Yellow pillows can affect your respiratory, skin and sleep health


A bumpy yellow pillow with a mysterious stain has become a staple in many homes, according to heated online discussions trying to make sense of the strange obsession.

“If you don’t have a crusty yellow pillow, you’ve never truly lived,” said one comment on TikTok. “There’s no better pillow than an old yellow pillow,” wrote another.

A recent tweet stated Yellow pillow “magic” It received a lot of likes and even caught the attention of NBC News, but people have been sharing videos of their beloved but badly stained marshmallows for years.

Even though you think your yellow pillows bring you a lot of comfort, it’s time to say goodbye. Experts say all this discoloration is a buildup of dirt that can cause problems for respiratory, skin and sleep health.

“Those old yellow smelly pillows, while associated with some kind of emotional attachment, can expose you to allergens and create a breeding ground for mold,” says Dr. Zachary Rubin, a pediatric allergist in Illinois. “Additionally, Over time, these pillows wear out and they don’t provide the neck support you need.”

Watt houryour pillow is yellow

Over time, the buildup of oil, dirt and sweat from your hair and skin can leave a nasty residue on your pillow, says Mississippi-based dermatologist Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky. This results in discoloration.

Your face also produces a sticky, oily substance called sebum, which keeps your skin moist. Sebum is not the same as sweat, but it can also collect on pillows.

Drool, makeup and other facial products, and wet hair can also turn your pillow yellow, Zubrecki says.

Why your yellow pillow could be a health hazard

Zubrecki says sleeping on your favorite yellow pillow for years on end can lead to acne breakouts and other types of skin irritation because the buildup of dirt can clog your pores. This is especially true for people with eczema, rosacea, acne, or other sensitive skin.

The bigger issue for some people may be exposure to the same allergens that call yellow pillows home, namely dust mites, Rubin said.

Dust mites are tiny bugs that love to eat tiny flakes of dead human skin. When you sleep on a dirty pillow, you may inhale proteins from their feces, urine, or decomposing bodies, which can cause inflammation and irritation in the respiratory tract.

“Dust mites thrive in moist environments, so you’re basically sleeping with major allergens,” Rubin said.

According to the American Lung Association, about four out of five U.S. homes have dust mite allergens in at least one bed. These organisms are a major indoor trigger for people with asthma and can also live in upholstered furniture, carpets and curtains.

Rubin says your immune system has a circadian rhythm, which means certain conditions like allergies, eczema and asthma will flare up on a unique schedule depending on the time of day, but mostly at night. If your pillow is dirty, these conditions may be aggravated when you are trying to rest.

Poor sleep can lead to a range of health problems, such as chronic fatigue, stress, high blood pressure, depression and an increased risk of infection.

Rubin adds that mold and pet dander are other irritants that can accumulate on pillows.

How to keep your pillow hygienic

The first step to keeping your pillow clean is to avoid sleeping without a pillowcase. She adds that certain pillowcases are gentler on the skin and may inhibit bacterial growth, such as those made from bamboo and silk.

You can also buy a washable zipper cover and place it between your pillow and pillowcase for extra protection, Rubin says.

How to properly clean and disinfect pillows:

  • Remove your pillowcase and sprinkle baking soda on your pillow to reduce odors.
  • Vacuum the baking soda after at least 30 minutes.
  • Spray pillows with a fabric-safe disinfectant.
  • Place the air pillow outdoors for a few hours every two weeks.
  • Machine wash your pillow carefully every three months, preferably using a detergent that does not contain fragrances, fragrances or dyes.
  • Please air dry before replacing pillowcases.
  • Replace pillows every one to two years.

These tips vary depending on the type of pillow you have, so read all labels before washing.

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