Few things in our homes are as intimate to us as our pillows.
An uncomfortable one will ruin your sleep and when you find one that you love you don’t ever want to change.
Turns out that’s not such a good idea. So when is the ideal time to replace your pillow?
Simply Changing your Pillowcase isn’t Enough.
Even with changing your pillowcase and cover, dust, oil, and dead skin cells–because they are so small–will make their way into the pillow itself. These tiny irritants can cause acne and allergic reactions.
We all know that dust permeates everything–there’s no getting rid of it. As soon as you wipe the dust from something, it seems to magically re-appear. Dust is composed of many things: dead skin cells, dirt, fungus, animal dander, and–yes–bug droppings.
Dust Mites can be Found in Every House, No Matter How Clean it is.
A relative of the spider, the dust mite is microscopic but rest assured, it is there. It eats the little bits of stuff that it finds in household dust and then contributes to the dust by leaving its feces wherever it hangs out. The little buggers tend to accumulate where it’s dark and warm–like in carpet and the folds of your pillow.
Dust mites won’t bite you or carry an infectious disease but some people are allergic to their droppings. If you find yourself with watery eyes and sneezing when you first get up, it’s a pretty good sign you are one of those people. If you experience irritation and congestion all the time, that, too may be an indication of an allergy.
There are ways to minimize the number of dust mites in your home; unfortunately, replacing your pillow on a regular basis is one of them. Depending on environmental factors, hygiene, and sensitivity, you may want to get a new pillow some time between six months and two years.
Keep Your Pillow Clean and Fluffy.
To reduce and manage the resident dust mite population and extend the life of your beloved pillow, you can do the following:
- Use an airtight pillow cover or one specially made for allergy sufferers
- Running the pillow for 30 minutes in a dryer at low temperature can blow out some of the build-up
- Wash your pillow every three to six months
- Wash pillow coverings and cases in hot water and change every few days
- Do NOT use fabric softener, either in the washer or dryer sheets–they cause all kinds of respiratory ailments
- If you’re allergic, opt for a pillow that isn’t filled with down–feathers might contribute to the problem. There are more choices these days than just polyester and foam: latex, gel, buckwheat, cotton, wool, and sand all offer different firmnesses so you can find the right one for you (when you find one you like, buy more than one and store it—wrapped–for later use).
A pillow should fill the space between your head and shoulders when you are lying in your usual sleeping position. It should provide enough support so that your back is in alignment with your head and neck. If you ordinarily sleep on your side, you need a full pillow; sleeping on your back or stomach requires a thinner pillow.