Skin Scales, Mould, Dust Mites – Is It Time to Change Your Pillow?

May 2, 2022 | Beds & Accessories

Here is a fun fact: an old, unwashed pillow could contain as much as 10% of its weight in skin scales, mould, dead and living dust mites and their allergen laden droppings, which can exacerbate asthma or allergies.

With the milder, drier weather comes the perfect opportunity to give your pillows a good wash and air (ideally outside), or even replace them if they are showing signs of wear and tear or no longer giving you the support you need.

How often should you change your pillows?

We recommend investing in quality pillows and replacing them at least every two or three years. When they have lost their oomph and become lumpy, discoloured, or misshapen, it is time to get rid! 

How to wash your pillows

Washing or cleaning a pillow is very important to maintain hygiene, as the user’s mouth and nose are in such close proximity to the pillow. Always follow the care and washing instructions, which should be on a label attached to the pillow.  

Natural – such as wool, cotton, duck and goose down – or synthetic-filled are usually safe to put in the washing machine and generally require gentle and cool settings. For people with asthma, zippered “hypo-allergenic” or “dust-proof” covers can be bought to help reduce asthma symptoms.  

Put two pillows in at once to balance out the washing machine, add detergent and use the gentle cycle unless otherwise specified. You can tumble dry them (check care instructions) on low heat or leave them to dry in a well-ventilated room or outside in the sun.

No matter what filling your pillow has, ensure it has completely dried before using it again. You will be surprised at how long pillows can take to dry, so maybe plan to wash them before going away on holiday.

Memory foam should never be machine washed, as this can completely ruin the foam’s structure. Check the care label, but we generally advise that you can vacuum the pillow and wipe it with a cloth and gentle detergent. Some can be hand-washed, but if you are unsure, check with the manufacturer. 

How often should you wash your pillows?

How often you should wash your pillows will also depend on the filling. We recommend washing natural and synthetic-filled pillows two to three times a year and cleaning memory foam pillows every two to three months.

Top tip: help your pillows stay fresh by regularly airing them outside if you can and always using a pillow protector underneath your regular pillowcase. Be wary of airing outside if you suffer from allergies.

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