What do you do with clothes after you wear them? This is not a trick question: you wash them! You might wait to wash an article of clothing after you’ve worn it a couple of times, but eventually, clothes need to be washed. Clothes accumulate dirt, sweat, oil, and maybe the occasional spill, then they’re washed.
Pillowcases should be treated the same as clothing. They are another piece of fabric that you interact with for up to 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s around 56 hours spent with your pillowcase, which is plenty of time for your pillowcase to absorb dirt, oil, dead skin cells, and sweat. But how much can these elements affect your sleep?
How an Unwashed Pillow May Affect Your Health
As dead skin cells gather among the fibers of your pillowcase, dust mites could become more of a problem. Dust mites are microscopic insects that feed on dead skin cells and their waste, when breathed in, may cause allergic symptoms. Watery eyes, runny or itchy nose, itchy throat, coughing, or worsening of your asthma — these all could be signs that dust mites have invaded your pillowcase. Warm, dry places are ideal habitats for dust mites, which is why an unwashed pillowcase is a perfect home for dust mites.
Trapped dirt and oil may also cause or worsen acne breakouts. Dr. David Bank from the Center of Dermatology Cosmetic and Laser Surgery claims that unwashed pillowcases may lead to acne mechanica, acne triggered by objects or materials rubbing against your face. If you do not launder your pillowcase often, the build-up of dirt and oil can clog your pores and may lead to blemishes.
How to Wash a Pillowcase
Washing your pillowcase should be a weekly occurrence. Here are the steps you can take to wash your pillowcases properly:
- Put your pillowcases and other sheets in the wash by themselves. Towels and other laundry items may leave lint on your pillowcases.
- Set the wash cycle temperature to HOT to remove dirt and oils from the fabric.
- Use your usual laundry detergent.
- Do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets. They leave behind waxy residue that can hold onto dirt and oil.
If you need to hand wash your pillowcase because it is silk or the laundering instructions tell you to do so, then these steps will help you:
- Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water and add your laundry detergent
- Mix the water and the detergent to ensure that the water is sudsy
- Put your pillowcases into the water and let sit for 5 minutes
- Lightly work the pillowcases with your hands
- Drain the soapy water
- Rinse the pillowcases with fresh, cool water
- Set the pillowcase on a towel to let dry, but do not ring out the water as this might damage the fibers of more delicate pillowcases
There are more ways to keep your pillowcase clean. It might benefit you to invest in multiple sets of pillowcases so you can have a cycle of which pillowcases are in the wash, which are on the bed, and which are in the linen closet waiting to be used. Find what plan works for you because the important part is to wash your sheets regularly. In addition to potential health benefits, washing your sheets will make your bed more pleasant, as well.
Clean Pillowcases with Hypoallergenic Pillows
Pillowcases that are washed regularly can decrease the amount of allergens, sweat, and oils gathering on your pillow. JUVEA™ pillows, which have an open-cell structure for breathability and are hypoallergenic, could even further increase the chance for healthy, rejuvenating sleep. Check out our selection of pillows to see which pillow is best for your needs.