How To Clean Your Pillow

The stuff growing in this dish could be in your pillow

Have you seen some of the things that can live inside pillows? SleepBetter conducted a scientific test to determine what kind and how much  bacteria, mold and yeast colonies live in pillows belonging to college students. It makes a significant case for every college student to take new bedding with them to school. The findings are, to say the least, unnerving, and most likely will make you want to immediately clean your pillows.  But, how do you go about doing that?  Keep reading for answers!

If the results of our study made you concerned about what’s living inside your college student’s pillow or even your own, the first thing you should do is try to remember when you bought it. If your pillow is more than 18 months old, it should be replaced. Aside from the microbes growing inside it, pillows lose their elasticity, loft (height), and fluff over time.

If your pillow is younger than 18 months, it is still likely to harbor a number of organisms and should be washed at least twice a year.

The most effective (and perhaps easiest) way to ensure your pillow is clean is to find a professional dry cleaner that is willing to do it for you. Some dry cleaning companies have the ability to clean pillows and some don’t, so you may need to make a few phone calls. When you get your pillow back, however, you’ll be surprised how fresh it feels.

In the absence of a professional, you’ll have to do the job yourself. Before you do anything else, check the care label on the pillow. Most, but not all, can be machine washed. If your pillow CAN be washed in a regular washer, you might need to visit your local laundromat, as many home washers and driers
aren’t big enough.

When you put your pillow in the washer, use mild liquid detergent and set the machine on the mild cycle. Try to wash two pillows at the same time so the washer won’t be unbalanced. If possible, run them through the rinse cycle twice to get all detergent residue out.

When drying your pillow, use the low heat setting and throw two tennis balls in with the pillows. The balls will help refluff the pillows while they’re drying. Before taking the pillows out of the drier for good, make sure they’re completely dry. Any moisture left over will present a tasty breeding ground for mold.

To view our series of infographics created from the data we collected during our scientific study, click here.

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