6 Signs You Should Retire Your Pillow

comfortable pillowBefore you lay your head down, put your foot down and consider some indicators that might tell you it’s time for your “old reliable” to retire. When it comes to your favorite bedroom pillows, how long is too long before you should replace them? Every pillow and person is different. Unlike mattresses, there is no set guideline to follow for knowing when to dismiss your pillows from duty.


It takes us a while to get our pillows broken-in to the softness and shape we prefer. Apartment Therapy suggests washing your pillows about once a year, but every time you do it can breakdown the materials inside the pillow and lessen the integrity and durability. After a few washes, pillows can become misshapen, thin or lumpy. If you find yourself folding your pillow or constantly fluffing it to no avail, it may be time to start over with a new one.


Next time you take off your pillow case to wash it, check out the color of your pillow. When you’ve had a pillow for a few years, it will start to turn yellow. According to eHow.com, this is due to oxidation, sun exposure, a breakdown of the materials and (as gross as it sounds) body fluids like sweat, drool and dead skin. Protect your pillow with a thick, zippered case that slips right over it and sits under your decorative pillow case. This can slow down your pillow’s discoloration and disintegration process.


If you suffer from allergies, you may want to consider switching out your pillows more often than someone who doesn’t. Pillows can collect and hold all kinds of bacteria, allergens, mold and mildew and even dust mites that can affect your breathing and overall health. If you have noticed your allergies have worsened, especially when you wake up in the morning, your pillow might be playing a part. You can try washing it more frequently but, as mentioned before, this can compromise the quality and doesn’t completely eliminate those elements.


Usually, splurging on that high-quality, more expensive pillow means it will last longer in the long run. It also depends on the materials that make up the pillow. Synthetic materials are resilient and easy to wash. Feather pillows tend to be firmer and latex foam pillows are generally non-allergenic and germ-repellant but sometimes not as comfortable. When purchasing a new pillow, check the labels to find one that fits your preferences and comfort needs.


If you wash your sheets, pillow cases and other bedding regularly and still get a whiff of that “dirty laundry” smell when you go to bed, it might be your pillow. Try washing it if you haven’t in a while. If it still holds an odor, no amount of Febreze will mask it completely. Getting a new pillow can help make your bed feel clean and inviting.

Restfulness and Spine Health

Don’t go straight to blaming the mattress when you wake up feeling sore and unrested. Pillows can affect your spine and posture too. According to Life the Green Way, clinical psychologist Dr. Michael Breus said that an old pillow can throw off your neck and result in a misalignment in your entire spine. This can cause headaches and pain in your neck and back and even your legs. Breus suggests replacing your pillow every year or two.

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