For those of us who have to adult every day, our pillows may very well be the most amazing 20×26 inch space in the whole wide world.
When you reach the end of a crazy long day and finally get to lay your head on that cool soft pillow…well, it just doesn’t get any better than that, now does it?
The truth is though that this little piece of heaven can easily turn into something funky fast. In fact, the European Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology made the following conclusion after studying allergens and fungus in the typical bed pillow:
We have examined pillows for fungal contamination, and show that the typical used pillow contains a substantial load of many species of fungi, particularly A. fumigatus. Given the time spent sleeping, and the proximity of the pillow to the airway, synthetic and feather pillows could be the primary source of fungi and fungal products. This has important implications for patients with respiratory disease, and especially asthma and sinusitis
Yep, it looks like that while Mr. Sandman is busy leaving star dust on our pillows, we are leaving dead skin, hair, and slobber. Aren’t we fancy! And all of this is a perfect playground for dust mites and their allergens.
Dust mites, allergens, fungus…not the combination anyone wants when they lay down and snuggle in for some sweet dreams.
So how often should we clean our pillows? And those things can be big and bulky. How do we even wash them in the first place?
To keep dust mites and other allergens at bay, pillows should be cleaned every 3 to 6 months. (Pillow covers should be washed at least once a month, cases should be washed every week).
Be sure and check the care label on your pillows. If they are down-alternative and machine washable, simply toss that funky friend into your machine. Be sure to use the appropriate amount of liquid detergent and add in about a ½ cup of baking soda. You’ll probably want a fragrance-free detergent as your nose will be right up on that thing later.
Note: feather pillows should be dry cleaned and foam pillows should be spot-cleaned only. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda on the surface of the foam pillow to soak up any moisture. Follow this up with using a good strong vacuum to remove the baking soda.
Donna Smallin Kuper, author of “Cleaning Plain and Simple”, notes that water needs to be 140 degrees or higher to kill dust mites. Kuper also suggests running your pillows through an extra spin cycle to squeeze out as much dampness as possible.
After the extra spin cycle, place your pillows in the dryer on low for a good 20-30 minutes. Leave those guys in there until they are completely dry. And if you like your pillows extra fluffy, put a couple of tennis balls in a sock or a pillow case. Then toss that in the dryer too. This will help your pillow come out all nice and poofy.
Repeat this process every few months and be sure to check out next week’s Two Maids & A Mop blog to learn why leaving your bed unmade may actually be good for your health!
And if you feel like you need to de-funk more than just your pillows, give Two Maids & A Mop a call and let them give you a free cleaning quote!