Why Does My Pillow Smell? (6 Causes to Consider plus Solution)

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When it’s time to take a rest, you want to lay down on your bed and get the best out of your sleep. However, with a smelly pillow, that can be tough.

There are several reasons why your pillow is smelly, and you can’t enjoy a peaceful sleep like you used to. Read more to grasp the causes of your pillow stink and learn how to reverse the situation.

Why Does My Pillow Smell?

Why Does My Pillow Smell?

1. Sweat, Saliva, And Hair

If you probably thought that you only sweat when you are active, you are wrong. You sweat when you are sleeping too. Also, when you are sick, you sweat more. The sweat seeps through your pillow cover, and the accumulation leads to a stinky pillow.

It is not only sweat but also saliva. You could be drooling as you sleep. That is normal because you are not in full control of whatever happens while asleep. With time, the pillow gets dirty and begins to smell.

Your hair could be causing your pillow to smell awful. Hair collects lots of dust during the day. Due to the oil that you apply to your hair, the dust gets locked in. If you do not sleep with a hair dress, the accumulated dirt and sweat make your pillow smell and give you sleepless nights.


Dry or vacuum clean your pillow and dry it thoroughly. To avoid odors on your pillow again due to sweat, dress them with a pillowcase to trap the dirt. You can then change the pillowcases daily as you change your beddings. The odor will go away, and you are not likely to experience it again.

To maintain hygiene, next time you got to sleep, do after showering. Your beddings and pillows will always smell fresh.If the smell is still there, something else is causing it.

2. Pillow Material

Different pillow materials smell differently. Certain materials like fabrics still have factory odor, which is difficult to eliminate. The best quality pillows are made of fiber.

The fiber should not have a scent as they are made of non-scented materials. If so, it is time to dispose of that pillow as it could cause some health hazards to your respiratory system.


Fabric pillow materials should not smell excessive. If the smell is mild, you can try airing the pillow and spray an odor-neutralizing spray so that you can enjoy your sleep well.

3. Poor Laundry Procedures 

Your pillow requires a vacuum dusting or dry cleaning. For the dirty spots and stains, you can wipe them off with a mind detergent. When you hand wash and dry your pillow in the sun, however high the temperature, the interiors may not dry entirely.

That dampness builds up bacteria which cause it to stink. More so, if you use your washing machine that doesn’t dry well the pillow, it will stink at night. Laundry detergents, too, will cause your pillow to stink if they are not rinsed well.


Restrain from hand washing your pillows. Also, when using your washer, make sure that the dryer setting completely dries your pillows; otherwise, dry or vacuum clean your pillows to prevent the awful smells.

If you have already hand-washed your pillow, remove the interior materials and spread them to dry in the sun. It is a tedious process that involves building the pillow repeatedly, but it will eradicate all the smell.

4. Spilt Drinks and Food

Your pillow is smelly because you might have been treated with breakfast on your bed by your loved one. Some juice spilt on your pillow, or when you were dipping your pita bread, the dripping hummus fell on the pillow.

You wiped out the mess, but some fluids seeped into your pillow. That is a mess enough to make your pillow smell awful. Milk, juice, tea, coffee, soup and other dry food are a potential cause of bad smell on your pillow.


Random drinks and food spillages on the bed can be quite odoriferous. If that happens, the faster the cleanup, the better. Remove the pillowcase for washing. For the pillow, wipe with a damp cloth, vacuum or dry clean it and spread it in the sun to dry.

Leaving the spill will cause a stain or a lingering odor that will give you a restless night. Also, reduce the habit of eating from your bed as much as possible. You can have a mini-table by the bedside where your loved ones can make such surprises.

5. Spew

Sorry that the last time you got sick, you puked on your pillow before getting to the washroom. Someone helped to remove the pillowcase immediately and wiped the stuff off your pillow. Still, the smell hasn’t gone away.

Spew smell is strong and difficult to get rid of from your pillow. That is why even after brushing, the odor is still around.


There is nothing you can do about spewing when you are sick. You could try a quick cycle on your washing machine and run a dry cycle.

6. Ungroomed Pets

Do you groom your pet regularly? If your Fido or Tabby loves hopping on your bed, but they are not well-groomed, that nasty smelling pillow could be coming from their fur.

Sometimes your pets could be well-groomed, but when they sit on your pillow, they leave a smell on it. Even well-groomed pets have an animal scent on them.


Now that your pillow is already smelly, clean and dry it thoroughly. If the odor doesn’t go away, dispose of it off and get another one.

You love your pet very much but keep them off your bedroom to avoid such scenarios where you have to throw away your pillow. You will keep them off your bet not only because of the smelly pillow but because their fur can be a cause for allergy.

Also Read: Vinegar Cleaning Hacks


After a long day at work, a pillow will help support your head while you are asleep. It offers comfort and gives you a peaceful night. Equally, the same can keep you disturbed the entire night if it is smelly.

To achieve a quiet and restful night, you need to keep your pillows smelling fresh. Be sure of how to take care of your pillow by checking the care label so that you don’t keep on disposing of them now and again. Different pillow options give you a great sleeping experience without getting worried about any fluid seeping in there.

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