Consumer Reports

How Maintaining Clean Pillows Could Lead to Better Health

Pillows provide cloudy comfort when you sleep, but keeping them safe isn't just a dream

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Some are fluffy, some are firm and they can be made from feathers, foam or anything else.

Pillows provide cloudy comfort when you sleep, but keeping them safe isn't just a dream. It's actually easy to do - if you do it the right way.

Think about all the important work your bedroom pillows do every night. They prop you up and offer head and neck support. So, why not show them a little love?

“Pillows can harbor a lot of gross and icky things,“ said Huniya Rae, a pillow expert for Consumer Reports. “Over time a lot of gross stuff builds up in your pillow. We’re talking about sweat, body oil, dust, saliva, dust mites and mold.”

There’s an easy fix for keeping pillows fresh. Start with fluffing your pillow every day to get rid of dust and restore its shape.

Every month, hang your pillows outdoors for a few hours. If you can’t do that, run them through the dryer on the no-heat cycle. Consumer Reports says many pillows are washable, but first take a careful look at those washing labels before you plunge your pillow.

“The agitators in traditional top loader machines can be a little bit rough on pillows. Front loader machines are a bit gentler," said Rae. "So you just want to leave it in there on the gentle cycle for just a few minutes. Or the shortest setting possible.“

If your washing machine is large enough, wash two pillows at a time. That will help balance the load, allowing the water and detergent to circulate more effectively.

No matter which type of pillow you prefer, a pillow cover is a good idea. Wash that cover once a week along with your pillow cases and sheets.

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