What to Know About Your Pillow

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Courtesy of the AARP

A good, healthy sleep equals a comfortable sleep. While we may keep track of the life of our mattress, our pillow deserves some attention, too. The wrong one could be why you’re waking up cranky, or worse, achy. Get to know your pillow, and discover when it’s time for a new one, with these tips.

They need covers, too. Gone are the days when a nice pillowcase did the job. In addition, zip a protective cover over your pillow first. A good cover can block out dust mites, bedbugs and other allergens, plus protect your pillow from oil and dirt on your skin. Wash the cover at least once a month.

They don’t last forever. Waking up with a sore or stiff neck? It might be time to go pillow shopping. “If the pillow is lumpy or sagging, if a down pillow has lost its loft or a foam pillow is crumbling, then it’s best to toss it,” says Carolyn Forte, director of the Home Appliances, Cleaning Products and Textiles at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Her tip: Try folding a fiberfill pillow in half and place a heavy book on it. If it springs back into shape when you remove the book, it’s still good; if not, let it go.

They need to be cleaned. Seems obvious, but when is the last time you threw your pillow into the washing machine? Get into the habit of an occasional wash to get rid of dirt, dust, or particles from your hair or skin. Check the tag for specific instructions. But in general, it’s safe to wash a foam-filled or synthetic pillow on a gentle cycle, according to Consumer Reports. Hand- wash down- or feather-filled pillows, then use your washer’s slowest spin cycle to draw the water out. Dry pillows for an hour using moderate heat. For a quick and thorough drying process, add a couple of dry towels and, believe it or not, a couple of tennis balls. The balls keep the filling from clumping.

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