When was the last time you went shopping for a pillow? If you can’t remember, don’t worry. You are not the only one. While most of us spend a lot of time choosing the best and the most comfortable mattress, pillows are usually just an afterthought. Once you buy them, you continue to use them for years without giving them much thought. According to experts replacing your pillow once a year is essential for your health.
- Also read: How much sleep do I need?
Why should you replace pillows regularly?
These are some of the reasons why replacing pillows regularly is important.
Your pillow cannot support your head & neck any longer
Pillows are meant to give proper support to your neck and head while sleeping. Pillows also help in aligning your spine correctly while sleeping. A new pillow can do all this well, but as it gets older its ability to support your back and neck also diminishes.
- Suggested read: 7 Benefits of Sleeping Without a Pillow
Allergies and hygiene
Dirt, oil and dead skin cells accumulate on your pillow over a period. You can even find dust mites on pillows. These can cause some severe health problems to people who are allergic.
Our pillows collect dust, oil, dead skin and even drool. Pressing our face against them night after night can cause severe acne.
Solutions to increase the longevity of pillows
Buy pillow covers
Pillow covers can help a lot to avoid the accumulation of dirt and dust on the pillows. Wash the covers regularly to keep your pillow clean.
Wash pillows regularly
Wash your pillows regularly to maintain hygiene. While some pillows like down alternative pillows can be washed in the washing machine, down feather pillows should be dry cleaned only.
However, after every wash, pillow loses its fluffiness and ultimately it will look flat. You must check your pillow’s label for laundry instructions before you give it a dry or wet wash.
Depending on your cleaning habits and allergies, you may need to replace your pillows as often as every six months. If you use pillow covers and have kept your pillows clean, they can last for three years. Read the care instruction of your pillow well to take care of it properly and maintain hygiene.
Different types of pillows & their replacement time
1. Memory Foam
Memory foam pillows are made of polyurethane. They are popular because they give excellent support to your neck and head by contouring accordingly.
Pros: Good support for pain relief, durable, come in a variety of shapes and sizes
Cons: Off-gassing, can cause breathability issues, too firm
Replacement time: These pillows should be replaced once a year, and they tend to sag with regular use.
2. Down pillow
Down pillows are considered the best to avoid neck pain as they are designed to mould to the shape of your head. Down pillows are made up of feathers of duck or geese.
Pros: Luxurious, light-weight and durable
Cons: They lose their shape fast, expensive
Replacement time: These pillows should be replaced once a year or once every 15 months.
Latex pillows have become increasingly popular for their supportive properties. Latex is extracted from a rubber tree and is blended with polyurethane foam. Only the pillows that are labelled 100 percent latex are free of polyurethane.
Pros: Soft, supportive, durable
Cons: Can cause allergies, heavy, lack breathability
Replacement time: These pillows should be replaced once in two years.
The feather in the feather pillows come from the ones that lay on top of the bird, while down is the protective layer underneath. These pillows are soft and fluffy and can retain their shape for longer.
Pros: Lightweight, hold shape and are firmer.
Cons: Need fluffing, can cause allergies, quills make poke out.
Replacement time: These pillows should be changed once a year
These pillows are made up of buckwheat hulls, the outer shells of buckwheat seeds. They are breathable, hypoallergenic but can be noisier than other pillows.
Pros: Natural, hypoallergenic, supportive
Cons: Noisy, dense and too firm for stomach sleepers
Replacement time: These pillows can last for years, provided you empty them out and clean their covers periodically.
Cotton pillows are hypoallergenic and naturally absorbent. They can compress and harden over time.
Pros: Natural, breathable and firm.
Cons: May get lumpy over time, does not support neck well.
Replacement time: Air them regularly and replace them every two years.
7. Down alternative
Down alternative pillows are filled with puffs of polyester. These are good for people with allergies and are cheaper than down pillows.
Pros: Inexpensive, soft and lightweight
Cons: Not as warm as down pillows
Replacement time: Replace these pillows after one or two years depending on the quality of the filling used.
Bamboo pillows contain minimal bamboo. These pillows are filled with memory foam, while the cover is made up of viscose rayon, which is derived from bamboo.
Pros: Help reduce neck pain
Cons: Not organic, contain rayon
Replacement time: These pillows need to be replaced once every one and a half years.
Frequently asked questions about pillow care
What kind of pillow cases should I use?
Use 100 percent cotton pillowcases as they create a cooling effect during the night.
Can we put pillows in the dryer?
Not all pillows can go into the dryer. While feather and down pillows should never be put in the dryer, you can put a bamboo pillow in without worrying about ruining it.
What are the health problems associated with using old pillows?
An old pillow can cause allergies and skin infections. When a pillow loses its shape and support, it can cause neck and back pain.