Here's How Often You Should Be Washing Your Pillows (And How to Do It)

iStock.com/FabrikaCr
iStock.com/FabrikaCr

There are numerous things lying around your home that are probably in need of a good wash. While most of us are good about washing our clothes and dishes on a semi-regular basis, many people forget to clean less obvious everyday items like makeup brushes, gloves, and fan vents as often as they should. Another item to add to your cleaning calendar? Pillows.

According to Apartment Therapy, you should throw your pillows in the washing machine twice a year, or more often if you live in a warm, humid climate. Doing so will not only cut down on the off-putting smells that result from months of nighttime drooling, but it will kill any dust mites that have gathered in there. (Dust mites thrive in tropical areas, which is why someone in Florida should wash their pillows once every few months or once per season, whereas someone in New Mexico doesn’t have to worry about doing it as often.)

Before you get out the laundry soap, make sure your pillows are worth washing. Goose down and feather pillows can last many years, but synthetic fibers don’t last as long. If the synthetic fibers in your pillow are clumping or have flattened out, that’s a good sign that it’s time to upgrade to a new pillow. To test your pillow’s viability, whether it’s down or synthetic, you should place it on a hard surface, fold it in half, and squish out the air. If it bounces back, it’s still got some life left, while a pillow that stays folded has reached the end of its life. (For more detailed instructions, the Pacific Coast Feather Company has a good primer.)

Now, you’re ready to wash. The best way to wash pillows is in a front-loading machine, because pillows can float to the top of a top-loading washer, where they don’t always get uniformly wet, Martha Stewart Living warns. You’ll want to check your pillow’s tag for the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure your pillow isn’t dry-clean only. If you cut off the tags long ago, don’t worry too much: As a rule of thumb, Good Housekeeping recommends washing in warm water on the gentle cycle with mild liquid detergent, then putting it through an extra rinse and spin cycle on cold to get out any remaining detergent. For feather pillows, though, you actually want to use powder detergent specifically designed for down because liquid soap can leave sticky residue.

To keep your synthetic pillows from getting mangled and clumped, Apartment Therapy recommends rolling them up like long sausages and securing the ends and middle with rubber bands. This will keep the material inside from sliding around too much. Try to wash two pillows at a time so that the washing machine stays balanced.

When it comes to drying pillows, the best method involves getting a little sporty: Unroll the pillow from its rubber bands and throw it in the dryer on moderate heat with tennis balls, which will help cut down on those clumps. If you add in a few dry towels, too, it will speed up the drying process. The automatic sensor on your dryer likely won't be able to tell that your pillows are still damp inside (since it measures exterior surface temperature) so you'll have to monitor the timing yourself.

If you use a memory foam pillow, however, you’re both lucky and unlucky. According to Consumer Reports, these can’t be washed or even steamed, and if you try to dry them, they’ll probably melt. On the one hand, you don’t have to wash your pillow. On the other hand, you can’t wash your pillow, so you should probably use a pillow cover to protect against your old sweat, oils, and grime.

[h/t Apartment Therapy]

The 20 Best States for Singles

monkeybusinessimages, iStock via Getty Images
monkeybusinessimages, iStock via Getty Images

Being single on Valentine's Day means you don't have to worry about cards, gifts, or date ideas. But if you'd like to do something romantic on February 14, your chances of snagging a date in time may depend on where you live. WalletHub crunched the numbers to create a definitive list of the best states to be single and looking for love in America.

To come up with its rankings, the personal finance site analyzed numerous data points for each state, including the proportion of single adults, nightlife and entertainment opportunities, and economic factors like cost of living. Combined, these qualities paint of picture of where you're most likely to find, afford, and enjoy a date.

Florida secured the number one position with a total score of 69.21 out of 100. Though it comes in 33rd out of the 50 states for economics, it places third for dating opportunities and fourth for romance and fun, earning it the top slot. It's followed by California with a score of 67.41 and Texas with 66.77. You can check out the top 20 states below, and see how all 50 states ranked at WalletHub.

  1. Florida // 69.21
  1. California // 67.41
  1. Texas // 66.77
  1. New York // 65.29
  1. Pennsylvania // 64.61
  1. Ohio // 63.10
  1. Illinois // 62.61
  1. Wisconsin // 61.13
  1. Massachusetts // 59.11
  1. Michigan // 58.56
  1. Arizona // 57.22
  1. New Jersey // 56.71
  1. Georgia // 56.11
  1. Colorado // 56.01
  1. North Carolina // 55.58
  1. Minnesota // 55.42
  1. Virginia // 54.98
  1. Washington // 54.76
  1. Missouri // 54.29
  1. Nevada // 53.64

The world uses Valentine's Day to celebrate romance, but you can take it as an opportunity to embrace singledom in 2020. If that's your plan, here are some vintage tips for living alone to keep in mind.

Keep Your Food and Wine Fresh for Longer With These Vacuum Lids

Equilibric
Equilibric

Despite how carefully you try to store your leftovers, most plastic containers aren't airtight, and oxygen is often the culprit behind why food and wine lose their flavor or spoil so quickly. But Equilibric is looking to solve this issue with their Freshly! vacuum lids, which they say can keep food fresh for five times longer than standard plastic containers.

The company just launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Freshly!, which you can back starting at $69. With this pledge, you'll receive three lids of different sizes, a wine seal, and the handheld vacuum used to give your food a proper seal.

The product is easy to use: Simply put the lid on whichever container you wish to seal, attach the vacuum to the air valve, press the button on the vacuum, and your food is ready to store in a matter of seconds. When you’re ready to eat, open the air valve, remove the lid, and enjoy.

When air comes into contact with your food, it can promote the growth of both mold and bacteria. Similarly, when air comes into contact with your open bottle of wine, it can kick off a process called oxidation, which is why your vino can taste flat after it's been opened. But when you use a Freshly! lid, you’re storing your food or drink in "an oxygen-less environment."

The dishwasher-safe lids are universal, so they don’t need to perfectly match the dimensions of the container you are trying to seal. The largest size measures 10 inches in diameter and it's recommended for large salad bowls, pans, and skillets; the medium lid is 7.9 inches in diameter and is best for standard-sized bowls and lunchboxes; and the smallest lid is 5.7 inches in diameter and is recommended for cups.

Vacuum-seal lids for food
Equilibric

According to the campaign, Freshly! lids can keep dishes like cooked chicken fresh for up to 10 days, whereas it only keeps up to five days in regular plastic containers. On average, about 30 to 40 percent of food is thrown out in America, according to the USDA. So, not only will you keep leftovers longer, but the lids can help reduce your annual food waste.

This isn’t Equilibric’s first time making equipment that helps make life in the kitchen easier. They launched a Kickstarter campaign back in March 2019 for the balanced bowl-colander hybrid that helps cooks save time and water.

The campaign has already made more than $70,000, surpassing its original $7000 goal, but you can still help bring this project to life until February 23 by heading here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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