The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

February 24, 2009

Fixing my Fake Plastic Pillow

As part of the spring cleaning that happened in our house last week, and to rid our space of the germs that have been plaguing us, I decided to wash my pillow. In the washing machine. And then dry it in the dryer. Which turned out to be not such a great idea, actually. The (fake plastic) stuffing did a little dance and ended up completely discombobulated.

Unable to bear the thought of tossing the pillow (which of course means adding it to my plastic collection), I slept on it like this for several nights and ended up with a sore neck. It was like laying my head down on a cinder block.

Not being the DIY queen that many of you are, sometimes I am oblivious to the obvious. Thankfully, there are other bloggers who can help. So, searching¬†the Internet, I found instructions for using a fresh pillow case to create a newish pillow from the old stuffing. My pillow’s cotton case was in fine shape, so I was able to reuse it after fixing the stuffing inside.

I realize the following instructions will be super basic for those who sew and mend on a regular basis. But I assume (hope) that there is at least one other reader of this blog as domestically-challenged as I am who might benefit.

First, rip out one short seam with a seam-ripper. This is the seam-ripper I inherited from my grandmother. It’s plastic. I plan to write about plastic and sewing in a future post.

Remove the stuffing from the pillow and rearrange it properly. My stuffing, as I’ve mentioned, is plastic — 100% polyester batting. If your stuffing is made out of something else, your procedure might be different.

All I had to do was unfold it and place it back in the pillow case. Luckily, it had stayed pretty much in tact and simply needed rearranging.

Sew the pillow case back up (This part took me all night while I watched episodes of Reaper on DVD. I’m a very slow sewer.) and voila!

My neck feels so much better this morning.

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14 years ago

This was super informative. The post as well as all the great comments!

Beth Terry
14 years ago

Denise, that is brilliant! Thank you!

14 years ago

Here’s a tip for washing pillows in future – even if you are a non crafty person. Using the biggest sewing needle you can find, and double thickness of any colour sewing thread, sew big stitches through all thicknesses of your pillow, any random way you like, 8 or 10 stitches, including all four corners and some in the middle. Wash your pillow, then just cut the threads and pull out the sewing thread. You will keep the shape of the pillow and not have the trouble of unpicked the casing and having to reshape the stuffing. If you have thin pillows you can get the same result if you use big safety pins, but that doesn’t work with thick pillows.

I agree, you have to keep using the plastic you have, and it’s good to wash pillows as often as you can, especially if people have asthma or other allergies.

Beth Terry
14 years ago

Cat — reuse, reuse, reuse! I’m glad to know the polyfil in the mice came from an old pillow! (And if that’s not what you meant… if it was actually new polyfil, um… just don’t tell me, kay?)

Rob — Dude! Get off my back! I bought that pillow a million years ago before I knew what I know now. I’m not getting rid of plastic I already have, unless it’s toxic for me to use. (I would, for example, take a vinyl shower curtain to the toxic waste dump.) Like I said to Cat… Reuse, reuse, reuse!

14 years ago

Polyester batting??? Beth i am surprized at you! You could of chosen cotton batting, or a feather/down pillow! They also make pillows out of wheat husks these days!

14 years ago

Great job Beth! :) FYI… If you need to wash anything with a down filling (down comforter, pillows etc.) put tennis balls in the dryer. It will help to fluff them up.

Anarres Natural Health
14 years ago

Beautiful results!

If your foam pillow gets messed up, you just cut the foam into chips with scissors. Even my neighbour sits on her porch and reuses foam that way.

It's good to wash your pillow cases monthly or more, and the pillows every 6 months or more. Just wash and dry out flat in the sun, or on a rack near your heating vent or in a sunny spot. You need to kill dust mites.

Congratulations on your domestic triumph!

Love & RRRevolution, Tracey

The Green Cat
14 years ago

I’m embarrassed to say that when I washed my pillows with similar results, it never occurred to me to fluff up the insides and get them to lay down correctly again. But I did reuse the polyester stuffing in catnip mice and the outer casings got used by my sister to make more pillows. Oh no! I just realized that the catnip mice I sent you last year have polyfil stuffing! I never even thought about that and I try to be so careful about not sending you plastic. Oops, sorry!

14 years ago

Great work! And I just wanted to let you know that those instructions were exactly simple enough for me and it would have taken me at least two nights to sew it shut. So you aren’t alone on the non-craftiness front.