Our pillow is our best mate at the end of each day. He’s always there when we need him the most. It’s pretty fair to say we can’t live without him.
You need to replace your pillows regularly because it not only prevents allergen build-up, but it also enhances your sleep quality. May you be wondering how you should replace your pillows? A general rule of thumb is to replace your pillows once every 1-2 years. You’ll know it’s time for a replacement when your pillows don’t provide enough support.
Although washing your pillows frequently can prolong their life, there is a limit to how long your pillows can support you. Keeping your pillows for longer than 1 or 2 years may cause sleep disruptions and affect your health.
Why You Should Replace Your Pillows
1. Promotes Hygiene
Your sweat, hair, saliva, body oil, and dead skin cells are all absorbed by your pillows. Even if you have a pillowcase, it may not provide enough protection. All these fluids and flakes may cause mold, mildew, and other allergens to accumulate and cause a bad odor. Washing your pillows and pillow covers can get rid of the odor, but not always the allergens.
2. Prevents Pain
Along with your mattress, your pillows should keep your spine neutral. Your pillow ensures that your head and neck are supported while being aligned with your spine. Your head is heavy, and bearing the weight of your head each night gradually wears out your pillows.
Our pillows flatten and develop soft spots over time. A worn-out, flat pillow can’t provide support to your head and neck, leading to neck pain.
3. Reduces Allergies
Our bed is the perfect environment for dust mites to grow and multiply because they feed on our dead skin cells and thrive in a warm, humid atmosphere.
Dust mites are not dangerous, but they can trigger watery eyes, itchy throat, runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, and breathing difficulties in people who are prone to allergies. Over time these symptoms can worsen, leading to poor sleep quality.
A study by the University of Manchester in 2005 found 16 varieties of fungi in a single pillow. Your pillows don’t just invite dust mites. However, there may be a host of other microorganisms thriving there. Replacing your pillows regularly may prevent allergen build-up.
When to Replace Your Pillow
When you notice any of the following signs, change your pillows
– You wake up with neck pain frequently
– Your shoulder muscles feel cramped in the mornings
– You can’t sleep well due to headaches
– Allergy symptoms, such as itchy throat, runny nose, watery eyes, skin rashes, or breathing difficulties bother you all night
– You feel lumps in your pillow
– You notice tiny yellow spots or stains on your pillows despite washing. The marks could be from sweat, body oil, or dust mite droppings
– When you can easily fold your pillows in half
– Your pillow feels flat
How To Maintain Your Pillows
You can tumble dry your pillows on a low heat setting in your dryer, or leave them out on a clothesline to air-dry. Once the pillows are completely dry and have no traces of moisture in them, you can put them inside your pillow covers. Moisture can be dangerous for your pillows because it encourages mold growth.
If your pillows can be machine washed, it’s best to wash them once every four to six months in hot water. The high water temperature kills allergens breeding in your pillows. Usually, pillows with down or down alternate synthetic stuffing can be machine washed.
Try using a mild liquid detergent to wash your pillows. Avoid washing your pillows with any other clothes or bed linens. Putting two pillows at a time inside the washing machine eliminates the risk of overloading your machine.
3. Pillow Cases
Pillowcases provide a layer of protection to your pillows while making them look decorative. Usually, they come along with your bedsheets as a set. You can use pillow protectors made of waterproofing fabric for extra protection.
The pillow protectors can be used underneath your pillowcases. While your pillowcases match your sheets, making your bed look visually appealing, the pillow protector underneath prevents moisture absorption. You can wash your pillowcases and protectors once every three to four weeks unless mentioned otherwise on the care label.