Thursday, September 1, 2011

How to Clean A Pillow, The Hard Way

Back when I was up North, I had this jacket.  It was warm, slightly puffy but not like a Hand Grenade, and very comfortable.  The shell was a cream synthetic that was smooth and silky.  A very light jacket and a joy to wear. 

In the cooler seasons, you would wear your jackets from October through April, sometimes into May.  They would get dirty, especially when they were lighter colors. 

So the brain storm hit!

Why not toss the thing into the washer?  It was a large capacity washer, lets see what happens!

Not so good an idea.  It made it through and the synthetic fill now was packed down to these bumpy little mats.  It was run through the dryer, but it was never the same. 

Poor lamented jacket was retired.  Progressing onto leather jackets of the same "weather band" that were easier to care for, after all Black Leather Jackets were worn by bikers for a reason.

This thursday, after replacing the pillow on the bed, it was time to see if it could be washed.  After all, the cover had turned from white to eggshell through the years and it was a wonder how many societies of "things" were living in that pillow.

Wonderful thing though, the pillow originally was an expensive polyester fill that was supposed to feel like a down pillow.  Easily the most comfortable bed pillow I had ever had the pleasure to use.

And Use...
And Use...
And Use...

There was a trip to the local big box store and a replacement pillow that was "Firm for Side Sleepers" bought for a fraction of the price.  It's so firm that it may work as a fill for the hole in the fence, but that's a different story.

After all, who doesn't sleep with their neck bent at a 45 degree angle and walk all day wondering why their shoulders hurt?

Into the washer it goes! 
Extra large capacity, Check!
Super-duper XXSanitary Cycle, Check!
Water Heater Turned up to 140F, Check!

We were going to boil that pillow and any little societies that would crawl up into the ears overnight "back to the stone ages"!

The replacement was already bought so if the pillow survived without feeling like it was full of Pea Gravel, no problem, if not... It was broken already!

The washer was loaded with soap, and the button was started to send its load to the Spa. 

Over the next hour, in the living room, you could hear the Jet Engine noises from the strange front loader that sometimes actually gets the clothes clean.  "Sometimes" because if you use the recommended amount of soap, it cheerfully doubles the cycle to get that soap out of the clothes. 

Onward into Hour Two of the spa date with destiny for the pillows, spinning through the spin dry cycle at 1200 RPM.

Finally it stopped.  The beeper sounded after the door on the front snapped it's relays and it was begging for attention.


Hauling myself into the tiny laundry room, the door was opened and the pillows were inspected.  There was so much water inside the poly-pile that a second spin dry cycle happened.

So much for that water huh? That will show you... er, me!

Didn't help at all!  Man against machine against pillow, just close the door and send it through for a third spin dry!

The problem was that the outer shell of that pillow was a miracle fabric.  It swelled up and formed an almost water tight seal against the outside world.  This was one for the books!

Pulling the pillow out, there was more than one gallon of water still inside of that shell. 

Being helped by my dog, Lettie, was not the best time as I pulled the first pillow out, and held it high above her saying "Back, Girl!" and "I need to go to the bathroom with this!".

Here was where having a McNab Dog helped - she backed herself up, turned around, and went out into the house where she waited outside the bathroom door for me.

I followed her with the strangely not dripping, heavy, and newly white pillow.  Having its payload of water inside, I flattened it out as best I could, and begun to wring the thing out.  There was a river's worth of water in that case!

I managed to wring most of the water out of the pillow, and repeated the action, complete with Dog's Help, with the other pillow.   Did you know that a gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds?  Wringing what had to be 30 pounds of water out of two pillows, my 48 inch chest is now sore from the effort.  Sitting down at the keyboard with a sigh of relief, there has to be room on The Fitness Channel for this... "The Wash Your Pillow Workout!"

Since the action was repeated, it also repeated the condition of the long gone jacket where I now had small clumps of poly-fill inside of a wet pillow case.

So the end result is you can wash a pillow but you'll end up with a lumpy face when it finally dries - and that will take all day with wringing and tumble drying, and even with the assistance of a helpful Mc Nab Dog, you won't end up with perfect.

It will be clean though!

So now with both of those pillows dried and lumpy, the fill will join the third pillow.   There are some zipper linings for bed pillows in the house which will be filled, a bit at a time, with the poly-fill from the other three pillows.   Make two out of three, and shred the stuff as time goes on.

Welcome to the new hobby!  Fiber Shredding!  A game the whole family can play!  Sit in front of the TV with your lumpy pillows and shred fiber for fun and profit! 

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