A little nighttime reading
How often should I replace my pillows? How do I care for them?
Your pillows can make a big difference in your sleep comfort and provide important support to your head and neck. Yet, it’s not uncommon for sleepers to keep pillows past their prime. With just a little attention to proper care, you can keep your pillows at their comfiest and cleanest. Here’s how…
How often should I replace my pillows?
The general guideline from sleep specialists is that conventional pillows should be replaced every 12-18 months. But this usually applies to the types of pillows that are difficult to wash and do not contain high-quality fills that retain their support over time.
Your pillows collect dirt, oils, drool, sweat, dust mites, mildew and fungi over time. All of these icky things will break down the support in your pillow (especially ones filled with cheaper polyester-fill) -- causing it to lose its loft, become yellowed or clumpy.
They may also exacerbate allergies. In fact, most people who believe they are allergic to down and feather pillows are more likely reacting to the allergens that have collected in an old pillow.
You can extend the life of your pillow beyond the 12-18 months by using a pillow protector, which acts as a barrier to the things that degrade your pillow. Higher quality pillows (like the ones that Slumbr sells) can often be washed or cleaned to keep them hygienic longer over time.
Choosing a premium pillow and protecting it can prove to be a more effective and economical investment in your sleep comfort. With proper care, high-quality pillows can actually last you years beyond the 12-18 months without having to be replaced as often as cheaper pillows need to be.
How do I clean my pillows? What’s the best way to care for my pillows
Cheaper conventional pillows filled with polyester-fill are often not worth washing, as they often degrade or clump when cleaned. However, several pillow types out there that can be washed or sanitized on occasion to preserve their shelf life.
We recommend always following the care instructions from your pillow’s manufacturer. However, here are some general guidelines on caring for some popular pillow types:
Down/Down + Feather:
- Down and feather pillows can be washed occasionally and should never be dry-cleaned
- Wash in a large front loading or high efficiency top loading washing machine (and ideally one that is commercial grade) on Delicate Cycle with a mild detergent
- Do not use fabric softener or bleach
- If they fit, we advise washing 2 pillows at a time to balance the washing machine during the rinse/spin cycle
- Dry on the medium heat setting in a large dryer until thoroughly dry. You’ll likely have to keep drying your pillow even past the point where it seemingly feels dry, as the down/feathers can clump up inside. It’ll likely take hours in the dryer before it’s entirely dry
- Remove the pillow from the dryer every 30 min, fluff and cool it to avoid scorching.
- If you’re using a commercial dryer, adding a few wool laundry balls (or clean tennis balls as an alternative) to the dry cycle can also help to maximize fluffiness. You can place the balls in a clean sock and tie it up to dampen banging within the dryer
- And if you'd like to occasionally freshen up your pillow, put it in the dryer on medium heat for 15 minutes to help kill dust mites and keep it fluffy.
Latex or Memory Foam:
- Ideally, your foam pillow will come with a cover that can be washed and dried easily. If not, again, we recommend using a pillow protector
- The latex or foam pillow fill itself can be occasionally hand-washed in a sink with lukewarm water and a mild detergent, then air-dried flat
- Make sure the pillow is completely air-dried before putting it back in any covering to avoid mildew
- Do not dry clean or put in a washing machine, as this will quickly degrade the pillow or cause the foam to break up
- To keep potential allergens at bay, we recommend putting the hulls in the kitchen freezer (yes, freezer) for 24-48 hours every 6 months to kill any allergens that may have accumulated
- Prevent the buckwheat hulls from getting wet, and do not wash them. If the hulls get wet, pour them into a fine mesh bag and air dry them by a sunny window. The sunlight will freshen up the hulls
No matter what kind of pillow you sleep on, keep it clean and hygienic for lasting support and more peaceful sleep.
For more specific care information for the pillows in Slumbr’s Pillow Menu, you can check out Slumbr’s Care page.
Wondering how often you should replace your mattress? Slumbr shares advice here.
And what about taking care of your bed sheets? Here’s Slumbr’s advice for your bed linens as well.