Is there anyone not embarrassed by yellow pillows? Because those stale drool marks and vaguely head-shaped grease shadows gross me out. I've done the whole whiten-your-pillows schtick and it was super satisfying. But when we recently replaced our master bedroom pillows, I was determined to keep them snowy white from the start. Enter waterproof pillow covers, which, aside from keeping your pillows pristine, bestow other (arguably more important) benefits.
You may shy away from the idea of waterproof zippered pillow covers because of bad experiences with them being crinkly and loud or too hot. But there are many options with waterproof rubber membranes (read: extremely thin and malleable) that are cool and comfortable. Here's why you need them:
Keep your pillows fresh
A waterproof membrane on your pillows obviously keeps sweat, drool, and body oils away from the fabric of the pillow, which is much harder to clean than any cover. Washing entire pillows can potentially lead to mold spores if your pillows are filled with down, or cause clumping or other issues if your pillows are synthetic. Rather than trying to wash and dry entire pillows, you can simply wash the covers. So much easier. In addition, you know that no fluids are seeping into the pillow and you're not cuddling up to grossness night after night.
Control dust mite allergen
Environmental control of allergens begins in the bedroom. Zippered pillow covers made with impermeable fabric fight dust mites in two ways: One, they keep your shed skin cells from feeding dust mites that love to make their home in your warm, humid pillow, and two, they keep dust mite allergens from escaping the pillow and getting into your breathing zone. You don't have to buy new pillows for this to work; covering your existing pillows with an allergy cover will starve existing dust mites and also immediately help you breath more easily (physically and metaphorically) from the first night you use them.
Dealing with bed bugs
It's important to know that pillow covers do nothing to prevent bed bugs. Unlike the microscopic dust mite, bed bugs are way too large to live inside your pillow. They also feed directly from biting people, not from our skin cell by-products, so they just live on bedding, not in it. However, if you were to have to deal with a bed bug infestation, it, again, would be infinitely easier to wash pillow covers than the pillows themselves.