All good things must come to an end. Your pillow is no exception. As comfy and "broke-in" as it might be, your pillow could be full of allergens, nasty bacteria and other dangerous pathogens if it's more than a few years old. However, the exact timing to replace your pillow will depend on multiple factors like how often it's used, your type of pillow and more. So keep reading below to get our recommendations on when you should replace your pillow.
Why should I replace my pillow?
There's a few reasons you'll want to replace your pillow when the time is right. The big one here is health and hygiene. Researchers at The University of Manchester discovered that there are millions of fungal spores literally right under our noses as we sleep on our old pillows. What's worse, the most common species found, Aspergillus fumigatus, is likely to cause disease. The condition is called Aspergillosis, and it is a leading cause of death for leukemia and bone marrow transplant patients.
Pretty scary right? That's just fungus - you also have to consider the other nasty pathogens like bacteria and viruses which can cause a long list of severe illnesses. Of course, some pillows can be worse than others - but studies prove that no matter what, your pillow will hold and grow the same bacteria and fungus overtime. Just think of what you put your pillow through. You use the same pillow every night for a solid 6-8 hours. You cough into your pillow, you drool into your pillow, you breathe warm air into your pillow and worst of all, your pillow is always your aid in recovery anytime your sick. This is starting to sound gross now right? Your poor pillow doesn't stand a chance after a few years of all this!
Neck Pain and Allergens
Another reason you're going to want to replace your pillow is your neck and back pain. Pillows and their inner fills are going to wear-out over time and breakdown, regardless of the natural or synthetic material that is used. If you notice your pillow just doesn't sleep right like it used to or it isn't as plump as it once was - it might be time to replace your pillow. One last thing to keep in mind is the allergens that can be associated with your pillow. Pillows are prone to dust mites, pet dander, skin cells and other allergens that might cause you issues.
When should I replace my pillow?
These recommendations are general best practices for most sleepers. If you think you use your pillow more than most would, you will want to go with the shorter timespans mentioned. On the flip side, pillows that aren't used as often will last longer than the timeframes suggested. So the pillows in your spare bedroom for guests will be safe to use for a longer period than the pillow you use yourself each night.
Feather Pillows (1-2 years)
More traditional pillows like down and feather pillows have the shortest lifespan. It's recommend that feather and down pillows be replaced every 1-2 years. Their natural properties may be an appeal to some folks, but it is also the main reason for their shorter lifespan. These pillows tend to lose their shape faster which has a negative effect on the support you need for your neck and back. These traditional pillows are also more prone to the dangerous pathogens and nasty allergens we talked about above, simply because the natural feathers and down don't have properties to fight these pathogens and allergens. It's also nearly impossible to clean or wash these traditional pillows properly.
If you're reading this and your feather pillow is more than 2 years old, don't panic! Keep reading below and you'll see why Authenticity50's Custom Comfort Pillow is your best choice for a replacement. While we can appreciate the natural aspect of feather and downs - we can't appreciate the manner in which these feathers are collected from animals.
Memory Foam Pillows (2-3 years)
Newer pillows like memory foam pillows use synthetic fill, fibers and foam to create their loft and support. The big plus here is that these synthetic materials often have antimicrobial and anti-allergen properties. While these properties aren't going to be a complete shield for your pillow, they will help in slowing down the progression and growth of that nasty bacteria, fungus and allergens. These pillows are also able to maintain their shapes longer which means you'll have better support for your beck and back for a longer period. These differences in memory foam pillows allow an increase lifespan of 2-3 years, when compared to the 1-2 year lifespan with traditional pillows.
Authenticity50's Custom Comfort Pillow (3-4 years)
If you're looking for the longest-lasting pillow and one of the best pillows for neck and back pain, look no further. Authenticity50's Custom Comfort Pillow took the best part of memory foam pillows and made them even better. Every Custom Comfort Pillow has a removable and washable outer cover. This side zipper also allows you to take out or add more of our proprietary fill to your pillow to create a custom sleep just for you. This means you can literally take out all of the fill and wash the outer and inner cover of your pillow for a complete sanitation. A good cleaning will prolong the life of any pillow, but that's easier said than done with most pillows. Here are a few tips we put together to get the full 3-4 year use of your Custom Comfort Pillow:
- Keep an extra set of pillowcases on hand. We recommend switching out your pillowcase about halfway through from the time you'll wash your bedding again. This is a quick an easy way to freshen up your sleep and also keep your pillow cleaner. You'll want to wash your bedding at least every 2 weeks, but preferably weekly if you can.
- A few times a year you should un-zip the side of your pillow and pull the inside pillow out. You'll be left with the outer cover. It's very simple to throw this outer cover in the same wash with your other bedding. We recommend doing this seasonly.
- (Pro Tip) This one can be more challenging, so only do it if you feel comfortable doing it! Once a year we recommend you take all of the fill out of your pillow. Put all of the fill from a single pillow in a clean, dedicated bin so you can easily put your fill back in later. If you're doing more than 1 pillow at a time, keep the fills separate so you know which fill goes back in each pillow. After you remove the fill, you'll have the outer cover and the inner cover. You can throw these in the same wash with your other bedding! Only thing special to note is to wash these covers on cold and air dry. If you dry them in a machine, use low or no heat.
- Clean Your Fill Using the Sun: For the inner pillow fill that you took out, you can sanitize this naturally on a nice sunny day. Just take the bin of fill and set it in direct sunlight outside. Finally, those harmful UV rays from the sun are good for something! After a few hours of sitting in the sun, your fill will be ready to go back into your clean inner and outer covers to make your pillow whole again and (almost) as good as new.
- Clean Your Fill Using Water/Detergent: You can also try to wash your pillow fill using water and laundry detergent. You cannot wash the pillow fill in your washing machine. The fill may cause damage to the machine. But an old school wash in a deep sink or tub would be just as great. Remember to rinse the fill well and allow it to completely dry before adding it back to your pillow.