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Why You Need to Wash Your Pillows

A woman fluffs a pillow.
Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock.com

The time has come again. Spring cleaning season is here, and it’s time to make your to-do list. While you’re cleaning baseboards and bathrooms, though, there’s one thing you shouldn’t forget.

You need to wash your pillows.

Why should you wash your pillows, though? After all, you use a pillowcase. Unfortunately, that doesn’t protect you, your allergies, and your skin against everything.

Pillowcases can shift, opening up your pillow to dirt and debris. Plus, as you sleep at night, dead skin cells, dirt, and grease collect on your case eventually making their way onto your pillow. This build-up can be responsible for skin irritation and even acne. Then, there are dust mites. While you can’t see them, they can hang out in your pillow and trigger allergies.

Beckham Hotel Collection Bed Pillows

If you need to replace your pillows, go for it.

As a general rule, you should be cleaning your pillows every three months, and while some say your cases only need to be changed every three weeks, we’d recommend switching them weekly, just like your sheets, or going as often as changing them daily.

Weekly pillow cases switches are a particularly good habit if you have acne or sensitive skin. Keeping them fresh can help prevent the further spread of bacteria and cut down on acne and irritation flares. If you have extra cases (which you should based on the number of sheet sets you should have), simply toss one on and throw the other in the laundry.

Amazon Basics 400 Thread Count Cotton Pillow Cases

Extra pillowcases mean more ability to switch them often.

Now, if you’ve discovered that it is, in fact, time to clean your pillows, don’t worry too much. The process is simple.

You should first check the care label and be sure it’s not dry clean only and that there aren’t special instructions. The good news is that most pillows are made from polyester which can be easily washed in the machine on a gentle cycle with a small amount of detergent in warm water. Once finished, tumble dry on low heat with a few dryer balls or tennis balls.

If deep cleaning your bedding isn’t already on your spring cleaning list, you might want to consider placing one last-minute addition.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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