How Often Should Pillows Be Replaced?
Replacing a pillow may be something you have never thought about however replacement is important to consider especially if you have been struggling with allergies or muscle pain especially during sleeping hours or more notably when you wake up in the morning.
The recommended time frame to replace a pillow varies depending on the quality of the pillow. The National Center for Biotechnology Information generally suggest that a pillow should be replaced every 1-2 years depending on the quality of the pillow.
Why Should I Replace My Pillow?
You Exhibit Signs of Dust Mite Allergies
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American, the signs of a dust mite allergy are as follows; sneezing, itchy, red, or watery eyes, nose, or throat with possible postnasal drip, itchy skin, or cough. If you have any of these symptoms when resting your head at night, it may be time to replace your pillows.
Signs of Positional Issues
If you notice that you begin to wake up with localized pain in the cervical spine or that you or your partner notice that you recently started snoring, you may be ready for a new pillow.
When evaluating the effectiveness of a pillow, the Cleveland Clinic recommends your neck remain parallel or neutral to the mattress throughout the night and that your neck does not become forward flexed or tilted backwards at any point during the night.
In some cases, the thickness of your mattress should dictate the material of the pillow you select.
If the Pillow Has Lost Its Shape or is Tattered
If the pillow is composed of anything but foam and no longer keeps its shape or is showing signs of yellowing or lumps, the pillow should be replaced. More specifically, if you wash the pillow in your washing machine or follow the manufacturer’s instructions and if this process does not revive the pillow, it is likely time for replacement.
This also applies for CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Pillows, CBD infused pillows and cervical pillows as well.
How Can I Prolong Bed Pillow Lifespan?
You should inspect your pillows for yellowing and lumps as part of a seasonal routine. In order to protect the pillow from oil and dead skin cells, you should wash your pillowcase every time you wash your sheets and use a pillow cover as a barrier in between the pillow and pillowcase.
Also, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on care for your pillows however below is a general guide just in case you lost the manufacturers information.
Memory Foam/Polyfoam Pillows: Hand wash every 2 months with a gentle detergent and let it air dry or spot clean with a gentle detergent. Memory foam pillows should never be placed in a washing machine or dryer. These pillows should be replaced every 2-3 years.
Down/Feather: Machine wash or dry clean. You many air dry these pillows or place them in the dryer on a low setting. Wash these pillows every 3-6 months and replace every 1-3 years. When these pillows do not spring back when folded, it is time to replace them.
Polyester: Machine wash in cold water and you may air dry them on a low setting. Wash these pillows every 3-6 months. Polyester pillows should be replaced every 6 months to 2 years. These are the least durable pillows on the market.
Down alternative: Machine wash in cold water and you may air dry them on a low setting. Wash these pillows every 3-6 months. Down alternative pillows should be replaced every 1-2 years.
Latex: Never wash latex pillows in a washing machine. You should spot clean and hand wash them every 2-3 months and lay flat to dry. You should replace every 2-4 years. The Cleveland Clinic states that latex is the best material for a pillow because it contours without building too much heat like a memory foam pillow.
Buckwheat: Do your best not to allow moisture on this pillow as this can ruin a buckwheat pillow. A removable washable cover will protect your pillow from damages from liquid or moisture. You should replace the buckwheat hulls every 3 years.
What Can I Do with My Old Pillows?
If the average pillow should be replaced every 2 years, you may be wondering what you should about the old pillows. Here are some ideas of what you may do with your old pillows without contributing to the landfills.
Donate or Repurpose: Some examples would be to donate your pillows to a homeless shelter or animal shelter. You can also use the filling for craft items that require stuffing.
Recycle: TerraCycle is a global non-profit company that offers free recycling programs funded by brands, manufacturers, and retailers. The most difficult to recycle waste can be recycled for free in exchange for rewards that can be earned for a school or non-profit of your choice.
The American Textile Recycling Service is the fastest growing donation bin service in the USA and accepts gently used clothing, shoes, toys, and household items. This service is not available in every state at this time however you may be able to perform an internet search for local drop-off textile recycling programs in your area.
How Are Pillows Recycled Anyway?
In general, textiles like cotton pillowcases are shredded and ground to be recycled into other products like insulation or carpet padding. Due to the nature of the product, the process for recycling pillows is different than recycling other textiles because the materials must be carefully separated.
According to Earth911, foam and polyester components are most often sent to a landfill though they can be ground or melted down if sent to a processor with the procedure to properly recycle the components. Down-filling is also often sent to the landfill however be recycled into pillows, used as fill for winter clothing, or used as a hardener for cement.
It is a good idea to take time to inspect your pillows throughout the year and re-assess how you are sleeping to find out if pillows need an upgrade. Good maintenance of your pillows should be part of routine as well. If you need to get rid of your gently used pillows, hopefully you found some useful tips on how to avoid the landfills.
He is an Engineer, designer and jogging enthusiast. His team of product testers and reviewers are as passionate as he is about sleep improvement and are on a collective mission to reveal to you only the best sleep solutions and products.