Pondering on Pillows: How often do they need to be cleaned?

9 March 2023

Staff must regularly clean pillows and pillowcases to ensure the safety and comfort of guests and maintain high levels of hygiene. Here’s a guide to help determine how often to clean pillowcases, pillow protectors, and pillows.

Although it may seem confusing, all of the layers on your pillows need to be washed at different times. We have created a helpful guide to assist staff in determining how frequently to wash all the different layers of your beautiful pillows.


Pillowcases are the lesser of the two protective layers and are frequently used more to add to the style of a room, rather than work as a pillow protector. Staff should change and wash pillowcases after every stay, even if they appear to be clean. Being the most outer layer, pillowcases collect sweat, oils, dirt, and bacteria from guests’ skin and hair, which can cause health problems and discomfort for future guests. Changing pillowcases after every guest ensures that fresh, clean linens are always in place for the next user.

Pillow Protectors

Pillow protectors are the main layer of protection to extend the life of your pillow. To maintain a hygienic sleeping environment for guests, staff should wash pillow protectors once a week, or more often if they become visibly soiled. Pillow protectors can still accumulate dust, dirt, and bacteria from guests skin and hair over time. Pillow cases are thinner and work as a first barrier, whereas the protector is the main source of protection for the pillow itself.


Ideally, accommodation providers need to machine wash pillows on a gentle cycle using a mild detergent at least twice a year. Even though you have worked hard to protect your pillow with a case and a protector, pillows still gather bacteria, dust and dirt. Washing the pillows will remove anything that has collected inside the pillow over time. If you do not wash pillows, they can cause an unpleasant odor and/or health problems for guests. Washing will be needed more frequently if the pillows become soiled or visibly stained.

It is important to note that a pillows lifespan is approximately 1-2 years if kept clean. A pillow needs to be replaced when they become lumpy and flat, as they can no longer provide adequate support for guests. When a pillow is washed, it can refresh the filling inside to help the pillow from going lumpy. Pillows are the most important part of a guest having a good nights’ sleep, so it is important you always provide pillows that are of top quality.

In addition to regular cleaning, hotels should consider using pillows, pillowcases and pillow protectors made from hypoallergenic materials. This will reduce the risk of allergens and other health concerns for guests.

By establishing a cleaning routine and following these guidelines, hotels can ensure that their guests have a safe and comfortable stay. If you have any questions, please give us a call on 1800 161 354 or send an email to [email protected].

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