How long have you had the pillow you sleep on every night?
Two years? Four years? Six?
When you check into a hotel, the pillows you sleep on will likely be much newer, as hotels replace pillows fairly frequently.
For example, Microtel went through 20,000 pillows in a single year, according to CNN. The chain, which is the budget branch of the Wyndham Hotel Group, replaces a third of its pillows every six to eight months.
Hilton, meanwhile, says its down/feather pillows last two to three years, while synthetic varieties last up to 18 to 24 months with proper care and washing.
Why is it important that hotels replace pillows?
For the same reason why you should replace your pillows at home. When we sleep, our bodies shed hair, skin and oils.
Pillows can absorb these materials and eventually begin to smell, although regular washing will prevent that. However, these conditions can also attract dust mites, which can affect people with allergies and prevent them from getting a good night’s sleep.
How do I know it’s time to replace my pillow?
Hotels replace pillows according to certain schedules, but also when housekeepers begin to notice signs of wear and tear.
Some of these signs include:
- Permanent stains from sweat or oil
- Guests complain of aches in the neck, head or shoulders after sleeping on the pillow, or report allergic reactions
- You fold the pillow in half, and it stays in that position (this only applies to feather pillows)
And keep in mind that pillows that pass the fold test aren’t immune from replacement. Your pillows go through a lot and should still be replaced every few months regardless of their condition.
How to care for your pillows
The easiest way to care for your pillows is to wash them regularly. For down pillows, that means:
- Washing two pillows at once, so that your washing machine stays balanced during the spin cycle
- Wash using gentle, additive-free soap and the fastest possible spin speed to prevent moisture from lingering
- Give the pillows an extra rinse to keep soap from persisting
- Use non-chlorine bleach to whiten pillows
- Avoid fabric softener, as this can make feathers lose their fluffiness
- It may take a few cycles to dry the pillows, but it’s important to be patient. Your pillows should be completely dry to prevent mold from forming.
Washing memory foam pillows is a different story. You won’t be able to launder them the same way you would feather pillows, as the spin cycle of the washer and the heat of the dryer can cause the foam to break down. Instead:
- Wash the pillows by hand in the sink or bathtub, using lukewarm water and a small amount of gentle detergent.
- Dunk the pillow and squeeze it so that the detergent soaks into the material. Do this for maybe 10 minutes.
- Drain the water and rinse away the detergent under the faucet. Squeeze the water out of the foam, but do not wring out the pillow. This can damage the foam.
- Place the pillow on a flat, dry surface in a well-ventilated area – but away from heat and direct sun – to let it dry.
Hotels replace pillows, because they know how valuable a good night’s rest is for their customers. A guest who wakes up with a stiff neck is a guest who’s less likely to check back in.
If your pillows have begun to show their age, InnStyle can help. Our sales team is waiting to guide you through our wide selection of pillows, pillow protectors and other bedding, all designed to give your customers the best rest possible.
Contact us at 1-800-877-4667 to learn more.