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It’s time for some pillow talk! No, we do not mean those bedtime conversations with your partner, but literally, we need to talk about pillows. A lot of people believe that there’s no need to change your pillows often. However, there are some obvious downsides to using the same pillow for extended periods. So, how often should you replace pillows?

While you may think that the ideal time to replace your pillows is only when they appear to be obviously gross, that should not be the only motivation to do so. Just like the mattress, pillows also play a crucial role in maintaining proper spinal alignment when sleeping.

By regularly changing your pillows, you can make sure that you are taking good care of your body. So, let shed some more light on this subject.

Knowing the Signs When to Replace a Pillow

If you see any of the following issues with your pillow that we have listed below, then it is definitely the time to get rid of your old pillow and buy a new one.

  • There are permanent and noticeable stains of oil and body sweat
  • There are some obvious lumps in the filler or foam material
  • You are constantly waking up with pains and aches, especially in the neck or shoulder area
  • Due to the above reason, you are constantly waking up tired
  • You are waking up with a headache on a regular basis, or you are developing tension headaches
  • You are always waking up sneezing due to the dust mites on the pillow
  • If you own a feather pillow, you have to re-fluff it almost on a daily basis to make it comfortable enough to sleep on
  • If you fold your feather pillow in half and remains in that very same shape instead of returning back to original

You may also need to change your pillow for several other reasons other than just old age. Some other factors that affect the life of your pillow can include health conditions such as allergies or if you have lately changed your sleeping positions.

For instance, if you have recently changed from sleeping on your stomach to sleeping on your side, you will need a new pillow with a different height. This is because different sleeping positions will require different pillow heights that will keep the head, spine, and neck all properly aligned.

Another common reason why it is time to replace your old pillows is if you suffer from allergies. In such cases, you must replace your pillow more often than the suggested lifespan. This is because you are way more sensitive to dust mites.

How Often Should You Replace Pillows?

As a general rule of thumb, you should be replacing your pillows every year or two. That being said, certain kinds of pillows will last much longer than others as they have a significantly different construction and quality of the materials.

Below, we have listed some average lifespans for different kinds of pillows. These are organized on the basis of most to least durable.

  • Latex: Three to four years
  • Buckwheat: Three years
  • Feather: 18 months to three years
  • Memory Foam: 18 months to three years
  • Down: A little over two years
  • Down Alternative/Synthetic Down: 18 months to two years
  • Polyester: Six months to two years

How to Maintain Pillows

We all would like our pillows to last as long as possible. For that, you need to ensure that you take care of your pillow well.

  • Washing Regularly

Washing pillows is an excellent way to take care of them and improve their longevity. Before you do that though, it is important that you check the label to see whether it is even machine-washable or not.

In most cases, pillows that have down or synthetic down fillers can be cleaned in a washing machine. Any other kind of pillow would be ideal to have either dry-cleaned or spot-cleaned.

If you can wash your pillow in a machine, then you should do so every six months on a hot water setting. Only use a mild liquid detergent or a fabric softener, and wash two pillows at the same time so that your machine will clean them equally. After that, wash them one more time in the machine, but this time, without detergent.

To dry your pillows, use the air-only setting or low-heat setting in your dryer. Keep it in there until it is fully dried, as even a little dampness will cause mold to grow. If your pillows are filled with shredded material filler or feathers, then ensure that you fluff it regularly to maintain its shape.

  • Using Pillow Covers

While washing pillows is always a good idea, you can further protect your pillow by putting a pillowcase over it. To take this a step further, you can purchase a pillow protector that comes with a zipper. This will enclose your pillow, and you can then put your pillow cover over this.

This extra buffer will help in preventing some of the body oil and extra skin from getting absorbed into it, which would ultimately attract dust mites. A protective pillow case is highly effective. In fact, it can almost double the lifespan of your pillow. Make sure that you wash the cover every three to four weeks.

Top Reasons to Replace your Pillow

To motivate you to replace your pillow more often, let us provide you with a list of some top and gross reasons why this is essential.

  • Acne: If you want good skin, replacing your pillow often is essential. An old pillow will contain accumulated dirt, dead skin, and oil. When you press your face against it, you are essentially letting all of that into your skin too.
  • Dust Mites: Remember the dead skin and oils we mentioned? That is a buffet for dust mites. These eight-legged tiny arthropods, which are naked to the eye, feast on human skin, and ultimately trigger our allergies.
  • Bad Support: An old pillow has evidently lost its shape, and there is nothing you can do to salvage it. Sleeping on it every single night will not offer your neck, head, and shoulders any support. This will gradually cause you a lot of aches.


There is no shame in not knowing how often should you replace pillows. It can get a tad bit confusing, but thanks to our article, we are certain that you are now more than well-informed.

If you can relate, even by the slightest bit, with the signs to replace your pillow we have listed above, then what else are you waiting for? Head to your nearest store or online to find yourself the perfect new pillow now!