What people worry most about is getting rid of dust mites, microscopic creatures that feed on dead human skin and live in your house and in bedding, including your pillows. Dust mites leave droppings causing some people to have asthma and allergies. (Wow, everything poops!) Over time 2% of the weight of a pillow can be dust mites.
Are you alarmed!?! Don't be: The majority of us will be just fine by washing our bed sheets once a week, and our pillows once a year; however only hot water kills dust mites. (AMAZING, if you or I got thrown into a washer filled with water, detergent and spun around for 30 minutes, we'd die, but not those pooping dust mites!) A New York Times' article explains who should be concerned about dust mites and who shouldn't. Bottom line: If you do laundry regularly, no need to worry. You will still have some dust mites, but they won't hurt you.
People are very particular about the type of pillow they like sleeping on. It comes down to different stokes for different folks. For tips on selecting a better pillow click here.
My pillows are 75% white goose down with 25% goose feathers. The down gives a pillow plushness and softness; the feathers structure and fullness. I can sleep on synthetic filled pillows as a guest in someone else's home, but I love my natural fills. They are firm, but soft and supportive.
All the pillows in my home are encased in pillow protectors to guard against dust mites, feather allergies ... and bed bugs. All New Yorkers (including transplanted New Yorkers) are petrified of bed bugs. The local news makes us very paranoid! Don't even get me started: I can't tell you how many times I've nearly freaked over discovering a black speck, which turned out to be a dark piece of lint. (That's normal, right?) I highly recommend pillow protectors to extend the life of your pillows, and why not get the most protection for the buck? (If you think I'm bad, try attending a party in a New York City luxury building. Rich folks don't let guests bring their coats inside their apartments. Coats are hung on a coat rack in the hallway ... far, far away from the host's closets, or bed.)
On Friday I decided to wash my pillows. I used a front load washing machine, hot water, a mild eco-friendly detergent and tumble dried them on hot for 30 minutes. Some people like to throw a few tennis balls into a dryer to fluff them up. (I didn't.) As of Monday morning, my pillows are still slightly damp.
So be sure to have alternate pillows to sleep on. After a wash, you want your pillows completely dry before putting them back into their encasement to prevent mold.
And as for the saying "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite" ... please! I perfer, "Sweet dreams."
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