Time for a Change: Hows Often Should You Change Your Pillows?

If you’ve been wondering how often should change you change your pillows, learn all about a healthy pillow routine and when it’s time for a replacement.

We’ve all heard that the average person spends close to a third of their life sleeping, that is a lot of time!

Normally when you hear that fun fact it is tied to the need to have a comfortable, quality mattress. But there is often another important element missing in this conversation.

The pillow! A good pillow can make all of the difference in your sleeping habits and patterns.

Finding the right pillow can be a real test. So much so that often we just want to keep the one we have.

But the question is how often should you change your pillows?

How Often Should You Change Your Pillows?

Often it can take a lot of trial and error to find just the right pillow. It has to have the right amount of firmness, has to fit the position you sleep in, and it has to keep you at the right temperature.

There is a time period that the pillow must be tried out to see if it really will improve the quality of our sleep.

Sadly, once we find the right pillow we then take it for granted and beat it to the ground. They are often used well past their prime.

And that is why you should know when to change your pillows so that you can continue to get great sleep.

The majority of specialists advise changing pillows every one to two years. By doing this, you can make sure that the pillows you are using are clean, supportive, and allergen-free. To maintain the longevity of the pillows you use, proper care is also necessary.

In most cases, you will be able to discern when to change your pillows. If you find it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position or if you wake up with a painful neck, it is possible that your pillow is no longer giving you the support you require. Similar to a mattress, you should change your pillows when they begin to droop or form lumps. If your allergies are bothering you at night or if you notice that your pillows are excessively yellowing, it could also be time to consider buying new ones.

More durable than others are some types of cushion materials. For instance, a latex cushion may last up to 3 years whereas a polyester pillow may only last 1 year. The quality of the materials or the density of the foams, in addition to the material type, might have an impact. The greatest pillow, constructed of better materials, will often last longer before needing to be replaced.

To prolong the life of your pillow and protect it, clean the pillow and pillowcase frequently. Every time you wash your sheets, you should also wash your pillowcases. Many pillows may also be machine-washed and dried on occasion.

Fails Fold Test 

First, the easiest way to know if you need to change your pillow is if it fails the fold test.

The fold test is exactly what it sounds like; fold your pillow in half and let go. If the pillow stays folded in half then it needs to be replaced. If the pillow bounces back to its original shape it may still be okay to use.

This fold test is used to see if the filling inside of the pillow has degraded to a point where it can’t hold its shape. If it can’t hold its shape then it can’t support your head, which will lead to many problems.

Physical Distortion 

Another very obvious way to know if it is time to replace pillows is if there are obvious physical distortions.

If your pillow is lumpy and bumpy when it was not that way when you purchased it the filling has most likely lost its integrity.

For the same reasons as the fold test, this lack of support from the pillow filling can lead to problems in the quality of your sleep.

Wake Up with Pain 

There really is nothing worse than waking up in the morning to sore muscles. It just is not the right way to start your day off.

A pillow is supposed to be designed to help you keep the natural curve of your spine intact while you sleep. When your pillow is not functioning correctly this is not being done.

When you stay in a compromising position for a long period of time (say seven to nine hours while you sleep) that can cause damage and result in pain.

If you are regularly waking up with pain in the neck, shoulders, or back the pillow you are using may be a big part of the problem.

Noticeable Changes

Some changes can be seen when the pillowcase is on, such as the bumpy fillings. But there are other changes that indicate it is time to change the pillow that may not be visible with the pillowcase on.

If there are stains on the pillow from sweat, drool, facial or hair oils, it is probably time to get a new pillow.

Sometimes the whole pillow will start to yellow with age which is also an indicator.

Obviously, if your pillow is starting to have a strange smell you need to replace it ASAP.

How Long Do Pillows Last?

The lifespan of a pillow mostly depends on what the pillow is made from. The range can be anywhere from six months to four years. latex pillows are considered the most durable.

It can be very helpful to look up the expected amount of time your pillow should last so that you can begin to keep an eye on it around that time period.

There is a general rule that can be followed as well for ease and consistency. This is to change your pillow every six months to a year. Changing this often also ensures that your pillow is not breaking down and causing your problems.

Pillows often go under the radar when having sleep problems but really do make a big difference.

Signs Your Pillows Need to be Replaced

  • The contour of the pillow has been lost, it deflates rapidly after being fluffed, or it is bumpy.
  • You regularly have head, neck, or shoulder pain when you wake up because of a lack of support.
  • You are having allergic symptoms including sneezing, itching, and skin irritation. 
  • It smells like pillows now.
  • The pillows have stains from perspiration and body oils.

Reasons to Replace Your Pillows

Even while changing pillows periodically may seem like a burden, old pillows can cause tight muscles, skin breakouts, and allergic responses.

An old cushion may gather allergies including pet hair, mold, fungus, and dust mites. Some people may experience runny or stuffy noses, itchy skin, and irritated eyes while sleeping close to certain allergens, which might affect how well they sleep. Pillow allergies may be avoided by regularly replacing your pillows or by purchasing a pillow that is antibacterial and breathable.

Additionally, perspiration, saliva, and other filth can become stuck in your pillows and soak through the pillowcases, leaving yellow stains on the surface. For some with sensitive skin, these compounds may potentially block their pores and cause acne or rashes. Regularly cleaning pillows and pillowcases with a mild detergent will help to reduce buildup and changing pillows on a regular basis can provide a new beginning without irritating skin.

The purpose of pillows, which may be the most crucial, is to support your head and neck as you sleep, easing muscular tension and fostering proper spinal alignment. With a pillow that has flattened or sagged over time, you will not get the proper support, and you risk waking up hurting or unrested. A flattened pillow may cause aching shoulders for side sleepers as well. It could be time to get a new pillow if your current one isn’t providing the same level of support. Folding or fluffing it will not get you very far.

How to Maintain Pillows?

You may be wondering if there is any way to prolong the life of your beloved pillow. Or if you will just inevitably have to throw it out before you are really done with it.

The good news is that there are ways to maintain a pillow that may extend the life a little.

The main way to maintain your pillow is to wash it. And no we don’t mean just wash the pillowcase, we mean to wash the entire pillow. For obvious reasons, this is an important hygiene tip for your pillow.

Regularly changing out your pillowcase is also helpful in making sure it is clean and well-cared for.

Fluffing the pillow back into its original shape is also an effective way to maintain a pillow.

To get rid of body moisture that would have been absorbed during sleep, all pillows should be routinely air-dried. This revitalizes the cushion and gives the stuffing more “loft.” Check the pillow’s care label for washing directions; certain pillows may only be dry-cleaned. For instance, some pillows. For the convenience of cleaning, latex has detachable, washable zippered covers. Feather pillows may smell when used by persons who perspire a lot or during times of high humidity. The answer is to give the area enough air and use a light linen spray. Using a pillow protector will extend the life of pillows and keep them looking brand new.

There are a few things you can do to extend the life of your pillows and maintain them in the greatest condition possible for optimal comfort, even if they ultimately need to be changed. If your pillows can be machine washed, be sure to wash them as directed on a regular basis. Here are some more pillow maintenance suggestions.

1. Invest in pillow protectors

A zippered cover known as a pillow protector acts as an additional layer of defense for your pillowcase. Shielding your pillow from stains, sweat, dust mites, and smells, increases its lifespan. Use a pillow protector to protect your pillows from daily use’s wear and tear.

2. Fluff Your Pillows

Every morning, fluff your pillows to restore their form after being compressed flat all night and to get rid of any dust that has accumulated. To assist the cushion to restore its shape, squish it back and forth while holding the right and left sides. Alternatively, you may fluff your pillows in the dryer after washing or spot-cleaning them on a low heat setting if your pillows are dryer-safe.  

3. Machine-Wash or Spot-Clean

If your pillows can be machine-washed, go by the directions on how to care for them. Typically, pillows need to be washed at least once every six months. Spot-clean any stains with warm water and vinegar solution if they cannot be washed.

4. Deodorize Pillows

By sprinkling baking soda or cornstarch directly on the pillows and letting it soak for at least an hour, you may get rid of musty smells. Next, give it a good vacuuming and fluff the cushion. Another excellent deodorizing tip is to leave pillows exposed to the sun for a few hours each time you wash the pillowcases.

Why is it Important to Change Your Pillow?

It may seem a little dramatic to talk so much about how often to replace pillows but it really isn’t that dramatic at all.

The pillow that you choose to sleep with every night an actually make a big difference in the quality of sleep you get. And the quality of sleep that you get can be a big indicator of health and wellness.

Because sleep is so important to overall health, doing anything you can to make that as easy and restful as possible is vital.

So, how often should you change your pillows? As often as it becomes worn out is the easy answer!

All about your pillow

Positions for Sleeping

A soft-density or low-profile pillow will generally be best if you sleep on your stomach. Most back sleepers will benefit from a pillow with a medium density and profile, while side sleepers would benefit from a firm, high pillow that provides comprehensive support. For people who need extra neck support, a contoured pillow is great since it conforms to the shape of your neck.

Filled pillows

When purchasing a pillow, it is critical to initially comprehend the kind of fibers that are utilized in diverse items. Pillow fill often falls into one of four groups.


Latex pillows are 100% natural and keep their form for the whole of the pillow’s life since they are made from the sap of the rubber tree. Due to its natural antimicrobial, low allergenic, and resistance to dust mites, mold, and bacteria qualities, latex is a popular material.

Synthetic materials include:

Fiberfill in Micro

Microfibre Fill is a thin, denier-type fill that is blown into the casing. Since it is supposed to feel like “down,” it lofts effectively and easily regains its shape.

Memory Foam

A pressure-relief substance called memory foam conforms to the natural curves and contours of your body, easing pressure spots and, most importantly, preserving proper spinal alignment. Neck muscles will stay relaxed with the right memory foam pillow, reducing stress and headaches.

Unique Shapes and Dimensions

The therapeutic model or special size as a remedy for typical issues that concern individuals including snoring, back discomfort, and stiff neck.

Down & Feather

This kind of cushion is renowned for its capacity to ease tension and strain on the neck and shoulders. Duck and goose down is exceptionally light and has an excellent loft.

If I cannot use my pillow again, how should I dispose of it?

When a pillow approaches the end of its useful life, there may be no other use for it. We’ll go through a few ways for getting rid of outdated pillows, so your home doesn’t become cluttered.

  • Donate to an Animal Shelter – Think about giving your old pillows to an animal shelter in your community. Old blankets and pillows can provide comfort to dogs, cats, and other animals waiting to be adopted at neighboring shelters even if other organizations often do not take heavily used bedding.
  • Donate to a Charity – Additional charities could potentially take contributions of pillows. Remember that the majority of organizations only accept pillows in good condition that are clean and unstained.
  • Dispose at the Landfill – If you are unable to identify an organization that would take your pillow as a donation, you may discard it at a landfill. Put your pillow in the garbage can for simple disposal. You might have to transport your pillow directly to the closest landfill for disposal if your container is not big enough.

white pillow on white bed image


Which Pillow Styles Are Durable?

To meet varying sleeping patterns, firmness preferences, and price ranges, pillows come in a variety of designs and materials. When purchasing pillows, bear in mind that some retain their form and degree of comfort better and longer than others. The most durable pillows available are made of memory foam, latex, down, and feather, which, when cared for properly, may endure for many years. Fiber pillows are a synthetic substitute that does not last as long as pillows with natural content. They are a great hypoallergenic option, though.  

For more household tips and tricks, check out our other blogs!