Do Hotels Wash Pillows? The Truth Behind Hotel Pillow Hygiene

Have you ever stayed in a hotel and wondered if they wash the pillows between guests?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Yes, hotels do wash pillows. However, the frequency and method of washing may vary depending on the hotel’s standards.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at hotel pillow hygiene and answer some common questions about what happens to those pillows you rest your head on when you stay in a hotel.

We’ll explore the different types of pillows commonly found in hotels, the cleaning practices of different hotels, and what you can do to ensure you’re staying in a hygienic hotel room.

The Different Types of Hotel Pillows

When it comes to pillows, hotels have a variety of options available for their guests. Here are the three most common types of hotel pillows:

Down and Feather Pillows

Down and feather pillows are a popular choice in luxury hotels. These pillows are made from the soft undercoating of geese or ducks and are known for their plush feel. They are lightweight and provide excellent support for the head and neck. However, they can be expensive and may cause allergies for some guests.

Polyester Pillows

Polyester pillows are a budget-friendly option for hotels. They are made from synthetic fibers and are hypoallergenic. These pillows are firmer and provide good support for the head and neck. However, they may not be as comfortable as down and feather pillows and may lose their shape over time.

Memory Foam Pillows

Memory foam pillows are a relatively new addition to the hotel pillow scene. They are made from high-density foam that molds to the shape of the head and neck. These pillows provide excellent support and can alleviate neck pain. However, they can be expensive and may not be suitable for guests who prefer a softer pillow.

It’s important to note that some hotels may offer a combination of these pillows to cater to the varying preferences of their guests.

Hotel Pillow Cleaning Practices

Hotel pillow hygiene is a concern for many travelers, especially those who are sensitive to dust or allergens. While hotels typically wash bed linens after each guest’s stay, what about pillows? Do hotels wash pillows, and if so, how often?

Frequency of Pillow Cleaning

The frequency of pillow cleaning varies among hotels. Some hotels wash pillows after every guest’s stay, while others may only wash them every few months or even less frequently. According to a survey conducted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, 70% of hotels wash their pillows every three months or less, while 8% wash them less than once a year.

However, it’s important to note that many hotels use pillow protectors or covers that are changed after each guest’s stay, which can help prevent the accumulation of dust and allergens on the pillow itself.

Pillow Washing Methods

When hotels do wash pillows, they typically use commercial washing machines that are designed to handle large loads. Pillows are washed using hot water and a detergent that is effective at removing stains and odors.

Some hotels also use special disinfectant solutions or ozone machines to sanitize pillows and remove any bacteria or viruses that may be present.

Dry Cleaning

While washing pillows in a washing machine is the most common method used by hotels, some hotels may choose to dry clean their pillows instead. Dry cleaning uses chemicals to clean and sanitize the pillows, and can be effective at removing stains and odors.

Replacing Old Pillows

Regardless of how often hotels wash their pillows, they will eventually need to be replaced due to wear and tear. According to the same survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, most hotels replace their pillows every two years.

If you are concerned about the cleanliness of hotel pillows, you may want to consider bringing your own pillow from home. This can give you peace of mind and help ensure a good night’s sleep without worrying about the hygiene of the hotel pillows.

How to Ensure Your Hotel Room is Hygienic

When staying in a hotel, it is important to prioritize your health and safety. One aspect that often goes overlooked is the cleanliness of your hotel room, specifically the pillows. Here are some tips on how to ensure your hotel room is hygienic:

Read Hotel Reviews

Before booking a hotel, it’s important to read reviews from previous guests. Look for comments regarding the cleanliness of the room and pillows. If multiple guests have complained about dirty or unwashed pillows, it may be best to choose a different hotel.

Bring Your Own Pillow

If you are particularly concerned about the hygiene of hotel pillows, consider bringing your own pillow from home. This way, you can be sure that the pillow is clean and free of any germs or bacteria.

Request Fresh Pillows

Upon arrival, request fresh pillows from the hotel staff. Most hotels have a supply of extra pillows that they can provide upon request. This way, you can be sure that the pillows you are using are clean and have not been used by previous guests.

Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces

While the hotel staff may clean your room on a daily basis, it’s still a good idea to disinfect high-touch surfaces yourself. This includes doorknobs, light switches, and remote controls. Use disinfectant wipes or spray to sanitize these surfaces.

Wash Your Hands

One of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of germs is to wash your hands frequently. Make sure to wash your hands before and after touching any high-touch surfaces in your hotel room, including pillows.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your hotel room is hygienic and free of any germs or bacteria. Remember, your health and safety should always be a top priority!


In conclusion, hotels do wash pillows, but the frequency and method of washing can vary. It’s always a good idea to take precautions and ensure your hotel room is as hygienic as possible. By understanding the different types of pillows, hotel cleaning practices, and taking some simple steps to protect yourself, you can rest easy knowing you’re staying in a clean and comfortable hotel room.

So, the next time you stay in a hotel, don’t be afraid to ask for fresh pillows or bring your own. Your health and comfort are worth it!

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