Ready for some pillow talk – literally? One common question we get is readers wondering how often to replace pillows. The answer definitely depends on a number of factors, including the quality of the pillow itself, how often you wash your sheets, and more. If you’re wondering how often should you change your pillows, keep reading to learn more.

 

How Often Should You Replace Your Pillows?

There’s no scientific conclusion on an exact time frame on how often to replace pillows, and you sure won’t find an expiration date printed on your bedding! So, how is one to know how often to change pillows? We can give you some rule-of-thumb guidelines:

If you’re using a simple, inexpensive pillow, you should be replacing it every 6 months or so. Cheap pillows (usually made of polyester) wear out very quickly, loosing their shape and becoming lumpy. Since they are cheap, replacing them often is not a huge expense.

If you’re using a nicer pillow, you should be replacing it every 18 to 36 months. Higher-end pillows, often made of memory foam or other more durable materials, have more structural integrity and therefore last a lot longer than run-of-the-mill cheap pillows.

 

Why Do Pillows Need to Be Changed So Often?

If you’ve been rockin’ the same sad old pillow for years, and are just now realizing that pillows need to be replaced quite often, you may be curious as to why. Well, there are two basic reasons:

Comfort – you spend 6-9 hours a day, every day, using your pillow. The weight of your head and neck (which is about 10 pounds!) presses down on your pillow, causing it to change shape and become lumpy. Sure, you can re-fluff the pillow to adjust its shape, but after a while, it simply will not return to the comfort level it offered when you first got it. With higher end pillows, the damage is slowed, but still takes place. Keeping a pillow for too long can result in neck pain and other problems.

Cleanliness – as it turns out, pillows can be havens for dust mites, allergens, bacteria, and more. In fact, after just 1 year of use, up to 15% of your pillows weight could be made up of dust mite poop. Yup, pretty gross. But beyond just being disgusting, these contaminants can contribute to allergies, acne, disease, and more. Replacing pillows often is highly recommended, both for health and comfort.

Research has shown that most people do not know how often to replace pillows, and therefore tend to keep their pillows for far too long. But, now YOU know the truth, and can start making the proper changes to replace your pillows often.

 

I Need a New Pillow! What are Some Good Options?

There’s a million pillow options out there, so finding the right one for you can be quite the task. To help, we’ve put together a few guides:

The best pillows of the year – an overall guide to top quality pillows that we recommend

The best memory-foam pillows – a guide for those who like ’em soft and supportive

The best pillows for back sleepers – a guide for those who like to catch the ZZ’s on their backs

The best pillows for side sleepers – a guide for side-snoozers

The best pillows for neck pain – a guide for those experiencing neck pain

The best travel pillows – a guide for the jet-setters

Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows is a freelance writer, CPAP user, and self-proclaimed sleep enthusiast from the Seattle area. When he's not writing or researching about sleep science, you can find him snowboarding, cooking or traveling the world. Contact him at [email protected]

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