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How Often Should You Wash, Clean, and Replace Pillows

· Article

How Often Should You Wash, Clean, and Replace Pillows

How often should you wash, clean or replace pillows?


Pillows are an important piece of your sleep experience. They support you from the shoulders up, about 20 percent of your body.


Having a clean pillow also affects your slumber. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, dirty pillows can make your symptoms worse, says Dr. Linda Cox, an asthma and allergy expert and associate clinical professor of medicine at Nova Southeastern University in Florida.


“Pillows are materials that can harbor dust mites, particularly in any climate with humidity. They can also harbor other allergens, such as pet dander from cats and dogs,” notes Dr. Cox. If you have atopic dermatitis eczema, dust mites can also irritate your skin.


But keeping your pillows in good shape doesn’t mean throwing them in the washing machine. “If you wash your entire pillow too often, the filling actually breaks down and can ruin the feel of your pillow,” warns Christina Smida, senior buyer and bedding expert for Sleep Number.


So how do you protect and wash your pillows?


Question: What’s the best way to keep your pillows clean?


Answer: We recommend using a removable pillow cover, also called a pillow protector. Pillow covers are machine washable and help extend the life of your pillow. You want to prolong the life of your pillow by reducing the need to wash your entire pillow.


Your pillow case would then go over the pillow cover, keeping your protector clean and further extending the life of your pillow.


Tightly-woven pillow protectors, such as the Cotton pillow protectors from Sleep Number, can keep dust mites and other allergens from making your symptoms worse and disrupting your sleep. Wash in warm water with mild detergent and then tumble dry on low. For all other pillow protectors, follow manufacturer instructions.


Q: How often should you wash your pillows?


A: How often you wash your entire pillow will depend on the fill material. Different pillow fills require different cleaning.


For foam pillows, spot clean the foam insert with a clean cloth using mild detergent and warm water. Air dry at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and heat. Don’t machine wash, as that can damage the material. A dryer could melt the foam.


Fiber-fill pillows, such as down or down alternative, can be machine washed, but no more than twice a year. Every time you wash your entire pillow, the fibers inside can compress and deteriorate. Machine wash in warm water with mild detergent in a commercial front-loading washing machine. Tumble dry low.


Q: How often should you clean your pillowcases?


A: Pillowcases should be washed weekly, twice weekly for allergy sufferers. Follow manufacturer washing instructions for all your pillowcases and sheets.


Q: What else can you do to extend the life of your pillow?


A: Fiber pillows, such as a down or down alternative, require a bit of maintenance. Fill material can shift with regular use. To ensure proper support, refluff or reshape your fiber pillows daily to maintain an even distribution of fill.


Q: When should you replace your pillows?


A: Replace your pillow every two years or if there are obvious signs of aging.


Like diet and exercise, quality sleep is essential for optimal health and performance. Because everyone’s sleep needs are different, Sleep Number 360® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology inside, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night’s sleep.

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