How Often Should You Replace Your Pillows

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If you can’t remember how long it’s been since you purchased your pillow, it might be time to think about replacing it. Even if you’re not experiencing pain or discomfort, experts say the general rule of thumb is that you should get a new pillow every one to two years.

You may be ready for a new pillow if you are you constantly punching or re-fluffing your down or synthetic pillow to get support or if your foam pillow looking and feeling lumpy.

You can also try folding the pillow in half. If it stays folded then it’s time for a new pillow.

Why should I replace my pillow?

There are two key reasons why you should replace your pillow.

Hygiene. Just like mattresses, we can let body oils, dead skin cells, and fluids absorb into the pillow and build up over time. Not only is that kind of uncomfortable to think about, but it can become an environment that bacteria, dust mites, and allergens will start to call home.

Good sleep. When your neck and head are supported properly and your spine is aligned, you sleep better. Over time, pillows will naturally flatten out and lose their original shape. This goes for pretty much any pillow filling and can be thought of as general wear and tear. Replacing your pillow ensures that you’re getting the right alignment for your head and neck every night.

Related: Best Pillows For Side Sleepers

How can I make my pillow last longer?

Just like you’re encouraged to protect your mattress, you should plan to encase your pillow with a protective cover. This will keep allergens at bay and stop the pillow from absorbing all of your face and body oils (and drool!). Wash the cover roughly once a month.

Clean your actual pillow at least once a year. Some experts suggest you clean it as often as every three months.

Follow the care instructions for your specific pillow, some may tell you to have it professionally done but others you can launder at home.

Some pillows – like shredded memory foam pillows – may need an extra spin to get rid of excess water and a little extra time in the dryer in order to ensure it’s completely dry.

For non-washable pillows, vacuum them or throw them in the dryer on “air only” setting for 15-20 minutes. Spot clean stains with a cloth that’s been lightly moistened with mild soap and water.

The bottom line.

To ensure a good night’s sleep and proper head and neck support, keep an eye on how long you’ve had your pillow. After two years, consider replacing it – there are so many innovative pillows out there to choose from.

In the meantime, you can help keep your pillow in good shape by cleaning it regularly (if possible) and being aware of any neck discomfort or stiffness that may indicate that the pillow is no longer supporting you correctly.


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Katie Golde

Katie manages the day to day operations of the Mattress Clarity news site and reviews sleep products in addition to writing and editing sleep news.She hails from Austin, where she lives with her growing family. She is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and has a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and has a background in health and science content. Her work can be found in print and online publications like Discover Magazine, USA Today and The Huffington Post.