool

Wool fibers are sensitive to heat, water, and agitation, requiring special care when cleaning to avoid damage or shrinkage. Understanding how to clean wool pillows correctly will ensure their longevity and maintain their unique benefits.

Alternatives to Frequent Washing

While keeping your wool pillows clean is essential, frequent washing can harm their longevity. Here are some alternatives to frequent washing that can help maintain the freshness of your pillows without causing damage:

  1. Wash Pillowcases Regularly: Instead of washing the entire pillow, focus on washing the pillowcases frequently. This helps keep the pillow clean and reduces the need to wash it.
  2. Use Dual Covers: Two covers on your wool pillows can provide an extra layer of protection against soiling and reduce the need for washing.
  3. Consider Alternative Pillows: If you prefer to wash your pillows more frequently, consider using alternatives made from synthetic fibers or other natural materials that can withstand frequent washing.

Washing Wool Pillows: Guidelines and Tips

When cleaning your wool pillows, following the proper guidelines and techniques are crucial to ensure the best results. Below are some essential steps and tips for washing wool pillows:

Read the Label

Always check the label on your wool pillow for specific cleaning instructions. Some wool pillows may only be suitable for a spot or dry cleaning, so following the manufacturer’s recommendations is crucial.

Use a Large Commercial Washer

Washing wool pillows in a large commercial washer (60lb capacity or more) is ideal, as this allows for better water flow and prevents fiber lumping. Avoid using small home washers, as these can cause damage to the wool fibers.

Select a Delicate Wash Cycle with Cold Water

Choose a delicate wash cycle on your washing machine and use cold water to protect the wool fibers from shrinking and felting.

Use a Gentle Detergent

Select a mild or detergent formulated explicitly for wool, such as Woolite or Eucalan. Avoid harsh chemicals or bleach, as these can damage the wool fibers.

Hand Washing

If you prefer to hand wash your wool pillow, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a bathtub or large sink with cold or lukewarm water and add a small amount of gentle detergent.
  2. Submerge the pillow in water and gently squeeze and swirl it. Avoid rubbing or agitating the pillow.
  3. Allow the pillow to soak for about 15 minutes, then rinse it in clean water, squeezing out the soap.
  4. Gently squeeze out as much water as possible, then wrap the pillow in a dry towel and press out any remaining moisture.

Drying Wool Pillows

Proper drying techniques are crucial when learning how to clean wool pillows. Follow these guidelines to ensure your wool pillows dry correctly and maintain their shape and loft:

Use a Large, Low-Temperature Dryer

Place your wool pillows in a large dryer and set them to a low-temperature setting. Avoid using a hot or small home dryer, as these can cause damage to the wool fibers.

Ensure Constant Tumbling

Make sure the pillows tumble constantly throughout the drying process without obstruction. Adding a tennis ball or dryer ball can help to maintain proper tumbling and air circulation.

Avoid Overloading the Dryer

Do not attempt to dry more than two pillows at a time, and avoid running mixed loads with other items. This ensures the pillows receive adequate tumbling and air circulation for proper drying.

Fluffing After Drying

Once the pillows are dry, use a separate fluff cycle with air only or low heat to fluff the pillows back to their original shape.

Compression and Airing

Wool pillows will naturally compress over time due to the weight of your head and body moisture. To maintain the loft and freshness of your wool pillows, follow these steps:

  1. Refluff the Pillow: Place the pillow in a dryer with two tennis or dryer balls, and set the dryer to an “air only” or “low heat” setting. Allow the pillow to spin for about 10 minutes to help restore its loft.
  2. Air the Pillow: Remove the pillowcase and periodically air your pillow in the sunlight on a dry day. This helps to release any trapped moisture and maintain the pillow’s freshness.

Washing the Cover vs. the Whole Pillow

In some cases, it may be more practical to wash only the cover of your wool pillow instead of the entire pillow. For example, if your wool pillow has a zippered cover, remove the wool filling and wash the cover separately, following the washing guidelines mentioned earlier.

Steaming the Wool Filling

If you prefer to sanitize and re-fluff the wool filling without washing the entire pillow, steaming is a viable option:

  1. Boil about an inch of water in a large pot and place a colander or steamer basket above the water.
  2. Steam large handfuls of wool for up to 2 minutes, then dry the wool and restuff the pillow.

Dry Cleaning

Wool pillows can also be dry cleaned; however, this method may leave trace amounts of toxic chemicals in your natural pillows. If you dry clean your wool pillows, consider using a certified “green” dry cleaner to minimize chemical exposure.


Understanding how to properly clean wool pillows is essential in maintaining their unique benefits and longevity. By following the guidelines and techniques outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can enjoy the comfort and luxury of wool pillows for years to come.


How do you refresh a wool pillow?

To refresh a wool pillow, start by giving it a good shake to fluff up the fibers. Then, place it in a well-ventilated area to allow air circulation. You can also spot clean any stains with mild detergent and warm water. Avoid submerging the entire pillow.

How do you make wool pillows fluffy again?

To make wool pillows fluffy again, you can put them in the dryer on a low or air-only setting. Add a few clean tennis balls or dryer balls to help fluff up the fibers. Alternatively, you can gently hand-fluff the pillow by pulling and separating the wool fibers.

How long do wool pillows last?

The lifespan of wool pillows can vary depending on usage and care. With proper maintenance, wool pillows can last for several years. It’s recommended to replace them every 2-3 years or when they start losing their loft and support. Regularly fluffing and cleaning the pillows can help prolong their lifespan.

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