Lynsey Crombie shares how to check if you need new pillows
According to Silentnight, if a pillow is left unwashed for a few months, a third of it could end up being made up of dead skin, bugs and mites as well as mites’ faeces. To avoid creating a pillow environment like this, Martin Seeley, CEO and sleep expert at MattressNextDay, shared top cleaning tips to follow. He explained: “As the average person spends a third of their life in bed, your pillow will naturally become home to bacteria, dead skin cells and dust – all of which can cause acne flare-ups and more.
“You should, therefore, wash your pillows every three months in the washing machine, however, make sure to check their wash label to see what wash suits them best.”
1. Washing machine
Down pillows, which are filled with clusters of fluffy duck or goose down, can be washed in the washing machine, checking the label to see what temperature they should be cleaned at.
When cleaning them, the expert recommended using a mild washing powder, including an extra spin cycle at the end of the wash cycle.
This will help them to get rid of as much moisture as possible which will help them in the drying process to prevent mould build up.
The expert added: “Feather pillows can be washed the same as down pillows. However, they should receive a gentle cycle setting due to being made up of natural materials. Do, however, check the care label for full instructions.”
Memory foam pillows are a popular choice for many Britons due to their added level of comfort, but they cannot be washed in the machine.
2. By hand
This means it is best to wash memory foam pillows by hand in a bathtub along with some warm water and a mild detergent to disinfect.
Buckwheat pillows, which are filled with buckwheat hulls, cannot be washed at all so people with this type of pillow will need to get it refilled.
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3. White vinegar
In between cycles, it is important to keep them fresh using white vinegar or baking soda, two great affordable cleaning products.
Martin continued: “The acidity in vinegar acts as a superb deterrent against dust mites. Mixing some with water and a few drops of an essential oil of your choice, will leave your pillow smelling fresh.
“Plus, it will leave you secure in the knowledge that they’re not going to enjoy the experience. While vinegar helps repel dust mites, it also breaks down the proteins in their droppings, which are responsible for the allergens that many sleepers react to.
“Distilled white vinegar is best and the solution should be sprayed, rather than poured, over the whole pillow.”
4. Baking soda
The expert noted: “You may have seen online hacks on how to clean your bed with baking soda. Although it’s found its place on the internet, this tip has been used for decades to freshen up mattresses and pillows that may smell a little.
“The trick is to sprinkle yours with the baking soda before leaving it for a few hours.” This can then be vacuumed clean for optimal freshness with pillows and mattresses.
Baking soda can be purchased for as little as 89p in retailers like B&M, although many people may already have the staple in their cupboards.
When it comes to drying pillows, it can be off-putting to wash them in the first place due to the lengthy drying process they go through.
Most pillows can be placed in the tumble dryer on an air-dry setting, or on the lowest temperature possible.
However, if you don’t have a tumble dryer or you have memory foam pillows, make sure to allow these to dry naturally, which can take a few days.
It is important to have spare pillows to use in the meantime, or wait until a warm sunny day so they can dry outside in a few hours.
The sleep expert added: “You should, however, add a tennis ball to a sock and place this in the dryer too – as it can prevent them from going lumpy.”
As well as cleaning and washing pillows, it is also essential bedding is changed regularly to maintain good hygiene and prevent sweat and bacteria build up.
It is recommended to change bedding once a week, but if you own pets or suffer from allergies, it is advised to change it twice a week.
When washing it, make sure to select a hot wash, around 60C, to kill any bacteria. Bedding should also be dried fully before storing it away or putting it back on the bed.
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