Pillows are one of those creature comforts we just don’t think about all that much and tend to keep for years and years, only throwing them away when they turn into a sad, lumpy sack. Sometimes, we even pass on our old pillows to other people in the family, brown stains and all. Turns out, keeping old, worn-out pillows can be bad for your health.
Pillows can harbor thousands of dust mites (and their excrement), dead skin cells and bacteria. Think about it. You’re breathing, sneezing, drooling or sweating directly on it for six to eight hours a night, so if you have allergies, dust mites or fungi living in your pillows may exacerbate your symptoms.
Not to fear, for here are 6 tricks for making your mattress and pillow last:
A mattress cover serves the dual function of preventing stains while preserving the shape of your mattress top, which leads to a longer lifespan. Most malls as well as local companies, like Mandaue Foam and Uratex, sell a variety of options from waterproof covers to gel-padded mattress covers that also serve as a comfortable mattress topper. It's a minimum investment for maximum satisfaction.
If you aren't in the market for a bed frame, don’t try to save money by buying a cheap box spring. Instead, go for the matching box-spring that comes with your mattress set or one that your salesman recommends. The last thing you want is a bed that sags in the middle. Adequate mattress support is key to its longevity.
How flat a pillow is, and how often it goes flat, comes down to the type and quality of fill you are using, but it only takes two seconds to fluff your pillow after sleeping on it all night, yet this is something most of us rarely ever do. Remember to give them a little karate chop before stepping into the shower, why don't you? Another great hack is to leave your pillow out in the sun. Usually pillows lose their volume because of moisture, so the sun can help dry them and increase fluffiness. Instant warm and fluffy pillow!
Your salesman will always tell you do do this, to help extend the life of your mattress, but of course, we forget it right after we walk out the store. The last thing you want is a dent in your 5-year-old mattress. If you have a one-sided pillow-top mattress rotate it 180 degrees. If you have a two-sided mattress, flip it every 6 months.
Launder pillows in pairs to keep your machine balanced.Standard synthetic-fill pillows can be thrown in the washing machine two to four times a year. Some machines have a designated pillow cycle. If yours doesn’t, use the delicate cycle instead. Remember to only use a mild liquid detergent rather than powder, which may leave a residue. Run them through the rinse cycle twice the second time without detergent, to ensure they're rinsed fully.Then, run it through the dryer on low heat (or the air-dry cycle if your machine has one) a couple times to be sure it’s completely dry inside. Take it out and fluff it a couple times mid-cycle to ensure all the stuffing is drying evenly. If any moisture is left, it could harbor mold growth, which you definitely don’t want in the place you rest your head every night.
Invest in pillow covers—zippered covers that go in between the pillow and the pillowcase, will help keep dust mites and other bacteria from getting into the pillow itself and will help extend your pillow’s life. The cover should be breathable and moisture-repellent, says Woodcock, a professor at the University of Manchester and author of the aforementioned study. Wash the pillow cover every time you wash your sheets. If you don’t have a pillow cover, it’s a good idea to replace your pillows (if they are synthetic-fill) every couple years.