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Do you have evidence the Pillow-Vac really does kill germs and bacteria?

Yes, we have independent laboratory test results that bear out the claims we make that the machine kills between 96 and 98.4% of bacterial pathogens.

Does the Pillow-Vac kill bed bugs?

Bed bugs live mostly on the outer covers of your mattresses. There are chemical sprays that kill them, or extremely high heat or steam can be used, but the Pillow-Vac does not kill “varmits” so cannot be advertised as a means of controlling bed bugs.

How many pillows may I expect to clean per hour?

It generally takes 3-4 minutes to completely clean a pillow… that’s ripping the old pillow open, emptying the contents into the tumble chamber, turning the old shell wrong side out to be certain you get all the filling, adding additional feathers if appropriate, agitating the filling for 1.5-2 minutes, blowing it into a new ticking and sewing the opening closed upon completion. So, you should be able to clean somewhere between 15-20 per hour.

Am I limited to only feather and down pillows?

Any kind of loose filling may be renovated with the Pillow-Vac. Ground rubber, shredded poly, kapok, cluster fiber, simply anything that’s not a solid piece or batting can be cleaned in the same manner as feathers and down.

So what do I do if I get a memory foam pillow or a polyester batting type of pillow? Do I turn it away?

Absolutely not! Put the piece in the tumble chamber but do not turn the agitator on, and leave it under the light for 1.5-2 minutes. While it’s in there, open the 6.5” seam on the new tick to allow you to simply slide the piece back in a new shell and there you have it.

What if someone asks me to simply clean their old ticking and re-use it?

You would politely tell them that you can certainly return the old tick in a plastic bag if it has a sentimental value but you cannot launder it and use it again for a few reasons. First, 99% of the dust and dirt in an old pillow is adhered to the inside of the old ticking. When you turn it wrong side out most often it looks and feels almost like felt because the body oils and perspiration that each of us have slowly penetrates the weave of the fabric and causes it to stick to it. You simply can’t wash all that out. Secondly, if you wash the old tick, you wash the sizing out that is applied at the finishing mill and small holes appear in the fabric. If it is a feather and down pillow, it will almost immediately begin to leak feathers through the shell. Lastly, even if you did wash it and try to reuse it, you take a big risk of the threads in the seams being weakened by the washing and when you put the ticking on the Pillow-Vac the force of the blower may cause the threads to give way and you have a tremendous mess to clean up!

Why do feathers stick to the window of the pillow machine?

Static electricity can be experienced from time to time which results in an accumulation of down or small feathers on the plexiglass window of your Pillow-Vac. You may even be the unfortunate person who reaches to remove the ticking from the nozzle at the end of the cycle only to be greeted by a spark and slight shock. 

Static electricity is an imbalance of electric charges within or on the surface of a material. The charge remains until it is able to move away by means of an electric current or electrical discharge. A static electric charge is created whenever two surfaces contact and separate, and at least one of the surfaces has a high resistance to electric current (and is therefore an electrical insulator).

In the case of the Pillow-Vac, the brushes must be in contact with the sides of the tumble chamber to sweep the filling in front of the discharge hole. The brushes (an electrical insulator) do exactly what the previous paragraph describes, they come in contact with the surface of the chamber then separate as they rotate. 

What can be done to reduce the static electricity? First of all, a well grounded machine will help. Running a copper wire from one of the bolts that hold the agitator motor on the back of the machine to a water pipe or similar well grounded source is a good start. Trying to keep the air where the machine is operating from being very dry (such as is the case in many winter environments) through the use of an air ionizer or humidifier will reduce the influencing factors that aid in static build up. You can consider using an anti-static spray prior to emptying the old pillow contents into the unit which has been known to help.

Since there is no complete “cure” for this phenomena, we have found the best way to cope with it is to have an air hose handy. Either running an air hose to the machine or positioning it near an existing line allows you to “squirt” short blasts of air onto the window to get the down or feathers off after most of the filling has been blown into the new ticking and the brushes are still rotating. As long as the blower is going at the same time you won’t need to worry about  blowing down or feathers out of the machine into your work area.

Someone brought me back a pillow and said feathers were coming through the shell/ticking. How is this possible? I thought they were feather and down proof?

The first question to ask your customer is if they were using a pillow protector, or a zipper cover, in addition to their pillow case that came with the sheets? Nearly every time, if they’re telling the truth, they have been. Please bear with us while we explain the reason this makes such a difference and causes this problem.

The ticking we sell is, most definitely feather and down (f/d) proof. In order to be f/d proof, the ticking must have a very tight weave, nearly always is 100% cotton, and often has backfill, or sizing applied at the finishing mill to insure it will keep the feathers from poking through the weave of the fabric.

When a person takes their head off a feather and down pillow after a night’s rest, there is an indentation in the pillow. The down clusters and feathers that have been compressed for several hours start to expand, regain their natural shape and open up again. In doing so, air is drawn into the pillow.

The pillow cases that come with any sheet set have one complete end open. This allows plenty of air to come into the pillow in order for the expansion of the down and  feathers to occur. When a pillow protector, or zipper cover is used, the amount of air allowed to penetrate the ticking is restricted, creating a vacuum between the pillow protector and the ticking, inevitably pulling the feathers right through the ticking.

In nearly all cases, the use of pillow protectors does just the opposite of what most people think they will. Instead of lengthening the life of a pillow, they shorten it. Many individuals feel they will keep the pillow cleaner using one, and in the case of synthetic pillows they may, but they will definitely be causing the pillow to leak feathers much sooner than found in the normal wear and tear of a pillow. When you change your sheets and pillowcases every 5-7 days, you are doing as much for your pillow as you can.

How often should we suggest people have their pillows cleaned?

A good rule of thumb is annually.  Just as people change the battery in their smoke alarm to insure against undetected fires, your pillow should be cleaned, sanitized, deodorized and get fresh new ticking to reduce the chance of unhealthy germs and bacteria building up.

How do I know how many feathers to add to a pillow?

That is a great question, and one that simply cannot be answered with a simple chart. A pillow that you might think is “soft” may be “medium” to someone else, and a “firm” pillow is even more subjective. What makes it doubly difficult is that there’s so much room on a king size pillow for the filling to shift that it’s tough to determine. We suggest you train your counter personnel to ask every customer if they want feathers added (as a means of generating income and increasing customer satisfaction). If they do, ask if they want it “medium” or “firm”. If they want it medium add 1 quarter lb. bag of feathers and if they want it firm, add 2 or 3 bags.

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