How Often Should You Replace Your Pillows & Why it’s Important

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Just like your mattresses, sheets and blankets, pillows need to be regularly replaced as well for optimal sleep. Good practice suggests replacing your pillow every 6 months to four years, depending on the type of pillow you own. 

And yes, it goes without saying timely pillow replacement will not only prevent nasty allergens build-up but also help you sleep better.

Why Should You Replace Your Pillow

There are two main reasons to replace your pillow.

  1. To maintain good sleep. Just like the quality of your sheets and mattress affect how well you sleep, so does your pillow. A pillow’s main purpose is to keep your spine properly aligned throughout the night, while also providing support to your head and neck. Pillows naturally get worn out over time, and can therefore affect the alignment of your spine while sleeping. Replacing your pillows regularly will help to maintain proper alignment for optimal sleeping.

  2. Just like mattresses, pillows need to be replaced regularly to maintain healthy hygiene. We regularly produce body oils and shed skin, which get onto our pillows and absorb over time. Similarly, bacteria, allergens and dust mites can build up in our pillow over time.

How Often a Pillow Should be Replaced

How long a pillow lasts often depends on how well you maintain your pillows. As a general rule of thumb, a pillow should be replaced at least every one to two years; however, some types of pillows tend to last longer than others. Keep reading below to find guidelines on how often to replace pillows based on the material.

Australian Standards for Replacing Pillows on Your Bed

Just like anything in life, if you invest more money into your pillow, you will likely get longer use out of it. Polyester pillows are the most common and cheap, therefore they wear out the quickest. However, memory foam, latex and down pillows can last up to four years. 

Review the individual materials below for more information on the standard use for each type of pillow.

  1. Polyester Pillows: As the most common pillow type found on an Aussie’s bed, polyester pillows should be replaced every 6 months to 2 years, depending on the brand and how the pillow is holding up.
  2. Down Alternative/Synthetic Pillows: Down alternative and synthetic should be replaced every 18 months to 2 years. If you are constantly punching or refluffling your down alternative or synthetic pillow, it is most likely time to find a replacement.

  3. Feather Pillows: Feather should be replaced every 18 months to 3 years. Feather pillows conform to you while you sleep, offering both support and softness.

  4. Memory Foam Pillows: Memory foam should be replaced every 3 to 4 years. Memory foam has a reputation for being one of the most durable types of pillows on the market. If you prefer to get a more long lasting pillow type, this could be a good option for you. Likewise, if you prefer a pillow that moulds to the shape of your head and neck, this is a great option.

  5. Latex Pillows: Latex should be replaced every 3 to 4 years. Latex is made from the sap of rubber trees; the same sap is also used to make mattresses. Like memory foam, latex is one of the most durable pillow options; however, latex tends to be more expensive than memory foam.

  6. Down Pillows: Down should be replaced every 3 to four years. If you prefer sleeping on something soft and warm, a down pillow may be the best choice. Down pillows are the most expensive of the bunch but provide the most comfort and luxury while you sleep.

Signs your Pillow Should be Replaced

If you are constantly adjusting your pillow throughout the night, this might be a sign that it is time to replace it. Additionally, if you experience any of the following while sleeping, it is worthwhile to look at new pillow options.

  • Frequent neck pain after sleeping
  • Regular headaches that affect your sleep
  • Lumps in your pillow
  • You can fold the pillow in half
  • You notice tension in your neck and shoulder muscles after sleeping
  • Spots start to appear on the pillow, despite effort to wash it
  • Allergy symptoms arise while sleeping
  • You consistently wake up feeling tired

How to Make a Pillow Last Longer

To maintain your pillow, the most important thing you should do is put a pillowcase over it. Not only will this protect your pillow from natural body oils and drool, but it will also protect against allergens. To maintain a relatively clean pillow, wash your pillowcase at least once per month.

Your pillow itself should also be washed; most people wash their pillow at most every three months and at least once per year. Read the specific instructions for your pillow to see recommendations for that material; some pillows might need an additional spin in the dryer, such as shredded memory foam, to ensure that the pillow gets completely dry.

Some pillows may recommend that you not wash them. In these instances, throw the pillow in the dryer for 15-20 minutes on an air-only setting or vacuum the pillow. If the pillow gets stained, spot clean it with soap and water.

Summary

It’s a good practice to replace your pillows at least every two years. That being said, regularly check your pillow’s quality to see if it’s time to make a change.

Additionally, if you are in the market for a set of pillows to match a new mattress, or if you are hoping to replace existing pillows, review our Australian pillow guide for suggestions on the best brands and pillows to purchase.

In the meantime, make sure to keep up with cleaning your pillowcases, as well as the pillow itself. These efforts will help to maintain the structural quality of your pillow for as long as possible and will provide the best sleeping results.

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