Plus, three oh-so-comfy options for your new plush sleeping tool.

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A good pillow is one of the most important parts of a well-crafted bed, and this plush product is easily one of the most-used items in any person’s home. It’s in action for 7-9 hours (assuming you’re getting adequate sleep) every night. Even for those not sleeping much, that’s hundreds of hours a year—plus the time you spend reading, watching TV, or scrolling through your phone in bed—of use. And yet, for all that wear and tear, how often do you clean your pillows? And when was the last time you bought a new one?

Probably too long ago. And you may want to re-think that—research has shown that, after two years of use, more than a third of a pillow’s weight could be made up of dust mites (living and dead), dust mite droppings, dead skin, and bacteria. *shudders*

After processing that extremely unpleasant information, you probably want to burn all your pillows and replace them, STAT. You can, of course, keep pillows clean by washing synthetic and down pillows in the washing machine twice a year. Wash them in pairs with mild liquid detergent, and dry them on low to avoid clumping. Just remember: No matter how often you cleanse your pillows—and your pillow cases, of course—bacteria, mites, and more can still find their way in, especially if you keep your pillows around for years. And, of course, once a pillow gets flat, clumpy, or otherwise uncomfortable, it’s time to start shopping for a new one.

Below, we’ve curated three solid pillow options to suit any style of sleeper. Whether you’re tossing your old pillow because of the above [foul] information, it’s no longer comfortable, or you’re simply a pillow-shopping fiend, the right pillow is out there—and putting time and effort into finding it will benefit you for years to come.

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