The 1 Thing You Need To Prevent Your Bed Pillows From Turning Yellow

Are your pillows turning yellow and nasty? Here’s what that means.
The Utopia Bedding pillow protector from Amazon.

There’s something truly horrifying about stripping your pillows for wash day only to be met with yellowed pillows staring at you in the face. HuffPost has previously investigated exactly why pillows accumulate yellow discoloration: In essence, it’s the physical consequence of sweat, oil, skin cells and even skin care that has rubbed off your face — physical secretions that are part of what makes us human.

Though such shedding of oils and cells is largely inevitable, there is one item that can help prevent your pillows from turning that dingy yellow: A pillow protector.

HuffPost Life contributor Anna Rahmanan previously spoke to allergist Dr. Neeta Ogden about the benefits of adding a pillow protector to your bedding setup. According to Ogden, pillow protectors “will provide a barrier between you and the allergens that can lurk in pillow fibers over time, including animal dander, mold spores, dust mites and pollen drifting in from outside.”

A pillow protector, which provides an extra layer of fabric between your skin, your pillowcase and your pillow, can be a huge benefit for those who want to keep their pillows looking brand new while protecting themselves from exposure to allergens.

We’ve rounded up some reviewer-favorite options from Amazon, Walmart and Target for folks who are ready to invest in a pillow protector but don’t know where to begin. Read on for some of the best picks available right now.

HuffPost and its publishing partners may receive a commission from some purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently curated by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

Probably the best affordable pillow protector on the market
This bestselling two-pack, which has nearly 20,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, is likely the best you’ll find at an affordable price point. Its knitted jersey material is so soft and comfortable that Amazon reviewers report they forget the protectors are even on their pillows. A TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) coating covers all sides of the pillow protector to ensure they’re completely waterproof, while their double-hemmed stitching and zip-closure seals off allergens and bugs. Plus, they’re available in a range of neutral and bold colors to keep this bedding addition feeling fun and not simply utilitarian.
A quiet, soft, reviewer-favorite option with 15,000 five-star Amazon ratings
With over 15,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, these waterproof quilted protectors are a tried-and-true option for pillow protector loyalists. They’re impressively durable yet soft, and in fact only get softer with time, according to one reviewer. Their auto-lock zippers ensure they stay secure over your favorite pillows. Their most important feature? They’re quiet: “They do NOT sound crunchy like the old school plastic covers,” one reviewer writes. As a result, you won’t hear (or feel) the pillow protector while you’re resting your head — a quality so impactful that reviewers’ finicky toddlers sleep well on them, too. Plus, they're machine washable!
A highly rated pack that protects equally well against allergens and bugs
Boasting a 4.7 out of 5 rating on Amazon, this Guardmax option is so effective that everyone from multiple-property owners and folks in bug-infested rentals swear by them. They’ll keep your pillows protected from liquids, allergens and dust, as well as from the worst-case scenario for any tenant or homeowner: bugs and bedbugs. With locking zippers and soft, wrinkle-resistant, moisture-wicking fabric, they create a seal over your pillow so nothing will get through to your pillowcase or your skin, with a second high-range laminate lining underneath the primary fabric to make sure that nothing gets through. They’re also designed to wash up easily in washing machines.
A hypoallergenic, cotton protector for hot sleepers
This pick — with a 100% cotton outer shell — wicks away moisture while blocking your skin and your pillow from dander, dust, mildew, dust mites, sweat, drool and more. Thin and lightweight with a noiseless waterproof backing, it’s an ideal option for folks who sleep hot and are looking to prevent perspiration from yellowing their pillows. It’s also a great choice for prolonging the life of pricey down pillows: Reviewers love how well this protector keeps feathers from escaping or poking through “like needles” into their skin.
A doctor-designed two-pack
This “sleep defense” protector was designed by a doctor to provide health-care-quality bedding protection to homes. This option features extra-secure seams, super-soft knit polyester and a thick waterproof layer to ensure no saliva, sweat or other liquids make their way to your pillow or your skin. It’s also carefully designed to still be breathable, so you’ll be able to sleep comfortably and cool.
An option you can wash on hot
These AllerEase protectors come highly recommended, with a 4.7 out of 5 rating on Amazon. They’re zippered, comfy, offer full-barrier protection and are designed to be extra durable — so durable that you can confidently wash them in hot water.

Before You Go

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