Washing bed linen and pillowcases every two to three weeks is considered par for the course for many. Even the truly diligent among us will give the duvet a wash every year or so. But, did you know that you should be cleaning your pillows regularly, too? And can you guess how often?
Why Should I Wash Them?
Aside from smelling (and probably sleeping) better, a newly washed pillow is also healthier for you. While you sleep, your body sheds dead skin cells that attract dust mites. These little critters (although harmless to you), produce droppings that contain allergens. These allergens, together with pollen and pet dander, wreak havoc on your allergies causing anything from asthma to rhinitis. Not only that but your sweat, drool, and skin oils also penetrate your pillowcase, staining and tarnishing your pillow over time.
How Often Should I Wash Them?
The general rule of thumb for ultimate pillow hygiene is every six months. If you can’t remember when last you washed your pillows (if ever), then you should probably tackle it this weekend. Those delightfully comfy cushions may look innocent, but inside, they are an allergen fest of nastiness.
To really help protect your pillows, invest in pillow protectors (a cover that goes under the case). They help keep those allergens at bay and prevent your pillowcase from getting stained by sweat, etc. They also stop oils from soaking into the filling. However, you should still wash your pillows at least twice a year.
How Do I Wash Them?
Many down and synthetic pillows are machine-washable so use mild liquid detergent and give your pillow two washes – the second without detergent – to ensure it’s rinsed properly. Most importantly, your pillow must be completely dry before you use it again as moisture will lead to mould (and remember that this process could take a few days). Find out what filling you have and the best ways to wash it to keep your pillow in tip-top condition.
When Should I Replace My Pillow?
Remember that your pillow isn’t just a soft place to lay your head at night. A good night’s sleep is crucial for your health and sleeping on a decent pillow has proven benefits. With regular washing and fluffing, your pillow can last for many years but if it starts to look lumpy (or you’re waking up with chronic neck pain), it could be time for a change.