Effective tips to rid yourself of the nasties lurking in your pillow for a clean, germ-free sleep 

Sep 18, 2023
Given that the average human spends a third of their life sleeping, it's important that what you're sleeping on remains clean and germ-free. Source: Getty Images.

Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for your overall health and well-being. However, did you know that your pillows could be a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, and dust mites?

Your seemingly innocent pillows may be harbouring a host of health hazards and unseen nasties that could silently compromise your well-being. Over time, pillows accumulate dust mites, dead skin cells, and allergens, creating a breeding ground for respiratory issues like asthma and allergies. The moisture from your breath and sweat can also encourage the growth of mould and bacteria within the pillow, contributing to a range of health problems, from skin irritations to sinus infections.

Not only can these allergens trigger respiratory problems, but they can also cause unsightly stains on your pillows. These pillow stains not only look unpleasant but can also be a breeding ground for germs.

Given that the average human spends a third of their life sleeping, it’s important that what you’re sleeping on remains clean and germ-free.

Most people manage to stay on top of cleaning their sheets and pillowcases. But how often do you get around to also cleaning your pillows to remove the causes of unsightly yellow stains? Fortunately, there are simple ways to remove these stains and keep your pillows fresh and clean.

Domestic service entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Hygea, Lily Li, says there are a number of reasons yellow stains form on pillows, with the biggest culprit being sweat.

“People sweat while they are sleeping even though they don’t realise it. Sweat travels through the pillowcases, into the pillow and starts colouring the pillow,” says Li.

“Lying down with wet hair or makeup can also bring yellow stains to the pillows because chemicals such as hair products, makeup, and other types of skin products can discolourise the pillow. The natural oil from people’s skin can also cause yellow stains on pillows.”

When it comes to keeping your pillows fresh and clean, prevention is better than cure with Li suggesting washing out “hair product, dry your hair, remove makeup or any face cream before you go to bed”.

For a little added protection Li suggests adding “a pillow protector over your pillow before you put it into a pillowcase”.

“This gives a layer of protection between the pillowcases and pillows. Buy pillows that are made from fluid-preventing fabric. They are designed against sweat and spills,” she says.

Source: Getty Images.

If you’ve left it too late and yellow stains have taken hold of your pillows there is still hope. Li suggests “using a stain removal spray or a paste of baking soda water before you put the pillow into the washing machine” for smaller stains. If the stains are proving to be a little too stubborn “use a combination of detergent mixed with soap. Keep in mind that you need to read the instructions on the care label to avoid any damage to your pillows”.

“It is very hard to remove yellow stains if they have been there for a long time. So, the best way to remove yellow stains is to prevent them from the beginning. Remember to fully wash your pillows at least twice a year, it will help reduce the number of yellow stains that appear on your pillows,” she says.

Fantastic Cleaners’ cleaning expert Dean Davies suggests a combination of “laundry detergent, washing soda, dish detergent and vinegar in a small container” to get pillows back to as good as new.

“Put the pillow in the washing machine and add the cleaning solution afterwards. Keep in mind that a second wash cycle is required because the cleaner is thick and sticks on the pillow surface,” says Davies.

Maintaining clean and germ-free pillows is a crucial step towards achieving a restful and healthy night’s sleep.

Regularly washing and replacing your pillows and spot-cleaning stains can help you achieve better sleep and prevent the risk of respiratory problems.

Investing in your sleep hygiene is an investment in your overall health and well-being, so make sure to prioritise it for a healthier, happier you.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.



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