The most common bed pillows are Down, Foam and Synthetic so the associated materials and steps for removing stains are listed according to each pillow type.
Cleaning a Foam Pillow
Vacuum the pillow thoroughly, using the vacuum brush attachment.
Step 2-Prepare Detergent
Mix one part non-bleach detergent with two parts water in your spray bottle.
Step 3-Position Pillow
If you are laundering the pillow outside, place it on a clean tarp or sheet near the water hose. If you are laundering it inside place the pillow in the sink or bath tub. Stand the pillow on end and spray all sides with the spray mix. Allow the mixture to sit on the pillow for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes spray the pillow down with water. Gently fold the pillow to squeeze out water that may have soaked in. Don't wring or twist, which can cause the foam to rip.
Replace fabric detergent mix in the spray bottle with a new mixture of four parts water and one part vinegar. Spray entire pillow with this new mixutre. Rinse and squeeze again to remove as much water as possible. Because of its density, there shouldn't be much water soaked into the foam.
The best drying method is to allow the pillow to hang in the sun. To accelerate the process you may use a fan or a blow dryer set on the lowest heat setting.
Cleaning a Down Pillow
Step 1-Condition Check
Check the condition of your down pillow cover. If it has small tears, rips or thin fabric areas, these will need to be repaired before you begin the washing process. This is a necessary step to avoid losing feathers.
Place at least two pillows in a front loading wash machine to keep the cycle balanced. If you don't have two pillows, throw in a terry towel to offset the single pillow. Add 1/4 cup of the non-bleach detergent and set the machine to the gentle cycle. Add a second rinse. Visually monitor the wash cycle to make sure the pillow has not ripped open.
Once the wash cycle is complete, place the pillows in the dryer along with either the clean tennis shoe or the tennis balls placed in the sock. These will help re-fluff the pillow while drying. Set the dryer to the normal setting for cottons. Stop the dryer once or twice during the dry time to take the pillows out and fluff them by hand. Feel for clumps of feathers that may need to be broken up and check for over-heating.
Cleaning a Synthetic Pillow
Step 1-Gather 2 or More Pillows
To maintain the balance of your washing machine it is better to wash two or more pillows at a time.
A top loading machine is fine with these pillows. Add 1/4 cup of laundry detergent to the machine and set the cycle to "gentle" but only allow it to agitate for 5 to 6 minutes. Stop the cycle and set the machine to the rinse and spin mode. After the first spin check the dampness of the pillow. It may need another spin if it appears too wet for the dryer.
Set the dryer to the lowest heated setting, and throw in a clean tennis shoe or tennis balls in a sock to help re-fluff. You may also add a non-static dryer strip. Take pillows out as soon as they're dry.