Eew! Dust mites are just one of a whole host (see what we did there?) of critters that are feeding right under your nose. But that's not all...read on.
How long has it been since you changed your pillow?
Be honest (and we will too). Six months? A year? Longer?
Most people don't think about changing their pillows until the dirt and lumpiness factors, even with repeated washings, make the pillow all but unusable. But there are reasons to change your pillows regularly. Here's the (occasionally gross) truth about your pillow and what happens to it over time.
Dirt and Oils
Over time, even with regular washings, dirt and oil from your face and hair can build up inside your pillow. For some people, this means a tendency toward acne and greasy hair. It can also be what's causing that smell you just can't seem to get rid of inside your pillow.
What's eating you? A lot, especially at night. Dust mites live in pillow crevices, feeding from your and the room's leavings (they seem particularly attracted to shed human skin cells). Unfortunately, they can trigger issues such as asthma in susceptible individuals.
Fungi love damp areas, and even in a cool room, your face may sweat at night into your pillow. Over the course of six months to a year, ample opportunity has been given for tiny spores to take root inside your pillow and make a home there.
Lumpiness and Loss of Support
On the less disgusting side, pillows tend to go out of shape over a number of months. Memory foam helps delay this, but may contain or have been processed with chemicals that are harmful for you to come into contact with and to breathe in the residue of.
What Can You Do About It?
1. Try to buy pillows that contain materials that are microbe and fungi-resistant. Natural fibers can accomplish this, so don't jump to chemically-treated options; check out what you can find in the way of bacteria-resistant, hypoallergenic wool, for example.
2. Make sure the pillow covers you choose are also non chemically-treated/produced options, and be sure to wash them regularly and change twice during the week.
3. Re-fluff your pillows before sleeping on them at night, and turn over each night so your pillow pulling equal duty from both sides rather than sinking in slowly over time in one spot.
4. Vacuum your carpet and other bedroom upholstery regularly to keep the dust mite population down over the entire area.
5. Clean your pillow per the manufacturer's instructions. If chemical cleaning methods are recommended, however, substitute an organic/non-irritating cleaning solution instead.
6. Replace your pillow every six months so you have a fresh start with a clean, allergen- and mite-free rest on a regular basis.