Did the first sniffles and sneezes knock you down? It could be the weather change, but it could also be something else you would not expect: your pillows. It turns out the cozy bed linens cuddle up your face until every night they are full of all sorts of allergens like dust, pollen, body oils and skin cells and fungi that could be stuffing and making it harder to sleep.
There's a small, happy ecosystem in there. A 2005 study by the University of Manchester found an average of over a million fungal spores in the home cushions they tested; the synthetic cushions had a higher concentration of Aspergillus fumigatus, the most common strain, which feeds dust mites, can exacerbate asthma and can lead to diseases in those with compromised immune systems.
Dust mites, which in all honesty sound and look a little scarier than them, feed on fungi and skin cells. While most people do not need to worry a lot about the mites themselves, their faecal matter can cause allergic reactions. Those who are allergic to dust mites will be very familiar with symptoms like chronic stuffy nose, breathing problems or eczema.
But before you swear to sleep on the cold, hard ground for the rest of your life, there are some things you can do to keep all that stuff at bay.
The National Sleep Foundation recommended to wash the pillow every six months is replacing them every few years. If you buy quality rather than polyester and commit to washing it at least every six months, you can keep it for a maximum of 10 years. Always be sure dry your hair before jumping on the bed and wash and dry the cushions after spills so as not to create a more hospitable environment (damp!) for mold and mites. And last but not least, you can use a protective cover under the pillowcase between washes.
So ready to wash those pillows? Yes me too. Here are some practical tips, courtesy of Dean Davies, upholstery cleaning expert at Fantastic Services, for doing the job:
Wash every six months.
As we said above. Wash! "Feather, feather and synthetic cushions can simply be cleaned in the washing machine," Davies told me via e-mail. "It is better to recycle two cushions (of the same type) at one time as this will help keep the washing machine balanced during the cycle." He suggested that machines with top or front loading without agitators make this process a little easier, but if you do not have the choice, try placing the cushions in a vertical position so that they do not tangle around. stirrer and are damaged during the cycle.
He also suggested a new technique: "To minimize the aggregation of synthetic fibers during the wash cycle, roll the cushions into a long, thin cylinder, then place the elastics on both ends and in the middle".
If in doubt, check the tag.
While most feather and polyester cushions can be machine washed, special care instructions are sometimes applied to the label. If you can not find any information, use warm lukewarm water or cold hot water could cause a narrowing, according to Davies, and set the machine on a gentle cycle. Opt for a mild liquid detergent on the powder, which tends to leave less residue.
Foam cushions, on the other hand, should never enter a machine, as shaking and heat will damage them. "You can clean the pillow by soaking it in a sink full of water or running water through the pillow while you move it," says Davies.
Dry completely or dry with tennis balls.
"If a cushion can be dried in the washing machine, you can throw it in the dryer and put in a couple of clean tennis balls to prevent the fibers from bulking up and reducing the drying time," Davies said. "Alternatively, you can dry the cushions in the open air in the sun, simply arrange them to keep their shape." For foam cushions, Davies recommends placing in a room with good airflow or hanging out on a sunny day.
In the end, it is necessary to replace them.
If you're not sure how long you've had your pillow, Davies has suggested a "fold test" to guesswork: just fold it in half, and if it does not return to its regular shape immediately, Prime has probably passed. This indicates that the fibers are grouped together by wear, which means you can probably even use a simpler test … is your pillow still comfortable?
If your pillow is stain-free, check the local fabric recycling rules to see if the cushions are accepted.
How often do you wash and change cushions? We are very curious. Please let us know below!