Washing Pillows

We spend over thirty percent of our lives sleeping. More if you are blessed with good sleep habits. It is estimated that our body has over 1.6 trillion cells (more or less depending on how big and tall you are) that make up our skin including hair and nails. We lose almost 1 million of these cells everyday which is estimated to be about 1.5 grams. Where does this go? Not unsurprisingly, these cells are deposited around you in your bedroom, living room, on the window sill, carpet and pillow. Since a bulk of your sleeping time is spend resting on your pillow and mattress, it ends up becoming a depository for a large volume of your cells.

Besides your own skin cells, your body is also teeming with a large variety of bacteria, some of them good for you, some benign and others hostile. These bacteria also feed on your cells as food and thrive. Most of us, if not all, end up sweeping and cleaning our homes and offices regularly removing these cells. However, surprisingly we don’t do the same regularly with our pillow, pillow cover or bedsheets. Over time, they become a powerhouse of dead cells and bacteria. If you are allergic, have a cough, red eyes, asthma or other similar allergen related problems, chances are it might just be your pillow.

Some of the ways in which this can be reduced is to use a wooden or metal frame, washing your bedsheets, pillows and pillow covers once a week, washing your comforter at least once in two months and cleaning your mattress just before summer comes around. It is important to use warm water to wash as termites do not die in cold water. Similarly you can use a electric blanket as termites do not thrive in warm temperature.

I have suffered from allergies all my life. In the past two years, I have not had a single attack of allergy. In part I attribute this to a better lifestyle. I am about to add washing pillows to that list.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.