How Often Should You Be Washing Your Pillows?

You rest your head on it all night, every night. But do you ever stop to think how clean –- or dirty –- your pillow might be? Most of us don't wash our sheets, blankets, and pillowcases often enough, let alone our actual pillows. When was the last time you washed yours?

If you can't remember, you might want to clean it ASAP. Over time, germs, dust mites, allergens, and sweat accumulate in and on your pillow, per Southern Living. And that's not all. Bacteria could be living on your pillow, too, according to TODAY. Two of the show's hosts had their pillows swabbed and then tested in a lab, and while the new one didn't yield any results, the test revealed bacteria and yeast lurking on the older one. 

However, before you throw out your pillow in disgust, the good news is that you can effectively rid your pillow of germs and all the rest without ruining it. The key is knowing just how to clean it — and how often to do so.

You're probably not doing it often enough

Despite the potential ickies lurking on your pillow, you really only need to wash it about once every three to six months, according to Southern Living. Part of the reason you don't have to clean it more frequently is that your pillowcase stands between you and the pillow itself, which should give you even more incentive to wash that case more frequently.

But don't just toss your pillow into the wash with your regular laundry or you might ruin it. Always read the care label first before washing anything. For synthetic pillows, such as polyester, place the pillow(s) in the washer with one tablespoon each of oxygen-based bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda, and wash in hot water. Then, dry on medium heat in the dryer.

If you have feather or down pillows, it's best to skip the washer and use a deep sink or tub instead. Mix one tablespoon each of oxygen-based bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda with warm water, and hand-wash the pillow(s). Gently wring out excess water, and allow to air-dry.

To quickly get rid of dust mites, pop your pillows in the dryer, and run it on hot for a full cycle.