You should wash your pillow every 6 months; here’s how

It’s National Nap Day, and that got us thinking about an important part of a good nap -- that many times is overlooked: your pillow.

Most people don’t realize it’s recommended that you wash your pillows every six months.

Pillows can hide lots of gross stuff -- from dirt and oils to dust mites and mold.

And some of those nasty things can also break down your pillow over time.

So where to start? We’ve got some good advice from WikiHow.com.

The best place to start is your pillow’s tag. It will give you specific instructions.

But what if it doesn’t have one or you just want to be extra careful and wash your pillow by hand?

First of all, not all types of pillows can be treated the same.

While most are machine washable, memory foam and latex pillows cannot be washed.

For pillows that can be washed, fill a sink, bathtub or large bin with hot water. That will kill the dust mites living in your pillow.

Gently stir in laundry detergent and then submerge the pillow for a few minutes. Make sure you press it down several times so it absorbs water.

Keep doing this until the soapy water gets entirely through the pillow.

If the water is too hot, wear a pair of rubber gloves.

Once your satisfied, empty the bin or tub and rinse out all the soap.

Then, rinse the pillow in water until it runs clear when you squeeze it.

Put the pillow on a clean surface and fold it over several times, to get out as much water as possible.

Do not twist down pillows, because that will damage the feathers.

You can dry the pillow in the dryer or on a clothesline.

So what about those memory foam and latex pillows?

You’ll have to spot clean any stained areas.

Start by vacuuming your pillow for about 15 or 20 minutes.

Then wash stains with a washcloth dipped in mild, soapy water.

Let it air dry completely.