If you suffer from back pain, having the right pillow can make a huge difference in supporting your neck and spine alignment while you sleep. When you sleep at night, your pillow keeps your head and neck comfortable.
The right pillow also keeps your back and spine in the correct position so you don’t wake up with even worse back pain! However, pillows can get dirty, just like your bed sheets and pajamas.
Like any bedding item, back pain pillows need the right care and cleaning to stay nice and hygienic. So what should you do to keep your back pillow clean? Read below for helpful tips on washing, cleaning, and replacing your back support pillow.
That way, your pillow will give you the best sleep possible! We’ll talk about when and how to wash pillows properly. We’ll also give suggestions for freshening up pillows between washes. No more smelly, allergy-causing pillows!
Finally, we’ll discuss when you should throw out an old pillow and get a nice, new one. Keep reading for great information to keep your back pain pillow comfy and hygienic!
Why Pillow Hygiene Matters
Keeping your pillows clean is important for several health reasons:
- Allergy Prevention – Dust mites, mold, and bacteria can accumulate in pillows over time. This can trigger allergic reactions and asthma symptoms.
- Odor Control – Body oils, drool, and sweat can cause odors in pillows if not cleaned regularly.
- Acne Prevention – Dirty pillowcases rub against your face at night, which can clog pores and lead to breakouts (see supplements for acne).
- General Hygiene – A buildup of germs, dead skin cells, and dust can make pillows unsanitary.
How Often Should You Wash Back Pain Pillows?
Most experts recommend washing pillows every 6 months to 1 year. However, therapeutic pillows for back pain may need more frequent cleaning since your head is in direct contact with them for many hours each night.
Here are some signs it’s time to wash your back support pillow:
- Visible stains or discoloration
- Musty or sour odor
- Increased dust and allergens
- Flat, misshapen appearance.
You should also wash pillows after any illness to prevent reinfection. Those with allergies or asthma may need to wash pillows every 2-3 months.
Frequent washing is especially important if you have a pillow designed specifically to alleviate back pain. We’d recommend you make use of the most suitable or best pillow for back pain based on your specific situation. That said, therapeutic pillows have contours and shapes that need to be maintained through regular cleaning.
According to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation, the frequency people wash their pillows is:
Data Source: National Sleep Foundation Pillow Survey
Step-By-Step Guide to Washing Back Pain Pillows
1. Check the Care Label – This will indicate if the pillow is machine washable or needs dry cleaning. Memory foam and latex pillows should be spot-cleaned only.
2. Use a Mild Detergent – Liquid detergents work best. Avoid bleach and fabric softeners which can damage fibers.
3. Wash on a Gentle Cycle – Use cool water and the delicate or gentle cycle. This prevents damage, especially for memory foam.
4. Air Dry Pillows – Tumble drying can cause shrinkage or clumping. Air dry pillows completely before using.
5. Use a Pillow Protector – Adding a removable protector can protect your pillow between washes.
6. Flip and Fluff Regularly – Fluffing distributes fill and extends pillow life.
Other Tips for Sanitizing and Freshening Pillows
- Spot Clean Stains – Use a damp cloth with mild detergent. Don’t oversaturate memory foam pillows.
- Febreze Spray – Spritz pillows with an antimicrobial fabric freshener to kill odors between washes.
- Freeze Pillows Overnight – Freezing can kill dust mites without damaging most pillow materials.
- Sunlight – Place pillows in direct sunlight, which naturally sanitizes and freshens.
- Vacuum – Use a handheld vacuum with a brush attachment to remove surface dust and allergens.
When Should You Replace Your Back Pain Pillow?
Over time, pillows lose their support and compression. Experts recommend replacing pillows every 1-2 years, or when you notice:
- Loss of loft, flatness
- Misshaping that doesn’t fluff out
- Lumpy, clumped filling
- Inability to re-flatten after washing
- Staining/discoloration that doesn’t wash out
- Unpleasant odors that linger after washing.
Investing in a new therapeutic pillow ensures you get the proper spinal alignment and pain relief.
Shopping for a New Back Support Pillow
When buying a replacement back pain pillow, look for these key features:
- Ergonomic Design – Contoured for neck/spine support.
- Right Loft – Keeps your head aligned with the rest of the spine.
- Breathable Material – Allows airflow so the pillow stays cool.
- Quality Material – Such as memory foam or microfiber. Avoid cheap polyfill.
- Trial Period – Try the pillow for 30+ days to ensure it’s comfortable.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you wash a memory foam pillow?
Memory foam pillows should not be machine-washed. Spot clean stains with mild detergent and a damp cloth, but don’t oversaturate the foam. Air dry completely before use.
Can you put pillows in the dryer?
Air drying is best to prevent heat damage and shrinkage. If you’re using a dryer, use the lowest heat setting and remove it immediately after the cycle finishes.
How do you sanitize a pillow without washing it?
Try spot cleaning with diluted vinegar, spraying with an antimicrobial fabric freshener, freezing overnight, or placing in direct sunlight to naturally sanitize.
How do you make pillows smell fresh?
Wash pillows in hot water when possible. Baking soda and white vinegar also help eliminate odors during washing. Allow plenty of time for air drying since damp pillows can mildew.
When should you replace foam pillows?
Replace memory foam pillows every 2-3 years if they become misshapen, flattened, or fail to fully re-expand after compressing. Purchase from brands with at least a 5-year warranty.
Keeping your back pillow clean and replacing it when needed is so important. They are key to getting the most comfort and support from your therapeutic pillow. If you follow all the tips in this article about washing, cleaning, and buying new pillows, your pillow will give you the best sleep possible!
When you wash your back pillow the right way, keep it sanitized, and get a new one when the old one is worn out, your pillow can properly support your neck and spine.
Then when you wake up in the morning after sleeping all night, you hopefully won’t have any back pain! You’ll be ready to jump out of bed and start your day feeling great.
Taking good care of your back pillow is definitely worth it. It’s one of the best things you can do for your health and to help your back feel better. Your pillow takes care of you while you sleep, so you should take great care of it too. Treat your pillow nicely and it will keep your back aligned and pain-free night after night.
A high-quality, comfortable pillow is so important for your health and happiness. So invest in some good pillow care! It’s one of the smartest health investments you can make.