Sleepers everywhere demand their favorite pillows for everyday use, often bringing the perfect personalized pillow along on camping trips, airplane travel and hotel stays to ensure a good night’s rest. However, when hygiene is the most important consideration in a pillow, comfort can get kicked to the curb. Hospital patients, nursing home residents, hotel patrons and even allergy sufferers benefit from pillow casings that protect them from bacteria and dust mites. The Hohenstein Institute, Bönnigheim, Germany, discovered that the coated membrane inside most hygienic pillow covers made rustling noises and produced a delayed air release—the “airbag effect”—that disturbed sleepers.
Dr. Jan Beringer and a team of Hohenstein researchers analyzed these features and designed a new pillow casing that suppresses the noise, eliminates delayed air release and increases fabric breathability. The underlying design principle was that pillow cover fabric should be as fine as possible; warp knitted fabrics worked best. These were backed by a special membrane to provide hygienic security, combining the two materials to optimize thermal insulation, moisture management and skin sensory comfort. The team tested the pillow casings’ durability under commercial processing conditions, especially important for pillows with multiple users and frequent washings. The casing “allows managers to do a great deal to help their patients or guests get a good night’s sleep which will, in turn, help them to relax or recover,” says Beringer.