This strange pillow cleaning hack is trending on TikTok… but does it work?

Should you try this weird TikTok pillow cleaning hack? Sleep experts aren’t convinced…

TikTok pillow cleaning hack
(Image credit: Cottonbro Studio / Pexels)

Due to its surging popularity, TikTok has quickly become a go-to outlet that many people turn to for sleep tips. Whether you should take health advice from TikTok-ers is a story for another day but TikTok sleep hacks have become increasingly popular on the social media platform. Having tried some myself, I can confidently say some of them can actually help you get a better, more restful night’s sleep.

But a new sleep-related hack that’s currently doing the rounds on TikTok is dividing opinions. A recent video from @janelleandkate shows a mum and daughter cleaning a pillow together, and the unusual method – which has raked in over 8 million views – is being seriously questioned by viewers and sleep and bedding experts alike.

This TikTok pillow cleaning hack promises to ‘pull out toxins’ from used pillows by submerging it in hot water and a concoction of other ingredients. In the video, the pillow is soaked, scrubbed and squeezed in a mixture of hot water, baking soda, laundry detergent, salt, oranges and lemons… strange!

While the best pillows can last between 1 - 4 years, there are a few telltale signs that you need to replace your pillow. Yellowing, smells, lack of shape and losing their support are all key indicators that your pillow is past its best. But if you regularly clean your pillow, you can keep its deterioration at bay… but maybe not using this cleaning method from TikTok.

While many viewers of the pillow cleaning hack video were amazed by how dirty the water was, others weren’t entirely convinced and pointed out that the colour of the water was probably because of the fruit. Putting that aside, this cleaning trick could have some merit to it so I spoke to Bensons for Beds to see if it actually works… and I’m sorry to say that it might not be the answer to your pillow cleaning prayers.

“A pillow should last up to two years as long as they’re well taken care of,” said Rachel Marshall, Bensons for Beds Brand Manager. “This means taking note of the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning and being wary of any over complicated methods which might actually damage the fibres.”


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When asked about whether the TikTok pillow cleaning hack worked or not, Marshall’s verdict was a resounding no. “Always exercise caution when it comes to any excessive cleaning routines which use unnecessary ingredients in the process. As we invest lots in the best mattresses and bedding, it’s crucial they’re well cared for to make them last as long as possible… and yes, stay clear of adding fruits to your bed cleaning routine!”

When it comes to cleaning pillows, it’s important to take into consideration what they’re made out of. Materials like down, memory foam and latex require different kinds of treatments so your pillow retains its bounce and fluffiness, and so it continues to support your head, neck and spine while you sleep.

We have a full guide on how to clean a pillow where you can find full tutorials on hand and machine washing. But if you’re ever in doubt, it’s always best to check the label and make sure you have the best sheets to shield your pillow. A good pillowcase or protector “acts as a barrier from sweat, oils and dirt, and will keep deep cleaning to a minimum.”

For more pillow cleaning advice, here’s how to remove yellow stains & odours from your pillow.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!