A pillow, a blanket, and a mattress are the three most important things in your bedroom that basically determine how well you sleep at night. Unfortunately, when the pillow is out of its shape, it doesn’t support your neck and spine enough, so you wake up feeling stiff in the morning. Furthermore, inside your pillow, there can be all kinds of invisible stuff, such as dust mites, bacteria, and fungi, which won’t bite, but will cause nasal congestion and allergies. In this article, we will reveal some tips on how to take care of your pillow so that your pillow can serve you well and for a long time.
What`s going on with your pillow while you are at sleep
While heading to bed in the evening, we usually don’t think much about the condition of our pillow or other sleeping equipment. Yet, at the same time, a lot can be going on under our bedsheets and the pillowcase. Every night we lie in our bed, a little bit of skin, hair, and grease is peeling off from our bodies, which then is absorbed by the pillow. Sweaty nights also leave a mark, causing yellow stains on the pillow over time.
As a result of these natural processes, your pillow will eventually start to smell. And we are not talking about some good aroma, but rather about the smell, which gives a quite clear signal that the pillow could use a proper wash or it should be upcycled.
Besides the smell, there will be dust mites starting to breed inside the pillow. These tiny creatures make your pillow heavier and significantly reduce its life. Dust mites are not fundamentally dangerous; at least they do not bite. However, they feed upon your skin, and actually, it is not very healthy to sleep with them every night. In addition, for more sensitive people and those with allergies, dust mites may cause all kinds of symptoms, including nasal congestion and allergies, which can become so severe over time that they will disrupt not only your sleep but also your awake life.
Now, after knowing all this, you probably might start to wonder how to enjoy peaceful nights and days full of energy and avoid waking up with a stuffy nose or a stiff neck.
Basically, there are two options – to wash and to take care of your pillow so that it stays fresh for a longer time, or alternatively, if the pillow is really old and outdated, replace it without any guilt.
How to take care of your pillow
To keep your pillow in good condition for a long time, it must be cleaned and maintained regularly. The use of a clean pillowcase also prolongs the lifespan of the pillow. It is recommended to wash your pillow every 1-3 months and change pillowcases every week. Remember that regular care of your pillow will help to prevent the dust mites and odors we talked about previously.
Washing the pillow
The first rule for washing your pillow is that before putting the pillow in the washing machine, always check the label or manual to ensure the pillow is machine washable. Down pillows and pillows filled with synthetic down alternative can definitely be washed in a domestic washing machine. For others pillows, you should check first if they should be cleaned in dry cleaning or taken to a professional laundry.
If machine washing is allowed, wash your pillow at the maximum temperature given on the label every 1-3 months.
For washing the pillow, a liquid washing gel should be used. It is recommended to put two pillows in the machine at the same time so that the washing machine can effectively distribute weight and wash them more evenly. For hygienic reasons, rinse the pillows once more with a rinsing program after the regular cycle has finished making sure that any washing gel residues are washed off.
After washing the pillow, allow the pillow to air dry or dry it in a tumble dryer. Make sure that the pillow is completely dry before putting it back in use and that there is no damp fragment inside the pillow – otherwise, it could mold easily.
If the pillow is made of down or filled with granules, it will collapse a little during the night. Then adjust and pound the pillows every day to make them fluffy again. Doing this helps them to maintain their great shape.
According to sleep experts, pillowcases should be changed in every week. It may be a good idea to introduce a rule, that pillowcases will be replaced in your bedroom every Sunday. Why is it important? Because a clean pillowcase has a very strong effect and it acts as a buffer zone between your head and a pillow, absorbing some of the skin particles and bacteria effectively while you are at sleep. This helps to prevent and delay the formation of both unpleasant odors and dust mite colonies. This also extends the lifespan of your pillow.
The signs that you should replace your pillow
Even if you take good care of your pillow and maintain it regularly, nothing will last forever. The best pillows will also need a replacement at some point because if “best before” is here, the pillow can no longer provide the support you need under your head weight.
6 situations indicating that you need a new pillow:
- The pillow has visible lumps and bumps
- The pillow has stains that no longer come off in the laundry
- You wake up in the mornings experiencing pain in the neck or upper back
- You feel dizzy in the morning because your uncomfortable sleeping position and your hurting neck ruined your deep sleep, and you spent most of the night in the light sleep stage
- You often wake up in the morning with a headache or have recently had tension headaches
- Your nose is stuffy in the mornings, or you are sneezing
In addition to these situations, the pillow should also be replaced if you have recently been diagnosed with an allergy or in case you have changed your favorite sleeping position. Different sleeping positions require different height pillows. For example, if you sleep on your back, you should grab a higher pillow; at the same time, when sleeping on your belly, a lower pillow should be preferred.
How long your pillow will last
Even if your pillow is in good shape, a rule of thumb says that the pillow should be replaced at least every 1-2 years. Some pillows can last longer due to their filling and quality.
Here are some of the most common pillow types and their average lifespan, starting with the most durable one:
The lifespan of the pillow according to pillow types
Latex pillow 3-4 years
Buckwheat pillow 3 years
Feather pillow 18-36 months
Memory foam pillow 18-36 months
Synthetic feather pillow/feather alternative 18-24 months
Polyester pillow 6-24 months
I hope you did find some useful information on why and how to take care of your pillow and when to replace it.
Discovered just now your pillow is outdated and reached its best before date?
Then maybe it’s time to choose a new fluffy and allergy-free pillow: