How long do pillows last and when is it time to replace them?

Last Updated on May 18, 2021

We spend a third of our lives in bed, which is why you should make sure your sleeping environment is healthy and beneficial for our sleep. Most people worry about the mattress they sleep on first, but they shouldn’t forget that pillows are just as important because they support your head and neck.

You should replace your pillow regularly to prevent allergen build-up and enhance your sleep quality. You are probably wondering how often should you change your pillow and what can you do to keep it free of allergens. We are here to tell you everything we know on the subject. By the end of this guide, you would have learned:

  • When is it time to change your pillow
  • Why should you replace your pillow
  • How to prolong its life
  • How can you fluff them up
How often should you replace your pillow?

When is it time to replace your pillow?

When it comes down to replacing your pillow, the general rule of thumb is once every 1-2 years. However, there are different types of pillows, and their lifespan can vary. The best way to figure it out is by following signs that show you it’s time for a replacement.

One of the most crucial ones is when your pillow isn’t providing enough support, and you wake up with neck pains frequently. Another issues can be the problem of falling asleep and staying that way due to headaches. Sometimes allergy symptoms can occur like itchy throat, runny nose, watery eyes, skin rashes, or breathing difficulties.

Overall, the condition of your product may affect your health and cause sleep disruptions. If there are evident lumps and it simply feels flat, then it’s time for a change. Let’s take a closer look at each type individually:

Memory foam Pillow

Memory foam pillows provide firmer support due to the conforming they offer. However, because of that, they can sag. Memory foam doesn’t hold well when wet, which is why we recommend this type of sleeping surface is replaced once a year.

Latex Pillow

Latex is one of the most durable options, and usually, they are more expensive as well. But this makes their lifespan longer since they can be replaced once every two years. Latex pillows are great for side sleepers because they offer firmer tension.

Down Pillow

Down is a luxurious option that should also be changed once a year or a little longer than that, depending on the item’s condition. Down choices tend to lump quite a bit, and if that happens with yours, it will become unusable, meaning you’ll have to buy a new one.

Bamboo Pillow

Bamboo pillows have grown in popularity in the last couple of years because they are made from hypo-allergenic natural fibres. They are a very reliable option and should be changed once every year and a half.

Feather Pillow

Feather and feather-based choices are considered a little old-fashioned, but they are still a standard purchase due to their inexpensive price tag. Exactly because of their price, their durability isn’t as impressive as the items above, which is why we recommend replacements in less than a year.

Polyester Pillow

Last but not least, we have the most common pillows on the market and this the polyester one. Polyester is an affordable material that is widely used in the bedding industry, and depending on how well it’s maintained, it can last anywhere from six months to two years.

If you’re on the lookout for a new pillow, but you don’t know where to start, you can check our guide on “Top 5 Pillows to Buy in the UK.”

Why should you replace your pillow?

Why should you replace your pillow?

Pillows weren’t meant to last forever, and with time even the best ones will wear out. After some time, they will become a breeding ground for allergens, and they won’t be able to correctly support your head and neck. As we’ve mentioned, most options should be changed every 1 to 2 years because:

Promotes Hygiene

Pillowcases offer some protection, but your pillow can still absorb sweat, hair, saliva, body oil, and dead skin cells. All these fluids and flakes might be the reason behind cause of cause mould, mildew, and other allergens. That’s why you should wash your pillows regularly and replace them when needed to keep a healthy and hygienic sleeping environment.

Reduces Allergies

Just like your mattress, a pillow can be the perfect environment for dust mites to grow and multiply since they feed on our dead skin cells and thrive in a warm, humid atmosphere. Dust mites aren’t dangerous, but they can still affect you and your body by triggering watery eyes, an itchy throat, runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, and breathing difficulties, especially for people prone to allergies.

A study by the University of Manchester found 16 varieties of fungi in a single pillow, which is why it’s essential to regularly change your cushions to prevent allergen build-up.

Prevents Soreness & Pain

The mattress you sleep on isn’t the only thing that affects your sleep and how your body feels. Pillows also play a role in keeping your spine neutral while ensuring that your head and neck are properly supported. When a product starts to flatten and develop soft spots over time, it can lead to soreness and neck pain, which can be avoided with a new purchase.

Buy new pillow

How to prolong the life of your pillow?

When you purchase an item, if you take good care of it, you will be able to prolong its life. Here is how you can do that for your pillows:

  • Wash your pillowcase once a week, and your pillow every 3 to 4 months
  • When washing them, use a hotter cycle and a gentle detergent to get rid of all the bacteria
  • Make sure you can wash them before you do so by checking the product label (memory foam and latex can’t get wet)
  • If you can tumble dry them, put a few tennis balls inside to keep the filling from clumping
  • You can also purchase a protective pillow cover, serving as an additional barrier under your pillowcase

How can you fluff pillows?

Fluffing your pillow can also prolong its life, and you can do so by keeping them out on a sunny day for three to four hours. Typically, moisture or unevenly distributed filling can be the cause of your product for fattening.

However, when you put your pillow to dry in the sun, the moisture will evaporate, leaving you with a nice fluffy cushion. You can also pull them both ends and shake them up to adjust the filling inside. If that’s not enough for you, another trick that will also get the job done is to put your pillows in the dryer for 45 to 60 minutes on a low heat setting.

Isabelle Harris
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