This Is How Often You Really Need To Wash Your Pillows

Some people view their bedding as a sort of never-changing landscape. Others make a point out of washing their sheets every week and their blankets every few weeks or every month to ensure good, clean sleep. But there is one part of the bed that people in both groups tend to overlook. The pillows.

Clean linens are important but we tend to skip over one of the most important parts of our bed, the place we lay our heads down every night. Our pillows can affect our sleep and, as it turns out, our health. When we skip over washing them, we're not just missing out on the fresh scent of clean laundry. The Cleveland Clinic reveals that dust mites — tiny insects on the microscopic scale — gather in our pillows and our linens. Breathing them in can set off allergies and even trigger an asthma attack.

It's pretty clear why you should wash your pillows. But that still leaves the question of how. And, more importantly, how often.

It depends on who you ask

As with most things in the world of cleaning, there are differing opinions on how you should wash your pillows and how often they need to be washed. In an interview with Health, Anna Harasim — the owner of Anna's Cleaning Service in New York City — said that pillows should be washed "at least once a year". Consumer Reports, however, suggests washing your pillows once every season (in other words, four times a year) and fluffing them every day. Consumer Reports also suggests a pillow protector to help cut down on the build-up of skin and hair cells — among other things — on your pillow.

Whichever timetable you decide to go with, it's important to know the best methods for cleaning your type of pillow. For memory foam or gel pillows, Health advises against putting them in the washer. The site states that these kinds of pillows can get heavy enough to damage the machine. Instead, wash the covers and vacuum the pillows with an upholstery nozzle and the vacuum on low power. You can also spot treat them with soapy water if necessary or throw them in the dryer for about 20 minutes. If they're not ripped or torn, synthetic and down pillows can go in the washing machine, but only on a delicate cycle with minimum detergent. Once washed, they can go in the dryer on low heat with a tennis ball to fluff them back up.