How Often Should You Replace Pillows?

April 21, 2021 | Casper Editorial Team
Two white pillows on all white bed Two white pillows on all white bed Two white pillows on all white bed

Life can be hectic. From work to social life and everything in between, your pillow may be the last thing on your mind when responsibilities take over. But your pillow is the last thing that cradles your head at night and the first thing that supports you in the morning.

So maybe we should spend a little time thinking about the care of our pillows.

When you’re sleeping on the same pillow every night, the filling can break down, lose its comfort, and even harbor harmful debris. Fortunately, we’re here to take the guesswork out of your pillow care. 

So how often should you replace your pillows? Ideally, you should replace your pillows every one to two years, but this time frame can vary based on several factors. Below, we’ll break down how often to replace pillows and the reasons why you may need to.

Replacement Reason #1: Pillows Can Get Pretty Dirty

While we sleep, the oils and debris from our skin become embedded in our pillow (and not just the pillowcase—the actual pillow). A chronically dirty pillow can present various dangers, including:

  • Illness-causing bacteria
  • Allergy-causing dust mites
  • Acne-causing oil and sweat

The daily dirt that builds up on your pillow isn’t grounds for replacing it entirely. When it comes to how often you should change your pillows, you might want to start with the pillow case. Best pillow care practice suggests that you wash your pillowcase every one to two weeks (or more if you’re a sweaty sleeper). As for the pillow itself? That should be washed every three months.1

Some pillows—like the Original Casper Pillow—are fully machine-washable. However, other pillows made of different materials may require alternative care. For example, a memory foam pillow can get misshapen in the washing machine, so spot cleaning is recommended for this type of pillow. For more tips on cleaning pillows, you can refer to our guide on how to wash pillows.

While washing your pillows is a hygienic practice, how dirty do pillows have to be to replace them?

It depends on a number of factors including how many pillows you sleep with. You may sleep with two pillows, with only one touching your head and the other underneath, meaning it may be more exposed to potential germs or stains.

With that said, if you’ve noticed any of these warning signs, it may be time to start shopping for a replacement:

  • Stains
  • Smells
  • New allergy symptoms
  • Recurring acne on the cheeks2

The bottom line: If it doesn’t seem fresh (even after a good wash), then it’s time to find your pillow replacement. 

Replacement Reason #2: Your Pillow Has Lost Its Shape

As our pillows age, they tend to lose their shape. This goes double if you fold, bend, or squeeze your pillows at night. Over time, you may notice that your favorite pillow doesn’t bounce back to shape like it would when it was a younger pillow. 

This problem can occur fairly quickly if you’re sleeping on a lower quality pillow—especially a synthetic pillow. These are just a few of the warning signs to look out for in an old, misshapen pillow:

  • Lumps – A lumpy pillow is the enemy of a good night’s sleep. If the filling of your pillow has begun to bunch up in new and interesting ways, it’s time to call it quits. This is especially true if no amount of fluffing can salvage your pillow’s former glory. 
  • Flatness – Over time, pillows lose their thickness. A flat pillow can disrupt spinal alignment and have you waking up with a sore neck. If your pillow is looking less like a cloud and more like a plywood board, then a replacement should be in your new future (your neck will thank you later).

The bottom line: A pillow should be fluffy, thick, and smooth on the surface. Any lumps, bumps, or lack of support means it’s time for a new pillow. 

Replacement Reason #3: Your Pillow Just Isn’t Comfy Anymore

Your pillow’s purpose is to provide comfort and support as you drift off to dreamland. No matter what the experts say about how long pillows last, if your pillow’s not fulfilling the reason for its existence, it’s time to retire it.

Lack of comfort can stem from a variety of factors. While dirt and lumps are no friend to a good night’s sleep, they’re not the only causes of an uncomfortable pillow. Other reasons you may want to replace your old pillow include:

  • Bodily changes – Our bodies are constantly changing. Whether you’ve experienced an injury or lifestyle change, a pillow that once met your needs may not cut it any longer. Some people need more neck support in bed, especially as they age, and replacing your pillow with time will ensure you get a better night’s sleep in the long run. 
  • A new bed – If you’ve recently switched to a new mattress that’s firmer or softer, or a bed of a different size, the amount of support you need in a pillow can change. 

The bottom line: Comfort is key. No matter where you’re at in your current pillow’s lifespan, replacing it may be necessary if it’s not working for your sleep quality anymore. 

Out With The Old, In With the Casper

If you’re in the market for a new pillow, Casper has the replacement you need. We offer our patented comfort and support in three types of pillows:

Whether you’ve got a misshapen, dirty, or simply old pillow on your hands, Casper has the replacement you’ve been dreaming about. 

Related Content:

What is a Down Pillow?

Sources:

  1. Huffington Post. The Gross Truth About How Often You Should Clean (and Replace) Your Pillow. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/when-to-replace-pillow-gross_n_5628180 
  2. Bustle. 11 Gross Things That Can Happen If You Don’t Change Your Pillowcase Once a Week.   https://www.bustle.com/articles/179937-11-gross-things-that-can-happen-if-you-dont-change-your-pillowcase-once-a-week 
  3. Sleep.org. When Should You Replace Your Pillow?  https://www.sleep.org/replace-pillow/