Use a pillow protector and a pillowcase
Bringing Home a New Bed Pillow
First, cut the labels off of your new pillows before using them on your bed. Scratchy labels will only get in the way of a peaceful night's sleep. Next, slip on a pillow protector (more about these below) and finally a decorative pillowcase to match your sheets.
Protecting your Pillow
When you purchase a pillow always purchase at least two pillow protectors in the correct size to match your pillow. The pillow protector (basically a plain white pillowcase with a zippered closure) offers an additional barrier against dirt and oil and will lessen the need for pillow cleaning. Having at least two pillow protectors per pillow will allow you to have one in the wash while the other is being used on the pillow. These protectors can be found in fabrics that range from cheap muslins for a few dollars to fine cottons in high thread counts than can cost up to $20. Since you will be using it every night, it makes sense to choose a nicer one with longer-lasting quality fabric in a higher thread count.
Keep a Supply of Extra Pillowcases
A decorative pillowcase is the outer layer of the pillow. Always buy at least one extra set of pillowcases each time you purchase sheets. Extra cases will give you the option of changing the pillowcases every few days to freshen up the bed. (Changing pillowcases frequently can also help keep your face and hair cleaner.) You might also collect sets of plain white (or plain colored) pillowcases so you have a fresh clean one available every day. Buy the highest thread count you can afford to add a touch of luxury to your night.
Your new pillow will come with care instructions on the package. Read them and tape them up inside your linen or laundry closet door as a reminder. Pillows are best protected from dust and dirt by using quality pillow protectors and pillowcases.
Many pillows can be washed at home in a washing machine with a few additional precautions. First, set your washer on a gentle wash cycle and press the "extra rinse" button if available. If not, then simply put the pillow through the final rinse cycle another time or two to fully rinse out any soap and bubbles. These additional rinses are necessary due to the thickness and density of pillows.
Next, use the spin dry feature of your washer at least twice to get as much moisture out of your pillow as possible. Then place in the dryer. Fluff and turn the pillows periodically during the drying cycle. Drying your pillow will probably take several drying cycles, and might take several hours, since the filling in the center may still be damp even when the outer layers are dry. If in doubt, hang the pillow in a dry location for a day or two to make certain it is completely dry before returning to your bed.
Learn more on these tip pages for household linens: