We’re encouraging people to get rid of their old, dirty, out-of-shape pillows and replace them with new pillows that will help them sleep better. To get the best night’s sleep possible, you should replace your pillow and mattress pad once every year to 18 months. It may not be immediately apparent, however, why the old pillow that’s been through so much with you isn’t the best sleep solution anymore. Here are five reasons you should load your old pillow into a catapult and toss it as far as possible:
1) Your old pillow is full of fungus and mold
This is seriously disgusting. In 2011, SleepBetter evaluated the pillows and mattress pads of college students from across the country. The results were startling, to say the least. On average, the pillows in the study had 350,000 potential live bacteria colonies and 91,000 potential live yeast and mold colonies. The mattress pads were even nastier: with 2 million potential bacteria colonies and 330,000 yeast and mold colonies on average. For more findings, check out this infographic. The images below are of what was cultured from some of our sample pillows. Do you really want to sleep with that?
2) Your pillow is out of shape
Eventually, even the best pillow begins to get lumps in the wrong places and just doesn’t bounce back the way it used to. Put your pillow to the test. For pillows filled with natural down, fold the pillow in half and then let go. It should at least slowly regain its normal shape. For synthetic down, the pillow should spring back quickly and with at least a little force. It’s harder to tell with memory foam pillows. Press on the middle with your hand. It should give, but not all the way to the bottom. When you remove your hand, the pillow should return to its normal shape. If your pillow can’t pass these tests, then you might need a new favorite pillow. For more on how to tell if you need a new pillow, check out this article.
3) Your pillow is gaining weight
A new pillow that weighs 10 ounces can double its weight in three years. Those extra ten ounces are dust mite remains. Washing your pillow will help, but it’s still a good idea to start fresh every so often.
4) Your furry friends (and furry friends you don’t even know) could use your old pillow
Stuffing from old pillows makes great bedding for dogs and cats. If you don’t have dogs or cats (or just want that pillow out of your house after seeing the pictures above) you could take your old pillow to the local animal shelter. Many of them accept them for use as animal beds.
5) Sometimes relationships just need to end
Pillows are like an old boyfriend, sometimes you just have to cut ties. No matter how comfortable you might think they are, after a while they start to become unresponsive, lumpy, and … frankly … smelly. Sometimes you just need to make a clean break.