General Question

ubersiren's avatar

How often should I replace our bed pillows and what should I do with the old ones?

Asked by ubersiren (15046 points ) September 24th, 2009

We’ve had our pillows for 3 years and they’re not as fluffy, crisp and fresh as I’d like them to be. Is it time for new ones or is there something else I can do to revive them? When I get new ones, is there something I can do to keep them in good condition longer?

When I do replace them, what can I do with the old pillows? Will Goodwill take them, or is that gross? I just don’t want to throw them in the landfill. Is there a way to recycle them?

What are your perfectly practical pillow practices?

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23 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Heloise (as in Hints from) says:

“Some sleep experts suggest replacing a pillow every few years, but it’s really up to you. Here’s how to tell if your pillow is doing its job: Is the foam or batting inside the form lumpy or bumpy? Does your feather pillow have to be punched or fluffed up for support? If you fold the pillow in half, does it stay folded? If you answered yes to any of these, it’s time for a nice, new pillow. I give our old pillows to Cabernet, my miniature schnauzer, for her bed—the ultimate in recycling! ”

With my old ones, if they are in reasonably good condition, I keep them for company. Or if you have a vacation cabin, perhaps there where extra company is common. We also use them for propping up books in bed. I sleep on one, but have several on each side of the bed.

galileogirl's avatar

If you have dogs, you may want to recycle them into a “stay” place in the living room so they stay off the furniture. Some people give used linens to the animal shelter so they don’t have to lie on concrete. Pillows might work, too

SpatzieLover's avatar

I’m with Heloise. Our old ones get down-graded to the guest room, or to use in shams. Then the “old” pillows from the guest room or the shams get down-graded to the animals for their beds.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@galileogirl We were typing at the same time. Yes, your local HSUS will take pillows, comforters, sheets, towels-etc from your linen closet for the shelter animals.

XOIIO's avatar

I usually get 2 or 3 pillows every 2 years, but keep the old ones as long as I can. I have 6 pillows that I currently use, they are great for insulation in the winter and for supporting sore body parts.

ubersiren's avatar

Oh, animal shelters- what a fabulous idea!

rebbel's avatar

I always use them as silencers.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@ubersiren: It seems that most of your questions have been answered, but I’ll take a crack at the ones left. There are several things you can do to keep your pillows newer longer. One is buy memory foam pillows. I’ve had mine for at least four years, and I haven’t noticed any changes in them. (That one only works if you like memory foam). Another is to use allergen covers. Part of the reason pillows get run-down is just everyday use, but part of it dust mites crawling around inside (ick!)

ubersiren's avatar

@La_chica_gomela : Yeah, dust mites creep me out. I was thinking of investing in some covers anyway, because the husband has allergies. It’s looking more appealing to get them now.

majorrich's avatar

Head pillow moves down to tummy pillow, moves down to knee pillow, then kitties get em. about a year at each duty station.

YARNLADY's avatar

I throw mine in the laundry, and when they are clean, I separate the seams, pull out the matted stuffing, and pull it apart, then re-stuff the pillow and re-sew the seams.

If that is too much trouble, then donating to a veterinarian or animal shelter is good.

evegrimm's avatar

@ubersiren, lurve for your awesomely amazing alliteration.

I’m in the minority, I guess, because I can no longer sleep on a big puffy pillow. I like my pillows to be as flat as possible, and sometimes even go without one. Therefore, my pillows are very old. At least 10 years, if not more.

If you want to be frugal, you could always first toss your worn-out pillows in the dryer (or in your trunk in a black trash bag for a few hot days) to kill off mites and such, then put two flat pillows in a pillowcase. Voila! Puffy pillows again. :D

And lurve for everyone who suggested donations to Humane Societies!!!

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I use pillow covers, which can be taken off and washed. These zip on over the top of the pillow and can be washed when you change the bed linens. I used to double case the pillows too, with a colored inner casing and a contrasting outer casing. I used them facing opposite directions.

I take my old pillows and cover them with inexpensive upholstery fabric and use them in the family room for the kids to use when they lay on the floor to watch television,

You can wash them, and dry them with tennis balls in the dryer, to fluff.

benjaminlevi's avatar

I used to work at Goodwill, and they didn’t take pillows.

ubersiren's avatar

Wow, this thread has gotten a lot of lurve all around. That makes me happee.

@evegrimm : I’m very picky about my pillows, actually. It’s ridiculous, but I do have one flat one that I use when I sleep on my stomach or back. When I sleep on my side, I need a fluffier one, and it can’t be too firm or too soft. I switch pillows a few times during the night. Good suggestion for using two pillows in one case!

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@benjaminlevi: Okay, I have a question for you: What does Goodwill do with all the stuff people donate that they don’t technically accept??? My stuff is usually in garbage bags, so it’s not like they look at everything, they just grab it, and I know I’ve inadvertently donated a lot of stuff they “dont take”.

YARNLADY's avatar

@La_chica_gomela The charity that I worked for used to bale up the fabrics/pillows and sell them to the recycle shop, where they would eventually be turned back into thread (most likely rugs).

Zen's avatar

@rebbel Made me laugh at silencers.

ubersiren's avatar

@YARNLADY : What was that charity? That’s a good idea, too.

YARNLADY's avatar

@ubersiren W.E.A.V.E (Women Escaping A Violent Environment) a local charity not associated with national organizations with similar names.

Tealuvertia's avatar

once a year. i don’t know what to do with them after though…

threadcountqueen's avatar

Here is a trick.. fold the pillow in half… if it doesn’t bounce back.. its time to replace it.. the feathers and down are past prime. If its a polyester same thing… but poly takes longer fail. Purchase pillow protectors for your pillows they help.

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