How Often Do You Need to Replace a Pillow?

Most of us don’t think twice about the pillow we sleep on nightly. At most, we bemoan its low level of comfort or support. The pertinent thought – the one about how often we should replace it – tends to slip through our mind. We don’t think of our pillows as having an expiration date. Why replace what isn’t broken?

Why Should You Replace Your Pillow?

The primary reason to replace your pillow is hygiene. Similar to your toothbrush (which you should replace every three to four months) or your mattress (which you should replace every eight to ten years), your pillow accumulates bacteria, biomass and dirt. It is important to replace these items regularly to ensure the health of your home and body.

With every use, your pillow absorbs the body oils, dirt and dead skin cells from your head. Over time, the debris can really add up. The buildup attracts dust mites and bed bugs to your pillow and bed in general. Especially if you have allergies to dust or dust mites, this could have serious consequences on your quality of sleep. Ten percent of the weight of a two-year-old pillow can be made up of the mass and waste of dust mites. Your pillow basically becomes a cesspool of cultivated bacteria and insects.

If the idea of better hygiene is not enough to make you immediately rush to the store for a new pillow, perhaps comfort is. The second reason to replace your pillow is for durability and comfort. Over time, every plop of the head and each time you scrunch it up prop up your back adds up. Your pillow loses its durability and comfort. Unable to hold up your head at the proper elevation, you might begin to wake up with a stiff neck and less satisfying sleep.

Replacing your pillow is the cure for both of these problems.

When Should You Replace Your Pillow?

The answer varies between every one to three years. Use your best judgment. If you bought a cheap unsupportive pillow, you might want to lean towards one year. You might also want to upgrade for a more supported and comfortable sleep. General rule of thumb: if you’re not sure how long it’s been, it’s probably time to replace.

But what about the Environment?

Each of us replacing poor quality pillows once a year would be costly to the environment. To decrease the carbon impact of your slumber, consider pillows made with eco-friendly materials. One such option, bamboo pillows, are made from extremely soft bamboo memory foam. The cost of the upgrade to a higher quality, medium firmness pillow, will be offset in the future by fewer replacements and therefore less waste. Not to mention more satisfying sleep.

Secondly, consider using a hypoallergenic pillow cover which can increase the lifetime of your pillow for several years. Sleep well knowing that your pillow is conducive to sleep, hygenic and environmentally sound.

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