Pillows are soft and simple, and help us get more comfortable. They can also get really gross. Think about it: Night after night, your pillow is subjected to whatever combination of sweat, drool, hair oil, dead skin, makeup, and any other dirt and schmutz coming out of your head, face, and mouth.
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This is why your pillows end up with those layered yellow blob stains, and why they lose their fluffiness over time (all those bodily fluids flatten the fibers). And the best way to prevent your pillows from getting these stains in the first place (along with all the gross things you can’t see) is to protect them. Here’s how to do that.
How to make your pillows last longer
Along with preventing the yellow stains, putting another layer between your head and the pillow will also make it last longer—helping to keep it both cleaner and fluffier over time. There are a few ways to do this.
Some people—especially those with dust mite allergies—opt to use a dedicated pillow protector over their pillow, but under their pillowcase. If you don’t have pillow protectors on hand, or if you haven’t found any that feel like actual fabric and not plastic, you can also use two pillowcases on the same pillow. (Or, for extra, extra protection, you can use a pillow protector and then two pillowcases.)
In a post for Food52, Arati Menon makes the case for using two pillowcases (without a protector, because she finds them “super crinkly”), noting that using an old pillowcase inside, and then the pillowcase that comes with your sheet set on the outside has similar benefits, while being more comfortable.
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If you’re going the two-pillowcase route, put them on facing opposite directions. So, once your inner pillowcase is on, rather than putting the outer one on facing the same way—which would leave the pillow itself partially exposed—turn the pillow the other way.