How To Re-Fluff Your Flat Pillows : 3 Easy Methods

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Let’s face it, a fluffy pillow can sometimes make the difference between a good night’s sleep and waking up feeling groggy and like you barely slept at all. A good night’s rest is crucial, and a good mattress and pillows are a big part of getting the full amount of sleep that you need. 

But what do you do when your pillow starts to lose its fluffiness and feels flat?

So we at WhatASleep took it upon ourselves to find the most effective way to fluff a pillow. We tried a bunch of different methods we found on the internet and a couple that we came up with on our own to see which ones worked. 

What did we find? Most methods were effective – some took less time than others, but the result greatly depended on the type of pillow. Here we will discuss the most effective ways we found to fluff different types of pillows.

how to fluff flat pillow

What Types Of Pillows Can Be Fluffed?

Some pillows can be fluffed easier than others, some can be more effectively re-fluffed and some that you shouldn’t even bother trying to fluff. Here we’ve listed in order from easiest to hardest to fluff.

  1. Down/Goose down pillow.
  2. Kapok fibre pillow.
  3. Down alternative pillow.
  4. Shredded memory foam/latex pillow.
  5. Polyester/Microfiber pillow (to a certain extent).

What types of pillows don’t do well with fluffing?

  • Memory foam pillow.
  • Latex pillow.

Note: If the memory foam or latex pillow feels flat, it mostly indicates that the inner core has misshapen and will need to be replaced. However, you can try placing the pillow in the sun and air out for a couple of hours. Sometimes the moisture from daily use can make the pillow lose shape.

Why Do Pillows Go Flat?

Pillows go flat for many reasons, the most common being daily use. Every time you lie down on your pillow, the stuffing gets compressed. The more you use your pillow, the more it will get compressed and eventually flatten out.

Other reasons include: 

  • Not fluffing or airing out the pillow regularly.
  • Not washing the pillow regularly.
  • Improper washing of the pillow.
  • Moisture damage.
  • Storing the pillow in a way that doesn’t allow it to retain its shape (i.e. folding or storing under heavy objects).

Fluffing and re-fluffing flat pillows push air between the compressed materials and help it expand. If you have a memory foam or latex pillow, you can still try fluffing. Just make sure you’re following the proper wash and dry instructions. In the following sections, we’ll go over the different methods to fluff your flat pillows.

How Often Should You Fluff Your Pillow?

You should consider hand fluffing the pillow every two to three days. It hardly takes time and goes a long way in prolonging the life of your pillow and keeping it in good shape. Further, it’s a good idea to toss the pillow in a dryer every month and air it out whenever possible.

How to Fluff Your Pillow: Step-by-Step Guide

We’ll discuss three ways to fluff your pillow and mention some extra tips for each method.

Method 1: By Hand

  • Suitable for: Relatively new pillows – down, polyester, microfiber.
  • Time required: Less than a minute.
  • How often: Every two to three days.

You can fluff a flat pillow the old-fashioned way, by hand. It’s super easy and doesn’t require much time either. 

Start by placing the pillow on a flat surface or your lap. Push the pillow back and forth both vertically and horizontally. You can also try to roll the pillow from one side to another. If you feel a lump in the pillow, gently massage the section with your fingers to help loosen and redistribute the filling. From time to time, you should also place the pillows outside in the sun to help let the fibres breathe and expand. 

If re-fluffing by hand does not make a substantial difference in the loft, try the dryer method as discussed below.

Extra tips: If you have a down and feather pillow, try to avoid over-fluffing it as too much fluffing can damage the delicate down feathers, and the feather quills may start to poke out.

pillow fluffing dryer

Method 2: Dryer Method

  • Suitable for: All old or new pillows (more effective, in general).
  • Time required: 10-15 minutes.
  • How often: Monthly.

Note: Please check the label or with the manufacturer if your pillow can be put in a dryer or not. Some materials, such as memory foam and latex, can be damaged by heat.

Once you’ve figured out if it can go in the dryer, there are several ways you can fluff a pillow in the dryer.

  • You can fluff a pillow without washing it if you’d like, just throw it in the dryer and put it on the lowest heat setting cycle, 125°F or lower and let it do its thing. Sometimes you don’t even have to let it sit in there for the whole cycle to get a pillow nice and fluffy again.
  • If it’s been awhile since you’ve washed your pillows, follow the wash instructions on the tag and put them through the washer. Then dry on a low heat cycle.

Method 3: Tennis or wool dryer balls

Adding a couple of clean tennis balls or wool dryer balls in the dryer, along with the pillows, will help them fluff up even more as they tumble around. The constant movement will help loosen any clumps and redistribute the filling. This method works wonders for microfiber, polyester and kapok pillows.

We found the dryer method the most effective way to fluff a pillow. Surprisingly it worked well for even an almost flat microfiber pillow.

When it might be time to get a new pillow (meaning the pillow can’t be re-fluffed)

Sometimes a pillow can’t be re-fluffed, and that’s okay! Depending on the type, you should replace your pillows every one to two years, but some pillows can last as long as four years. Taking good care of your pillows will help expand their lifespan. 

Here are some signs that your pillow needs replacing:

  • You can fold the pillow in half.
  • The pillow remains flat even after trying different methods to fluff it.
  • Pillow is lumpy or has developed ridges.
  • Spots form on the pillow despite washing it.
  • Pillow is more than two years old.

Beyond the visual and physical signs that a pillow is ready to be replaced, sometimes you just don’t feel as comfortable on it anymore. If your pillow doesn’t provide the support you need or is too soft/firm, or if it feels too high/low, it might be time to get a new one.

You should pick a pillow that matches your sleep position, firmness preference and filling type. If you don’t know where to start, check our pillow buying guide for more help.

Tips To Make Your Pillow Last Longer

Pillows remain fluffy and last longer when they’re cared for properly. Here are some tips to help extend the lifespan of your pillow:

  • Use a pillow protector: Pillow protector is a sleeve or sock that goes below the pillowcase, providing an extra layer of protection against sweat, skin oils, and stains and extending the life of your pillow.
  • Wash your pillow every three to six months: Washing your pillow helps get rid of dust mites, dead skin cells, and sweat that can build up over time.
  • Fluff your pillow regularly: This will help redistribute the filling and keep it from going flat.
  • Store your pillow properly: When not in use, store your pillow in a cool, dry place. Do not store pillows in plastic bags as they can trap moisture and cause the pillow to mildew.

Getting Rid Of Your Old Pillows

If you think it’s time to get rid of your old pillows, here are something to keep in mind:

  • Due to hygiene reasons, pillows can’t be donated to charities or shelters.
  • Only down or feather pillows are eligible for bin recycling.
  • Down and feather pillows can also be composted.
  • Memory foam, latex, or microfiber pillows are not recyclable and are mostly sent to landfill.
  • You can repurpose your old pillow as a pet bed or stuff it into a toy.

Here is the link to our detailed guide on how to dispose of your old pillows.

Closing Thoughts

Sleeping on a misshapen or flat pillow is not only uncomfortable but can also lead to health issues such as neck pain. Re-fluffing a pillow is an easy way to bring it back to life and, in some cases, make it as good as new. We hope this guide was helpful and you could restore your pillow to its original glory. 

What’s your favourite method of re-fluffing a pillow? Let us know in the comments below.

James Lee

James Lee

James is the content director at WhatASleep, a certified sleep science coach from Spencer Institute and our in-house sleep product expert. Over three years, he's personally tested hundreds of mattresses. He likes to keep his reviews simple, objective, and straightforward so that the readers don't have to go through decision fatigue which is often the case while shopping for sleep products.

He hails from Sydney and has a journalism degree from the University of Queensland and an MBA from Melbourne Business School.

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