Pillow FAQs – answers to the top 16 questions and everything you need to know
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about pillows. We have covered everything you need to know about making the most out of your pillow and how to find the perfect one for you.
Navigate through the contents below to skip to a topic…
Maintaining, washing and caring for you pillow
- Can pillows be washed in a washing machine?
- Can I put pillows in the tumble dryer?
- Are pillow covers necessary?
- Are pillow protectors necessary?
The best pillows for your hair and skin
- Can my pillowcase cause acne?
- Can a pillowcase cause hair loss?
- Which pillow is best for healthy hair?
Choosing the best pillow for you
- Tips for choosing the perfect pillow
- Which pillow stays the coolest?
- The best pillow for different sleeping positions
- Is my pillow causing my headaches?
Pillows for children
- Should I be using a pillow in the crib for my baby?
- How do I introduce a pillow to my toddlers sleeping routine?
Replacing your pillow
- Can a pillow be recycled?
- How often to pillows need replacing?
- Where can I donate my pillows in the UK?
Maintaining, washing and caring for your pillow
Can pillows be washed in a washing machine?
Materials such as hollowfibre, microfibre, cotton, feather and down can be washed using a washing machine, although you should always check the care instructions on the label.
- First check for any holes or tears to avoid further damage. If you do find a split in the material, make sure to sew it up before you attempt to wash it.
- Remove from their pillowcase and put into the washing machine. Two at a time is ideal as it balances out the weight.
- Add your detergent and select ‘large/bulky’ settings if your machine has them.
- Adjust the settings so they go through a second rinse cycle, or just put on another rinse cycle once they have finished.
Can I put pillows in the tumble dryer?
After washing, put your pillows in the tumble dryer to remove the bulk of the moisture. Put on a low heat setting so they don’t get damaged.
Once they are nearly dry, hang them outside to kill the remaining bacteria with sunlight.
Are pillow covers necessary?
Covers are necessary for health and hygiene reasons. Washing pillows is a lengthy process, but when a cover is used it doesn’t need to be washed as often. This is because the cover acts as a protective barrier, preventing bacteria from getting through.
A lot of people use covers for decoration and interior design, as they are available in so many different designs, colours and patterns.
Are pillow protectors necessary?
Protectors are slightly different from covers as protectors are primarily for safety reasons, whereas covers are more for hygiene factors.
Protectors can have characteristics such as anti-allergy, waterproof, flame retardant and fire resistant. Not only are these suitable for hotels, schools, care homes and other large establishments, they are also recommended for family homes to ensure maximum safety.
Best pillows for your hair and skin
Can pillow cause acne?
Your pillowcase could be a huge factor in the cause of acne on the face or body. This is due to the build up of bacteria that gets transferred to your face every time you sleep on it.
Every night your bedding acquires dead skin, dirt, sweat, saliva, oils and more from your face and hair. If the case is not washed, this all builds up and can cause you regular breakouts.
If you are struggling with acne, try washing your case at least once a week.
Can pillow cause hair loss?
Although it won’t cause hair loss, it could be damaging the strands or causing breakages. Compared to materials such as silk or satin, the fibres in cotton are a little rougher and can pull on your hair when tossing and turning in the night.
Which pillow is best for hair?
The kindest materials on your hair are silk or satin, so try a case in one of these materials if you want the most protection for your hair.
This is because the fibres are much smoother and softer than materials such as cotton or linen, so will cause minimal damage or breakages.
Choosing the best pillow for you
How to choose the best pillow for you…
There are many factors to consider when choosing the perfect pillow for you. Here are some factors to consider in your research:
- Sleeping position – Do you have a regular sleeping position? If so, include this in your research to find the best product which will support you in your usual sleeping position.
- Allergies – If you have allergies, choosing the wrong pillow could seriously affect the quality of your sleep. It is important to determine your allergies and find a non-allergenic option to suit you.
- Budget – Have an idea of how much you want to spend. This will indicate whether you should be looking at value for money options such as synthetic fillings, or more luxurious products such as feather and down.
- Filling – This is usually the biggest consideration for most people. The most popular fillings include hollowfibre, microfibre, feather, down, latex, memory foam, wool and cotton.
What pillow stays the coolest?
The coolest options on the market are those filled or infused with gel substances. These specialise in air ventilation and cooling effects on your body.
However, they are not always the most comfortable. To stay cool through the night whilst still maintaining luxurious comfort, look for natural materials such as cotton or linen.
Both are soft, breathable and regulate body temperature.
The best pillows for different sleeping positions
Your sleeping position plays a big role in finding the perfect pillow. Here are some tips for your finding the right one for you…
Side sleepers – The most common sleeping position which is the best for your neck and back. Side sleepers will require a thicker filling as there is more space between your head and the mattress. This is to ensure your spine is straight and not out of alignment.
Back sleepers – The second most common sleeping position. For back sleepers, it is difficult to recommend a thick or thin filling as it simply needs to be the right size to support your spine in a neutral position. A memory foam filling is recommended to prevent gravity from pushing your head to your right or left shoulder, which could cause neck damage.
Front sleepers – This position is not recommended for your spine as it forces it into an unnatural position. If you are a stomach sleeper, choose a thinner filling to reduce the bend in your spine and keep it more aligned.
Read our guide to sleeping positions for more information.
Can pillow cause headaches?
There are many reasons why you may be waking up with a headache, with your pillow possibly being one of the reasons.
Your pillow could be causing headaches if it is of poor quality or unsupportive. Over time the filling it contains will breaks down and no longer offers the correct support your neck and head require. When this happens, it is time to replace it.
Other reasons for waking up with a headache could include:
- Poor sleep quality
- Too much sleep
- Irregular sleeping routine
Useful tips for children
When should I use a pillow in the crib for a baby?
Duvets or pillows should not be used with children under one. This is because it can cause suffocation and overheating. A bare crib is best for children under one.
Between two and three years old is when you can start to introduce a pillow into your child’s sleeping routine.
How do I introduce a pillow to my toddler?
Once your child is two or three years old and they are ready to sleep with a pillow, there a few tips to follow for an easy transition:
- Your child still may not even need one when they graduate from a crib to a bed. It is best to wait until they are ready to avoid dangerous situations such as potential suffocation.
- Once they do require this support, start off very small to introduce them gradually.
- Avoid materials that are too soft and fluffy as you don’t want their heads to sink into it too deep.
- Don’t use a full-sized case on a smaller pillow case as the extra fabric could get tangled and cause injury.
- If your toddler suffers from allergies, make sure to find a hypoallergenic product.
Replacing your pillow
Can a pillow be recycled?
Duvets and pillows are not recyclable, although there are many other uses for them rather than simply disposing of them. Here are some great ideas for re-using:
- Donate to an animal charity that might use them for bedding.
- Save for packing or moving to use as protective barriers for delicate items.
- Use a foam or cotton filling for washing your car.
- Use them for decorative cushions where not as much support is required.
- Use the stuffing for cushions, toys or beanbags.
How often do pillows need replacing?
It is recommended to replace it every 6 months to 3 years. It depends on how you maintain it, the quality of it and how much use it gets.
If you purchase a high-quality product and maintain it by washing it and using a case, it should last at least a couple of years.
Where can I donate my pillows in the UK?
Most charity shops in the UK won’t accept used stuffed bedding such as duvets or pillows. Although, it is a good idea to try local forums or freecycle groups, as someone might want them for DIY crafts or pet bedding.