Jan 19, 2010

Something You Didn't Want to Know

10% of the weight of a pillow you've had for two years is caused by dead dust mites and their droppings. Honest. Not making it up.

Not only is that just plain gross, but dust mites are a leading cause of asthma and allergy symptoms.

But before you run out and buy new pillows, the good news is this: Dust mites die if you wash your pillows (and sheets and blankets) in water that's 130 degrees F. So make it a habit to toss them in a hot washer once a week. And if anyone in the house has asthma or allergies, invest in an allergen barrier pillowcase. They don't cost much, but from personal experience I can tell you they make quite a difference in allergy and asthma symptoms.

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  1. thanks for sharing this important information. I used to wash my pillows but they would be completely deformed after the wash. It was just so much work to bring them back to their original form. Now I just toss them and get news one at the end of fall. Our hardest allergy season is during winter time, with clean pillows we have less problems. The cost of my individual pillows are usually about $5.00/ each. At the end they are not that expensive since I am saving money on doctors visits and allergy medicine. :)

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  3. Tereza, if you wanted to wash your pillows instead, just purchase higher quality (probably more expensive) pillows; they recover much more easily from the washing machine and last several years.

  4. Kristina, we have allergies in my house, too. Do you have a recommended pillow? We have about 5 sets floating around our house (most in plastic tubs to keep as much dust/fur off of them as we can) but they all get lumpy after a washing.

    Also, are there any fabric sprays that would kill dust mites and the like? That would seem to be a good alternative to washing them if the products work.

  5. Good questions, Liberty. Rather than answer them in a comment, I think I'll make your questions the topic of a book this week.

  6. Liberty, regarding my favorite pillow, I've had great luck with Ralph Lauren pillows.