TikToker Claims Cleaning Your Pillow With Fruit is Effective: Expert Weighs In

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Strange Cleaning Pillow Hack on TikTok

Cleaning your pillows may be low on the priority list, but you can’t ignore the fact they need to be cleaned. Pillows accumulate germs from your face and hair that manifest and build up overtime. Yucky, who wants to sleep on that?  

As you put off cleaning your pillows, you’ll inevitably encounter persistent odors and stubborn yellow stains embedded in them. Nevertheless, there’s no need to feel stuck with the only choice of purchasing a new one. Thanks to TikTok, a useful DIY trick can come to the rescue.

The TikTok account, @janelleandkate, creates content on a variety of topics from easy family recipes, cute nail designs, and even how to clean a dirty pillow. 

Janelle, one of the content creators, and her daughter garnered over 300k likes in their video where they submerged a pillow into a bathtub filled with extremely hot water. She then adds some baking soda, liquid detergent and salt. (1)

It doesn’t end there. You might gasp when you hear the next couple of ingredients. Last, but not least, she adds orange and lemon slices that she claims will leave the pillow smelling fresh and clean. After leaving the pillow to sit for a couple of hours, the tub turned from clear water to now yellow. A little satisfying, but gross at the same time. 

Once it’s all clean, Janelle said to put it in the dryer with some tennis balls to bring back the fluff of the pillow. We were amazed by how this cleaning concoction was able to get all the dirt out, but the comments made us think twice. 

Even though the content creator seemed confident in all the toxins she was able to get out of her pillow, the comments didn’t seem to be on the same page. 

One comment said, “All that yellow came from the fruit u put in it.” Another said, “Getting all the toxins out with one of the most toxic laundry detergent.” 

TikTok hacks are normally a hit or miss, but if this cleaning tip can make your pillows last a little longer, we’re sold. We spoke with some experts on it to see if this is one video we should add to our saves or keep scrolling on our “for you” page in search of a better solution. 

Should You Give This Hack a Shot? The Expert Weighs In

First off, before we get into the hack let’s talk about how dirty your pillows can get and how often you should be prioritizing cleaning them. We spoke with Jade Piper, the operations manager of Bettercleans, who told us more about how to clean our pillows and if this method could help with that.

“We recommend washing your pillows at least twice a year, and even more frequently if you sweat a lot (like during the summer), share the bed with someone else, have furry friends that shed, or you’re guilty of munching on snacks while lounging in bed,” she told Sleepopolis. 

She said when you also don’t clean your pillows, it becomes the most desired breeding space for the little creatures we have nightmares about, such as dust mites. Pieces and traces of our skin cells, hair, sweat, and drool can cause these creatures to thrive.

So, let’s get to know if this hack is effective. Piper said it does seem to work, but the only reason she wouldn’t use it is because of a specific ingredient. Can you take a wild guess? It’s the fruit. 

“Lemons can be helpful natural cleaning agents, but they may not be the best choice for cleaning pillows directly,” she said. “Lemon juice is acidic, and while it can be effective at removing some stains and odors, it could potentially damage the fabric or filling of the pillow.” 

Piper explained what to look for when cleaning is no longer an effective solution and it’s time  to invest in a new pillow. She said it’s important to examine the fluff of the pillow, and check if it’s uneven or lumpy. Are you having any neck pain or stiffness? That’s also a sign you need a new pillow because the worn out pillow lacks support. 

Pillows are made out of different materials, so it’s important to look into that and then see which cleaning material is best to preserve the longevity of it. 

She said store-bought pillows are fine for the washer machine, but memory foam pillows and buckwheat hull pillows need some extra loving. 

“That means no throwing them in the washing machine for a spin. Instead, opt for some good old hand washing, give them a vacuuming, or carefully spot-treat any stubborn stains,” she said. 

Thinking the lemon and orange pillow hack isn’t for you? Piper offered some alternative cleaning hacks that can work well. She suggested drying your pillows outside on a nice day or using a spot stain treatment to get rid of those stains before they continue to accumulate. 

“On a bright and sunny day, hang your pillows for a couple of hours,” she said. “The sun’s ultraviolet rays can take down dust mites, germs, and bacteria. Just a couple of hours outside can work wonders.”

Now, go give your pillows some extra care and love. They do a lot for you and your sleep. Just remember to leave the fruit for just eating and not for cleaning.

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  • Piper, Jade. Personal Interview. August 1, 2024.

  • 1. Janelle & Kate on Tiktok. TikTok. April 28, 2024. Accessed August 1, 2024. https://www.tiktok.com/@janelleandkate/video/7227134418144693550.

Ava Girardi

Ava Girardi

Ava Girardi is an Editorial News Intern for Sleepopolis. She loves writing about all things sleep from viral bedtime routines on TikTok to studies on sleep quality that will help you get the most helpful information to achieve that perfect bedtime routine. Ava is currently studying at Elon University where she is a double major in journalism and media analytics. When she is not writing, Ava is spending time with friends or family, running, or trying new yummy foods.

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