Addicted to novelty since 2001

How Often Do You Replace Your Pillows?

The ones you sleep on, that is. My parents failed to equip me with this information growing up, and I’ve changed cities or countries often enough for it not to have been an issue up to now. I don’t know about you, but my pillows get kind of yellow after a while. Plus, they lose a lot of their pillowy softness.

Additionally, there’s the multi-pillow factor to consider. If you, as I sometimes do, sleep with two pillows (neither of which is a body pillow, thank you) presumably that doubles the life of each pillow. Assuming you don’t distinguish between them. If you have a “top” pillow and “bottom” pillow in the stack (keep your gay slang jokes to yourself, thank you), then probably their longevity is affected unevenly. Someone needs to do a PhD on this.

26 Responses to “How Often Do You Replace Your Pillows?”

  1. Devon

    How often? Not often enough, probably. As far as cleanliness goes, though, I wash my pillows often (read: obessively often) due to a dust mite allergy. And I have them all encased in dust mite proof coverings.

    I actually prefer pillows that aren’t new and all soft and squishy. I like them hard and lumpy, as strange as it sounds. Which is a good thing, because the washing machine tends to lumpify a pillow very quickly.

    I can’t believe I wrote all of that about something as inane as pillow replacement. :)

  2. Jody Cairns

    How does one wash a pillow? I wash their cases every couple of weeks, but the pillow itself? I’ve never washed a pillow.

    I replace them when they get uncomfortable. I probably have 10 year old pillows that are still usable. Whether that’s healthy or not…

  3. Olaf

    This is one of those things I appreciate being married for. It’s my wife I look to for advice such as this (incl. matching clothes, hair advice, et al).

  4. heather

    i only replace them when i can’t sleep on them anymore. i finally had to replace a Very Old Pillow last year. it was quite traumatic actually. i’d had that pillow for as long as i could remember. i, like devon, actually like lumpy pillows and that pillow was perfectly lumpy, but i got concerned by its age and decided to retire it.

  5. Rob

    Wow. I *just* had this discussion with my girlfriend. It turns out my pillow replacement schedule is not up to what many people consider “normal”. I love my old squishy pillows, and haven’t replaced them as often as is apparently required.

    This is truly a strange world.

    Other than the pillow stuff Darren, your folks did a fine job. I was going to tell Gord that at your birthday but then I said to myself “nahh”.


  6. cam

    So strange. My girlfriend forced me to replace my pillows yesterday. Apparently 5 years is too long to keep a pillow. Who knew ?

  7. Sue

    Since I used to be all about the poly-fill pillows, I had to replace them probably about once every five years because they’d get all flat and wouldn’t plump up like I like them to. Now I’ve discovered the joys of a multi-zone down/feather fill pillow, which has more technology than an early-days Game Boy, it seems. I am hoping this pillow will last for ten or more years. Then again, who knows when the next pillow technology will come along and make the multi-zone pillow obsolete. It happens with every other consumer product out there – why not pillows?

  8. Aaron

    Not often enough. I think a good pillow will last over 10 years. My last old pillow may have been close to 20.

    There are ways to clean them, but I’m no expert. Actually, I had to replace my last pillow because it exploded when I tried cleaning it. Here was my plan: fill the bath tub about half way with warm water, and very little soap. Then, put the pillow in, and kind of mash it around until it got all soggy. By this time the water was a nice yellow-brown (maybe those dust mite bodies? maybe re-hydrated sweat?)… anyway, after about 3 cycles of this, the water started to clear up. I was then trying to ring it out by squishing the water out… unfortunately, I don’t think the pillow case was up to it. The pillow exploded and filled my bath tub with soggy feathers.

    I probably could have salvaged the whole mess, but I was pretty tired of it by then. We trashed the old pillow, and bought two new ones. They’re way too fluffy, but I’m working hard to flatten mine into a nice dense lump.

  9. Devon

    I do nothing quite so elaborate with my pillows. I shove ’em in the washing machine, on hot, and then into the dryer.

    I would not recommend that with a feather pillow, though. :)

  10. col

    wow, all this pillow talk (you knew that was coming).

    i think pillow replacement is one of those things you just don’t think about…

  11. Rob

    I also unceremoniously toss my pillows into the washing machine.

    Mine are all coming up to the three year mark, I suppose. I might replace them soon. They’re getting too hard for my liking.

  12. dana

    What do you do with all of the old pillows you don’t want anymore. Not sure sure what the most environmentaly correct thing to do is…?

  13. Kevin

    Well… My current pillow… Is like 30 years old.. My ex’s didn’t like it cause it was old… But oddly enough they’d spend more time with thier heads on my pillow than thier’s when sleeping. I wash it every 6 months… Twice in a row on gentle(with woolite) then air dry..

    Its that really old sit on huge style.. Like a 3×3 size. It has a furry synthetic outside.. With small stressball style balls in it. I think they stopped making them because of fire rules or something. But seriously its the most comftorable pillow I’ve ever owned… All the new ones seem to die in about 6-8 months. I’ve bought new pillows many times only to have them die in 6 months… None gives me the same comfort as my old pillow. The new sitdown pillows are too hard.

    Seriously when will they make them like they used to???

  14. Jasmine

    I have a wicked allergy to dust mites and recently was told by an allergist to replace my pillow every three months. I also bought on of those zippered allergy free covers for my pillow.

  15. Astrila

    I’ve been told that you’re supposed to replace them every 4 years, but that was without dust mite covers on them…I can’t seem to find info that says how often you’re supposed to replace them if you’ve had covers on them the whole time…

  16. Down Pillow

    OK – I’m probably biased here (Footnote I work for a pillow company) – but even I have really old pillows I refuse to let go of :-) We do tell folks to replace them every other year. As for washing a down pillow – that is totally doable – just make sure you dry it at least twice – and possible three times (make sure to karate chop the fill around enough). If you do want a new pillow (I recommend our primaloft kensington pillows) – come to my site and use coupon code secret08 for an extra 10% off.


  17. Pillow

    Unless you are getting your informaton from a reputable website or your doctor then you should not make asumptions. I found out from my doctor that you should replace your pillows every year.
    Why? Dustmites live in you pillows, it makes no difference if you wash them they don’t go away. Secondly they like mosture and heat. So think about it when put in the washer and then thrown into the dryer or even letting it airdry will not help. Bascially when put in these situations dust mites multiply a couple thousand times. Even going to bed with your hair wet and your warm breath can make them multiply.
    HOWEVER, using a dust mite pillow case protector extends the life on the pillow.

    Now with that in mind, I don’t mean to gross anybody out but if thats what lives in your pillows, think about your mattress, your couch?? Even some rugs. And your towel, (the general rule is that as long as they are allowed to completely dry you can use the same towel for about 4 days.)

    AND most people that are allergic to dust mites, are allergic to their POOP!!!

    Think about this the next time you lay your head on your pillow.

  18. Brieanna

    My little pillow is 12 years old and is still useable. I use it as a normal pillow that I almost always sleep on. I got it when I was one year old. I had to sew it up once because of my dog, but it is still comfortable. I sleep with another newer pillow under it, though.

  19. Edmon

    i heard in singapore, they replace their pillows every 3 months

  20. tkros

    Seriously: 5 years is too long to keep a pillow? There is no such rule. I consider myself very fastidious, but I’ve never washed a pillow (hard to do with feathers or down), and only wash the covers. I use a pillow case and pillow protector. Yes, the go yellow, but that does not mean they are dirty. Yellow spots may indicate dirt, but if it’s evenly yellow, that’s just normal aging of the foam or pigment from the feathers. My mother was super clean too and she had the same pillows 20 years or more. If you keep the cases clean, it’s not an issue. My pillows have been in use many years and have no odor, so they are probably clean enough. If they stink, or are falling apart, or are too uncomfortable, replace them. Foam may break down in a few years. A good feather pillow is good for many, many years.

  21. tkros

    tkros: oh, and since this discussion seems to factor on gender lines, I’m female and am the person generally in charge of our washing/replacing schedule.

  22. Katherine Putziger

    I wash my feather pillows occasionally using a European front loader washing machine that runs at 190 degrees Fahrenheit, and spins at 1600 rpm, the entire cycle lasting almost 2 hours. They are promptly put into the dryer, as to avoid molding that occurs almost immediately at that temperature. A second drying cycle is usually necessary. In addition, occasionally I bring the pillows to the local dry cleaners, who retick the pillows after washing the feathers. Some of my pillows are approaching 20 years old, and are still as good as new ones I have purchased. Also, I have a feather bed from Pre-War Germany that is still in super condition. Maybe we are hardy people, but there are no allergies nor sinus problems in my house.

    The dry cleaner’s charge $8 for cleaning the feathers and reticking a pillow.

  23. Konners

    Well I’ve had the same pillow for 20 years, I’ve had it since I was more or less born, it’s a foam pillow with eggshaped ripples really comfortable been awesome for ages it’s kind of fallen appart during my child hood due to over zealous pillow fights where my weighty pillow was handy, and it’s lumpy but it’s so comfy!!! I have no asthma, no allergies? The case it washed once a week, and I’m not sure if my pillow itself has ever been washed only reason I bring it up is my gf wants it gone, it’s like a Teddy to me :( had it so long… Should I let it RIP? And how often should you replace foam pillows? I can’t stand to sleep on anything else

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