It’s not a matter of if but when mass traveling will resume; in other words, as soon as the global pandemic gets under control. Nevertheless, going around and about will not be the same, starting with simple commodities — like pillows.
Namely, hotel staff may ventilate your room, clean the surfaces, and wash the bedding, but there’s one place that can be a potential health hazard — the core of the pillow.
Indeed, unlike sheets, covers, comforters, and other beddings, pillows are not entirely washable; usually, only their covers get a regular cleanup.
What’s more, the World Health Organization (WHO) advises washing temperatures superior to 50 degrees centigrade and a washing time of at least 20 min to get rid of the deadly virus.
If not done properly, SARS-coV-2 can survive on fabric for up to three days (on polyester) or a day (on cotton). Likewise, a recent scientific article states that microfiber pillow cores might be particularly “corona-friendly.”
What’s more, according to research conducted by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), pillow cover fabrics are easily penetrated by fine aerosols.
For example, a single layer of cotton with a weaving density of 80 threads per inch has 86% permeability! Therefore, mouth and nose droplets can penetrate the pillow casings and carry the virus into the core of the pillow.
The CDC also confirms that if you touch an infected fabric and then your mouth, nose, and eyes, you risk getting infected. Now imagine putting your whole face on a potentially infected pillow.
This is why, in the future, some airlines will no longer offer pillows on their flights.
As for hotels and other accommodations, you’d be better off taking your own down pillow along for the ride or opt for another lightweight pillow. Some brands have even started fabricating PPE pillows to counter this threat.
Whatever the case, you should prepare accordingly.