Click play to listen to the Keep Pillows Fresh During Allergy Season article.
Nature is blooming as cold winter weather gives way to the sunny days of spring and summer.
While the outdoors are becoming more pleasant for many of us, these changing seasons can also bring allergy flare-ups from things like pollen and ragweed.
When you go outside, allergens can get caught in your hair and clothing and follow you indoors. There, they can end up on your furniture and bedding, causing issues long after you’ve left the outdoor environment.
Before you lay down your head after a long day in the sunshine, consider some ways to keep your pillows fresh and avoid irritants while you sleep.
How Pillows Get Dirty
- Over time, your bedding can accumulate hair and dead skin cells, which turn into food for dust mites and may cause allergic reactions.
- In the hotter temperatures of summer, it’s normal to sweat more at night and leave moisture and odor behind in your bedding.
- Propping open windows is a great way to ventilate your home and cool off without using the energy required by an air conditioner. But, depending on the conditions outside, an open window can allow allergens to enter your home and settle on things like kitchen surfaces, furniture, and your pillows.
- Yep, it’s one of life’s joys to snuggle with your furry friends as you drift off to sleep or wake up in the morning. But pet hair can hold dander and other irritants, which can end up on your pillows and bedding.
How To Clean Pillows
- Throw Out Old Pillows
Most recommendations say that bed pillows have a useful life of 1–2 years. After that amount of time, most pillows have accumulated moisture and allergens that can compromise the quality of your sleep.
If the pillow is lumpy, flat, or stained, it’s time to find a new addition to your bedtime routine. There are plenty of options specially made for those who prefer to sleep on their back, belly, or side.
- Use Pillow Covers
It feels great to find the perfect pillow for your sleep style. And once you’ve got a winner, you want to keep it in healthy shape for as long as possible.
Use pillow covers that offer moisture and allergy protection. You’ll put them on before you add the regular pillowcase, and they help protect your health and the longevity of the pillow. Plus, most pillow covers are easy to machine wash on a regular basis. Like pillows, covers should be replaced when needed.
- Wash Pillows
Pillows come in all sorts of materials, from memory foam to down or down alternatives. Some pillows can be machine washed (down, polyester, and down alternative), and it’s best to do it on the gentle cycle. Others should never be machine washed, but can be dry cleaned, hand washed, or refreshed in direct sunlight (memory foam, polyfoam, latex, and buckwheat). The Sleep Foundation has a great chart with recommendations for washing different types of pillows.
- Dry Pillows
Moisture in your bedding can come from sweat, drool, body lotion, or that spilled sip of water. If you don’t air out excess moisture, it can lead to mold and mildew growth and cause nighttime allergy issues.
Drying pillows thoroughly is just as important as washing them. Waterproof pillow covers are a great first step, and you can also dry most types of pillows on low heat in your dryer. Otherwise, place them in direct sunlight until they’re refreshed and ready to go back to bed.