What makes a great pillow?
Ask the experts at pillowadvisor.co.uk and they’ll tell you it’s one that supports your head, helps to align your spine and provides a smooth surface to rest your head on so you can get a good night’s sleep.
The average pillow delivers 2500 hours a year of loyal service, and once it’s worn out it can be major factor in waking up full of aches and pains. How often you change your pillow depends on what type you choose (feather pillows can last up to 8 years if well cared for but synthetic ones are lucky to last 2 yrs). Here’s how to test whether it’s time for an upgrade and some tips on how to keep your pillows in tip top condition.
Do your pillows pass the test? Feather or down pillows: Place on a table, fold in half and squeeze out the air. Let the pillow go and if it unfolds itself back to its original shape then it means the filling still has enough support in it. If it doesn’t spring back, then it’s lost its support and needs replacing.
Synthetic pillow (polyester, hollowfibre, microfibre): Place on a table, fold it in half and place a small weight on it, around 300g (e.g. a decent paperback). If the pillow springs back to shape whilst flinging off the weight then it still has enough support, if not, it's time to invest in a new one.
Want your pillows to have a long and fruitful life? Here's how to look after them properly...
- Always use a pillow protector - to keep your pillows fresher for longer. Ideally each pillow needs a pair of protectors so you can wash one and wear one.
- Wash monthly - or more frequently if allergy prone.
- Every six month, treat you pillows to a proper deep clean. Feather, down and fibre-filled pillows can be popped in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with just a small amount of detergent (put two in at a time to keep the drum balanced). Do an extra rinse and spin just to be sure.
- Whatever you do, if you have feather pillows check to make sure there are no splits, weak seams or slits before washing (just imagine!)
- Once done, tumble dry in warm (not hot) air. Every 45 minutes or so, open the door and plump the pillows up then continue until fully dried inside and out. Leave out for a day in the airing cupboard if you can before using.
- To help make sure your pillows emerge from the drier plump and not lumpy, add a couple of clean tennis balls (or the rubber 'washing' balls) in to your machine. It will break up clumps as it circles round.
- No tumble dryer? Wait for a nice sunny day before washing and let the sunshine do the drying for you. Lay a clean dry towel on an outdoor table or other flat surface turn regularly through the day. Damp pillows tend to mould really quickly so make sure they are bone dry right the way through before using. If needs be place on top of a radiator to finish off (but avoid them getting too hot). You want slow, gentle heat and lots of puffing up in between.
- Foam pillows can't go in the washer but can be hoovered and spot cleaned if needed (leave them out in a warm place to dried before going back in to their covers.)