How Often Should You Replace Pillows?

Your pillows play an important role in keeping you comfortable when you are in bed sleeping, relaxing, or doing other activities. These pillows take a beating when you use them continuously for long hours, so it’s not surprising they will eventually deteriorate, no matter how expensive they are or how high-tech the materials used are. As difficult as it can be, you will need to let go of your beloved pillow after some time and replace it with a brand-new one if you want to keep sleeping comfortably and safely.

How Often Should You Replace Pillows?

Pillows are designed to provide comfort and support to your head and neck when you’re sleeping or even simply lying down in bed. It is important to keep them clean by regular washing, but there will come a time when they need to be replaced. No amount of cleaning or washing will be able to remove the buildup of dirt, dead skin cells, and other particles that may have settled into the small nooks and crannies of the pillow with continuous use. No matter how frequently you wash both the pillowcase and the pillow, there is still the possibility that dust mites have set up camp. It will also be necessary to replace the pillow when it loses its original supportive structure because it will not feel as comfortable as it initially was and can even result in sleeping or back problems with long-term use.

How Often Should You Replace Pillows?

How Often Should You Replace Your Pillows?

In general, pillows should be replaced once every 2 years. You can replace the pillows more frequently if you notice there is significant deterioration, such as considerable flattening or a crease that cuts the pillow in half. The length of time needed between replacements will also be affected by the pillow material, with some pillow materials expected to last longer compared to others. For example, latex pillows may need to be replaced every 3-4 years, but some top-quality options may last 5-10 years. The average lifespan given below offers a rough guide on when you need to replace your pillows, but the timeline can slightly vary depending on factors including other materials in the pillow, frequency of pillow usage, and your own judgment when it comes to your pillow’s condition.

Type of PillowAverage Lifespan Latex3-4 yearsBuckwheat3 yearsMemory Foam2-3 yearsFeather2-3 yearsDown2 yearsBamboo1.5 yearsDown Alternative1-1.5 yearsPolyesterHalf a year–1 year

How Often Should You Replace Pillows?

Importance of Regularly Replacing Your Pillow

Helps Maintain a Clean and Healthy Sleeping Area

Your pillows absorb every substance that your body produces while you sleep or are lying down in bed; this includes sweat, saliva, dead skin cells, body oils, and other body fluids. These excretions may not be readily seen when you look at your pillows, but they will continuously accumulate on the pillow’s surface and within. There will come a time when even washing will not be enough to get rid of the buildup of dirt and other substances on the pillow, and the only way to restore the cleanliness of your sleeping area is to replace the old with new.

Odor Prevention

Body fluids, debris, and allergens that may be on or within the pillow can develop foul smells over time, especially when proper cleaning is not done on both the pillow and pillowcase. There will come a time when the odors will stay on the pillow even with extensive washing. To keep your sleep surroundings smelling fresh, you will need to invest in brand-new pillows to replace your old smelly ones to restore a peaceful night’s rest.

Prevents Allergen Buildup

Pillows are favorite breeding grounds of dust mites. These critters love to make the pillows’ corners and surfaces their homes and are quite difficult to remove once they have been left to build up for a long time. Dust mites and other allergens such as mold and mildew can trigger allergy symptoms that will easily disrupt your restful sleep. With regular exposure to these allergens, you might even develop more serious health issues in the long run. Protect yourself from the dangers that these allergens bring by replacing your old pillows with new ones so you won’t be exposed to the allergy triggers, keeping your sleeping environment as safe and comfortable as possible.

Stops Pain and Promotes Good Back Alignment

High-quality pillows are constructed to support your neck and head so you can comfortably sleep in the position that you prefer. When pillows start becoming too soft or flat, your body will be forced to sleep in uncomfortable positions to find a bit of support for the head and neck. Instead of making you feel comfortable, an unsupportive pillow can result in pain in the neck, head, shoulders, and back while you sleep. Replace your old pillow if you feel a significant change in the way it supports your head and you feel pain while sleeping or upon waking up the next day.

How Often Should You Replace Pillows?

Signs That It’s Time to Replace Your Pillow

Stains That Cannot Be Removed

Do you see yellow or dark stains on your pillow that cannot be removed even with repeated washing? These spots can be from dust mite droppings or the accumulation of sweat, body fluids, and other substances that have seeped through the interior of the pillow. If these stains stay firmly in place after several attempts to wash them off, it’s time to replace your old pillow with a brand-new one.

Significant Flattening

If your pillow has flattened considerably, it will not be able to support your head and neck while you sleep. Using a flat pillow will force your neck to drop down too low to the bed, resulting in neck pain when it is curved unnaturally for long hours. Replace your pillow with a new one that can keep your neck and head comfortably supported.

You Have Allergy Symptoms

It may be time to replace your pillows (and thoroughly clean your bedding as well) when you find yourself being bothered by allergy symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, or sneezing while you sleep and even when you are just lounging in bed. Allergens in the form of dust mites and an accumulation of dust, mold, and mildew can be the culprits that trigger these irritating symptoms, which may also include skin rashes and breathing difficulties. Save yourself from the discomfort and sleepless nights by investing in new pillows to replace your old ones that may already be breeding grounds for allergens.

Easily Folded

Try to fold your pillow in half; it should bounce back quickly if the quality and structure are still good. If the pillow stays folded, this means the material has undergone serious deterioration and will not be able to make you feel comfortable and supported for hours. Sleeping with these pillows can result in a great deal of pain and will negatively affect your sleep cycle.

You Wake Up with Neck Pain and Headaches

Your pillow may be to blame when you constantly wake up with an aching neck or head. A flat pillow can force your back and neck to curve in an abnormal way while you sleep so your head can rest on the surface, which is much lower than it should be. When you stay in this unnatural position, you will most likely develop pain that will greet you upon waking the next day.

How Often Should You Replace Pillows?

Key Takeaways

  • Pillows need to be replaced regularly to ensure you can enjoy continuous support for a comfortable and healthy sleep experience.
  • The average lifespan of a pillow may be affected by the materials used, but signs of deterioration may hold more weight when determining the right time for pillow replacement.
  • Pillows keep the head and neck supported so it is important to replace pillows that have become flat. They cannot provide the support you need for a comfortable sleep.
  • Dirt and allergens can accumulate in old pillows and may not be easily removed even with regular washing, so it is necessary to replace the pillows to remove the allergens in your sleeping area.
  • Old pillows can cause pain in the neck, back, and head since they force the body into an unnaturally curved position while sleeping. Replacing old pillows with new ones that offer reliable support can put an end to uncomfortable sleep experiences.


Q: How often should pillows be replaced?

A: In general, pillows need to be replaced every two years. However, this time frame can change depending on various factors including materials, visible signs of deterioration, and your own judgment about the pillow’s condition.

Q: My pillow looks clean after several years of use – do I still need to replace it?

A: A clean-looking pillow does not guarantee absolute cleanliness. There may be microscopic microorganisms such as dust mites, bacteria, and mold that may be lurking on the pillow. If other signs of deterioration are present or if you have been using the pillow for more than 2 years, you may still want to think about replacing it.

Q: Will a new pillow improve my sleep comfort?

A: A new pillow without any signs of deterioration can support your head and neck so they are positioned in a naturally comfortable way. You can sleep in the position you prefer and your spine alignment will be maintained with the help of the supportive pillow, helping you sleep soundly for hours without feeling pain.

Q: Can my old pillow cause allergy attacks?

A: It is possible if your old pillow is hiding allergens such as dust mites, dust, pollen, bacteria, and mold. These invisible allergens may be causing your symptoms, and replacing your old pillow may significantly improve your allergy problems.


No matter how much you love your favorite pillow, there will come a time when it should be replaced with a new one. The replacement pillow will work to provide the support that your head and neck need so you can sleep without pains. Regularly replacing your pillows will also help protect you from allergy symptoms that may be caused by the accumulation of allergens in old pillows. It’s always a good idea to evaluate your pillow’s condition to make sure you’re getting the most comfort and the most safety!


Research Gate –

American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation –

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology –

Johns Hopkins Medicine –

Institute of Physics –

Oxford Academic Sleep Research Society –

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