Here's How Often You Really Need To Wash Your Pillows

You probably already regularly wash your pillow cases, but have you ever thought about throwing the pillows themselves into the washing machine as well? There are many reasons why you should wash your pillows regularly in addition to your bedsheets. As allergist-immunologist Neil Kao explained, "Over time, hair, dead skin cells, sweat, and drool build up on the pillow" (via Consumer Reports). The buildup works its way through the pillow case and into the pillow. We then lay our heads night after night on this accumulation of gunk, which is quite honestly pretty disgusting.

Many people don't wash their pillows simply because they don't know that they should. However, others are unsure of how to go about washing a pillow to make sure they don't ruin it. Southern Living has some tips for how to wash your pillow based on its material, although you should always read the manufacturer's tag for specific instructions. Feather and down pillows should be washed by hand after a long soak in a mixture of oxygen bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. On the other hand, polyester and synthetic pillows can go directly into your washer along with the same mixture of oxygen bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. Dry them on medium heat with a couple of wool dryer balls for a quicker drying time.

So, now you know how to wash your pillows, but just how frequently should you be doing so? Keep scrolling to find out.

Don't wait longer than this to wash your pillows

A Mattress Advisor survey found that the average length of time between bedsheet changes is 24 days, while pillowcases are washed at 24.6 days. The more infrequently bedsheets are changed, the more dead skin cells, dust mites, bacteria, pet dander, and other unsavory particles are allowed to build up on the sheets, mattress, and pillows. This is why it's so important not only to strip and wash sheets and pillow cases a couple times a month, but also to make sure you're giving your pillows a good cleaning as well.

Health reported that many people go years without cleaning their pillows, while others never wash them at all. So how long should you wait between washes? The consensus seems to be no more than one year, and ideally, more than once a year. Dermatologist Jeffrey Fromowitz noted that washing the pillow in addition to the pillow cases removes lingering sweat, dead skin cells, and oil that can wreak havoc on your skin. Additionally, these particles attract dust mites, which can cause allergic reactions if not treated properly. Nelman Low, MD, an otolaryngologist, supported the practice of washing pillows for a different reason: It makes for a better night's sleep. "Sleeping with a clean pillow is just good sense. A supportive, clean pillow can make sleeping much easier."

According to The National Sleep Foundation, in addition to washing your pillows regularly, you shouldn't wait longer than two years to replace them.