The Health Risks of Old Pillows

All good things must come to an end. This applies to everything, including your pillows and mattresses. As you go through your day, these things collect quite a lot of dust. They may also get deformed as you lay on them, affecting your quality of sleep. Luckily, there are a couple of telltale signs that your pillow is getting too old. If you experience a number of these, it may be time to get a replacement.

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Getting Rid of Old Pillows

Have you ever noticed how some pillows tend to get less fluffy the older they get? Or then again, maybe not. Because you see, the problem is that a lot of people do not put much thought into their pillows. The majority of the attention goes to the bigger things like the mattress. People may be willing to spend thousands on a mattress but suddenly become stingy on pillows. In reality, they share roughly the same importance. After all, they are equally important when it comes to your quality of sleep.

Pillows are a pretty good investment when you think about it. Studies show that we spend about a third of our lives on the bed. This means that they actually get used quite a bit. So, why should you settle for discomfort from old pillows when you can get newer ones?

Risks of Keeping Old Pillows

You want to save money and use your old pillows because they’re still good. We get it. But is it really worth it? Or are you setting yourself up for health risks? Here are signs to look out for so you’d know it’s time to go pillow shopping:

  • The first sign that your pillow should be replaced is when you start having frequent various respiratory issues.

This ranges from simple shortness of breath to violent coughing fits. These problems with breathing could be caused by dust mite accumulation that occurs over some time. The quick solution to this is washing your pillows regularly. However, it is recommended that pillows be replaced once they reach a couple of years old.

  • It is time for a new pillow when you wake up feeling pain.

If you feel discomfort while you sleep on a certain pillow, it is high time to get a new one. After years of sleeping on your pillow, it may have gotten deformed. It could have also lost its firmness or its ability to support you as you sleep.

If you sleep on an old pillow you may find yourself tossing and turning all night long. Your neck and spine may be misaligned. This may cause you to wake up the next day with stiffness, discomfort, and pain in these areas. Old pillows may also cause pain in the shoulder and back areas. Once pain and discomfort start, your pillow needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

  • It’s time for a new pillow when it still looks dirty despite thorough cleaning.

Your old pillows may also be causing you to get sick, which is definitely not good. When it looks dirty, there is a very high chance that it is really dirty. Make sure to properly clean your pillows.

Over time, your pillows could become a breeding ground for different foreign substances that cause sickness. Your pillows could turn into homes for things like germs, bacteria, and allergens. Some pillows may even show mold building upon them over time.

Allergens can cause the coughing and wheezing that was previously mentioned in this write up. Meanwhile, germs and bacteria can lead to a variety of illnesses. Do not choose to sleep on pillows that have had these for quite some time. Once you begin experiencing symptoms, give your pillow a quick wash. Better yet, get a new pillow entirely.

  • It is time for a new pillow when your skin gets frequently irritated.

Old pillows are also a dermatologist’s worst nightmare. Why you ask? Well, for starters, sweating is unavoidable when we sleep. This is especially true during warmer nights. This also applies to when we take naps on hot days. Sweat can easily build upon the pillow and may cause skin irritation.

Pillows may also collect saliva, which is another cause of irritated skin.  Not only that, but this along with sweat could cause acne breakouts. These are unsightly and may have adverse effects on our overall health.

Aside from sweat, dead skin cells may also irritate your skin. As we sleep, these peel of our face and neck, and collect on our pillows. Allergic reactions may also occur due to sweat and dead skin buildup. Once your skin is getting irritated or starts getting acne, wash or replace your pillows.

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When Should Pillows be Replaced?

We’re pretty sure you would want to replace your pillow but you just don’t know when. So the ultimate question remains: how often should different types of pillows be washed or replaced? Thankfully, here a simple timeline, which tells you when to do so:

  • Memory foam pillows: This type of pillow should be replaced at least once a year. The reason for this is that memory foam pillows tend to sag. Despite offering good support, the material used is not known to last long.
  • Down pillows: Pillows that are made of down should also be changed on an annual basis. If need be, it can last a little bit longer, but that is the recommended time to keep it. If they are kept any longer, they tend to clump up and get deformed. This causes them to become uncomfortable.
  • Latex: This type of pillow is among the most durable of the bunch. They may be more expensive, but they can be used for a longer time. Typically, latex pillows can last you two years before you need to get new ones.
  • Feather pillows: Feather pillows are probably the most inexpensive type of pillow. Because of this a lot of people use them. However, because they are inexpensive, they also tend to not last long. It is recommended to change them in less than a year’s time.
  • Bamboo pillows: These pillows are a bit more resilient than others, but not as much as latex ones. They need to be replaced after every roughly one and a half years of use.

This timeline simply provides general guidelines on when a specific type of pillow should be replaced. It is not set in stone. It’s very important to remember that pillows should be changed once negative effects start popping up. For instance, replace your down pillows even before the year is up if it causes your neck pain. The same goes for the other types of pillows featured on this list.

Hopefully, this has helped convince you to get rid of your old and worn out pillows. In the long run, you will thank yourself for doing so. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it is healthier, as well.

It would be better to invest some extra money into new ones. Do not skimp on quality. Just make sure that it is worth your money. When you make the right choice, you will be getting various health benefits from your new pillows. You will also be waking up every morning refreshed and ready to take on the world.