How Often Should You Change Your Pillows?

Pillows are easy to take for granted. Yet more than 30 percent of our lives is spent sleeping, which means our pillows are in constant use. Recognising that our pillows need replacing from time to time respects their impact on our health and sleeping patterns and maintains the cleanliness of an area where we spend a third of our time.


As with anything, there are several factors that contribute to the frequency with which we should change our pillows. The bedding industry suggests every one to two years. But how much a pillow is used, its material and how well it has been cared for are all relevant factors.

Quality materials, such as latex or foam, may last for around three years. But cheaper polyester-filled pillows may only have a life of six to twelve months. The greater the quality and quantity of the filling, the longer the pillow will last.


The short answer is, ‘Because your health may depend on it.’ Not to mention your comfort. Over time, pillows collect a range of undesirable contents, including mould, mildew, dust mites, sloughed skin, hair and fungus, all flavoured with sweat and saliva. All of these can trigger allergies and other health conditions that may affect our skin or breathing.

Additionally, pillows just wear out, becoming thin and failing to give the level of support and comfort they once did. Try the fluff test – if your pillow doesn’t regain its shape after fluffing, it’s time for a new one.


Understanding the kind of pillow you need helps in understanding how frequently you will need to replace it. The firmer the pillow, the denser and higher quality its filling, the longer it will last. Cheaper, thinner pillows might be what you need, but they will need replacing more often. But what you need is what you need and trying to save money by buying a pillow that is wrong for your sleeping posture is self-defeating. Like anything else, a pillow will wear out more quickly if it is not being used in the right way.

Specialised pillows, such as orthopaedic pillows or pillows with cooling technology, will have a lifespan specific to their manufacture and usage, in which case check with the manufacturer regarding replacement.


Pillows wear out, like everything. But their lives can be extended, so here are some tips for doing that.

Pillow protectors provide a barrier to dirt, absorbing sweat and saliva before they reach the pillow.

Regular washing keeps your pillows fresh and clean.

Regular fluffing prevents the contents from clumping and helps a pillow to retain its shape.

Storing spare pillows in a cool, dry place prevents damp and mould.

To sum up, your pillow is crucial to quality sleep and good health. Look after your pillows, but recognise when their days are done and don’t be shy of replacing them.