How Often Should I Change My Pillow

How Often Should I Change My Pillow – A Complete Guideline


We know that mattresses are important for a good healthy sleep but a pillow also plays an important role in good quality sleep. Pillow makes a significant difference in comfortable sleep. Pillow provides required support to our neck and head.

Pillow gives support and comfort undoubtedly, but you should know that a pillow can’t work properly for ages. One needs to change the pillows at regular intervals to avoid back pain uncomfortable sleep. Yes, very old pillows might lead to an uncomfortable sleep or even mild aches and neck ache. Replacing pillows in regular intervals also prevents allergen build-up and improves sleep quality

A person needs to know when to change their pillow. A general thumb rule from the sleep specialist says that pillows should be replaced every one to two years. If a person can change pillows in this interval regularly, he can have a comfortable sleep for the entire life. 

There are other ways to know when to change the pillows, that is when a person feels discomfort in sleeping or if he/she is waking up with aches or if a person is not being able to find a comfortable position to rest their head and neck then their pillow may need to get replaced.

Reasons behind replacing your pillows

Your pillows can’t last forever in an intact position. With passing time expensive and best pillows too wear out and encourage the breeding of allergens. For good support to the neck and head, it is good to change the pillows at least every two years.

  • Encourages Hygiene 

Your sweat, hair, sweat, dead skin, and body oils penetrate your pillows. These fluids can cause mildew, molds, and allergens, which accumulate and form a bad odor. Regular washing of pillows can clear itself from bad odor but allergens may still be there

  • Prevents Pain

Like the mattresses, your pillows should also retain your spine neutral. The pillow makes sure the head and neck get support when being lined up with your spinal cord. Bearing the heavy weight of your head each night gradually deteriorates the condition of your pillows. A worn-out pillow does not provide support and results in neck pain

To prevent skin issues:

New and clean pillows are also recommended for people who suffer from acne. If you remove all the makeup from your skin and go to bed and still find breakouts then the reason might be your pillow. The oils and sweat gathered in the pillow can result in acne in some people.

When to replace your pillows?

You should replace your pillows on the following occasions.

  • When the muscles of your shoulder feel cramped when you wake up in the morning.
  • When you wake up with neck pain often
  • When you can’t sleep properly due to neck and headaches
  • If any allergy symptoms such as runny nose, itchy throat, skin rashes bother you when you try to sleep
  • When you find stains or yellow spots on your pillow despite washing it. It could be from body oil or sweat.
  • When your pillow becomes flatter than before.
  • When lumps are felt in pillows
  • When you can fold your pillow in half easily

The time frame for replacing pillows also varies depending upon their material and filling. These are:

  • Foam and latex: A memory foam or latex filled pillows can last for about three or more years depending upon the quality
  • Polyester and Synthetic: These pillows are most commonly used and based on the maintenance it can last from up to two years
  • Down pillows: The fill of these pillows makes the pillows reasonably durable, and should be replaced from one up to three years
  • Feather Based: Feather-based pillows are also widely used and common ones. These pillows are cheaper than the other types of pillows. The types of pillows should be changed more at least once a year or less than that
  • Bamboo pillows: These pillows are more reliable than cotton pillows. These should also be changed once a year

Not changing your pillow regularly can bring your health issues. Why?

Apart from affecting sleep, your pillow may also influence your well-being if not changed often enough. Your pillow might be a proper breeding ground for the dust mites which live upon dead skin cells and which grow in a warm and humid environment. They are not so dangerous but might trigger eczema resulting in allergies. 

Scientists from the University of Manchester have analyzed 10 pillows that were used for two to twenty years and found that each pillow hosted up with 16 different kinds of fungi. For most people fungus pillows can be harmless but for patients with asthma or severe respiratory problems, it might cause some risks.

How to choose a perfect pillow for a good sleep and healthy life

When selecting a pillow you should always keep in mind that a good pillow should keep your neck aligned with your spine while sleeping. You need to make sure that you are using the right that the pillow you are selecting should be of the right density for your position of sleeping. A pillow with the wrong density can lead to neck and back strain. If you prefer to sleep typically on your side, you should look for a firmer and thicker pillow to provide support for your neck

The person who sleeps on their stomach should make sure their pillows comparatively flatter so their necks won’t be extended towards the back. If you sleep on your back, make sure you select a pillow that’s firm enough so that your head is not sinking too much and it should be soft enough so that your neck doesn’t come too forward.

How to prolong your pillow life 

Some tips can make your pillow last long

  • Wash your pillow every six months to get rid of dust mites and odors.
  • Wash your pillow in the hottest cycle but detergent should be gentle.
  • Pillows of memory foam and latex cannot be washed so make sure you see the laundry label before putting it in your washing machine
  • A protective pillow cover is advised to use which act as a barrier for your pillow
  • After washing makes sure, the pillow is completely dry so that funguses are not formed in your pillow.

Common questions that may arise in your mind about your pillows

Many times, you might have certain questions about your pillow. Some of them are mentioned here along with the right answers. Follow the instructions to extend the longevity of your pillow.

1. Can a pillow be hand washed?

Yes, a pillow can certainly be hand washed if “dry cleaning” is not mentioned on the care label. Most of the pillows can be machine or hand washed. The latex and memory foam pillows should be spot cleaned as machine wash can ruin the foam inside.

2. How to kill dust mines in the pillow?

Dust mites can be killed easily by using hot water while washing the pillows. The water should at least be 130°F. If your pillow cannot be washed with water, you can put them inside the dryer at a temperature of 130°F for 15 minutes. 

It will kill all the microorganisms and your pillow would be fresh as ever. Before, you take these steps; it would be good to check the instructions on the care label of the pillow.

3. Can the pillows be fluffed?

Yes, you can fluff the pillows conveniently by exposing them to the sunlight. Keep your pillows under the sun for about 3-4 hours and allow them to get dried up. Your pillow is flattened because of the uneven distribution of fiberfill and moisture. 

When you dry them under the sun, the moisture evaporates and you get to witness a fine fluffy pillow. When you pick your pillows back, pull them from both ends and adjust the fiberfill well. Alternatively, you can even keep the pillow inside the dryer for around 50 minutes on a low heat and see your pillow getting fluffy again.

When we talk or think about a sound good sleep, we always consider mattresses and pillows to remain underrated. However, in reality, a pillow also plays a vital role in improving or deteriorating your sleep and overall health. 

Therefore, keeping the pillows clean and replacing them regularly helps in your restful sleep. It boosts sleep quality which impacts good health. Selecting a perfect pillow is equally important. So, next when you go shopping just keep in mind to replace your old pillows to maintain a healthy life. 

If you want to get the most out of your pillow, you should try to keep it in great shape. This will prevent your pillow from being infected by the bed bug, odor, or stain. Replacing your pillows will allow you to enjoy a restful night’s sleep and keep away the pains.

  • Updated 8 months ago
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