Your pillow is one of those things you don’t think about too often. You lay your head down each night without considering when you purchased it or how old it really is. But experts say your pillow does have an expiration date, and you should replace it more often than you’d think.
In fact, the average pillow should be replaced every 1-2 years. While a lumpy, flat pillow is a sign it’s time for a new one, you don’t have to wait until it’s completely unusable. There are other disgusting reasons you may want to get a new pillow sooner.
From dust mites to body oils, dead skin cells, and more, your pillow collects a lot over time. And all that can lead to allergies, acne breakouts, and even impact the quality of your sleep.
So how do you know when it’s time to toss your pillow and get a fresh start? We spoke with experts to identify the expiration date for pillows and the gross red flags that mean you should replace yours immediately. Read on to find out if your pillow has gone past its prime and how frequently you should swap it out.
Reasons To Replace Your Pillow Regularly:
- Hygiene – Over time, pillows accumulate dust mites, dead skin cells, body oils, drool, and other gross stuff. This can lead to breakouts and allergies. Replacing it regularly keeps things more hygienic.
- Support – Pillows lose their structure and plushness over time. A lumpy, flat pillow won’t provide proper support for your head and neck. This can cause pain and discomfort. A new pillow provides better support.
- Allergens – In addition to dust mites, pillows can collect pollen, pet dander, and other allergens over time. This is especially problematic for those with allergies. A new hypoallergenic pillow prevents buildup of allergens.
- Odors – Even with pillow cases, pillows can take on odors from your hair products, drool, etc. A new pillow brings back that fresh, odor-free feeling.
- Longevity – Pillows simply wear out over time. The average pillow should be replaced every 1-2 years for optimal comfort and support.
So don’t wait until your pillow is totally flat and misshapen. Be proactive about replacing it while it’s still providing decent comfort and support. Your head and neck will thank you!
Signs It’s Time For a New Pillow
1. Waking Up With Neck Pain
As your pillow ages, it begins to break down and provide less support to your neck and your head. Without proper support, you’ll have neck pain, back pain, or a headache in the morning. You won’t wake up with pain and stiffness if you’re getting the proper support from your pillow. If you’re constantly waking up in pain, it’s time to change your pillow.
2. Your Pillow Feels Lumpy
Lumps are a sure sign that the supportive material in your pillow is starting to wear out. Not only is a lumpy pillow uncomfortable, but it also will not deliver enough support. It’s time for a new pillow if you’re sleeping on lumps every night.
3. The Fold Test
Fold your existing pillow in half and hold it for about 30 seconds. When you release it, the pillow should regain its normal shape. If the pillow stays folded and doesn’t spring back at all, then you need to replace it.
4. Past the Expiration Date
Did you know that some types of pillows have expiration dates? Polyester pillows often include tags that show a date of expiration. While you don’t need to buy a new pillow the next day, once the expiration date has passed, you should replace your pillow soon.
While not all pillows carry expiration dates, all will eventually need replacing. No matter the material, you should invest in a new pillow if yours is past its lifespan.
5. Pillow Will Not Fluff
If you have a feather pillow, you should replace it if you’re fluffing it over and over again. Your pillow should comfortably support you without constant fluffing.
6. Age of Your Pillow
Over time, all pillows slowly become packed with dust mites, dead skin cells, and mold. You can use a pillow protector to extend your pillow’s life. However, you should replace older pillows at least every 18 months to keep your bedroom clean and healthy.
How to Choose a New Pillow
If you’re a side sleeper, look for a gusseted pillow that cradles your head and your neck. A gusset is a piece of extra material that helps to strengthen the pillow and creates a “side panel.” Choose a pillow that is “as thick as the distance between your ear and outside shoulder.”
If you sleep on your back, you may need a thinner pillow to keep your neck and head in the proper alignment. Look for a pillow that will give you extra support while still feeling soft and comfortable. Memory foam is a good choice. You may also want to use another pillow under your knees—this can help to relieve lower back pressure.
If you are a stomach sleeper, you may need a thin, soft pillow under your head—or you may even need no pillow at all. Sleeping on your stomach can put a lot of strain on the lower back. Try placing a pillow under your pelvis and stomach to help alleviate back pain. Even better, sleep on your side instead and hug a body pillow.
The quality of your sleep affects your well-being and health. Visit us at Land of Sleep to find out how we can help you get the best sleep possible.
Your pillow does a lot more than just sit there holding your head up each night. It can greatly impact the quality of your sleep and health. But over time, it accumulates dust mites, oils, dead skin, and more – creating an unsanitary environment you lay on for hours.
While a lumpy or misshapen pillow is a sure sign yours has expired, experts recommend replacing your pillow every 1-2 years. Don’t wait for it to go completely flat or start causing pain. Be proactive about getting a new pillow regularly for cleanliness, better support, and allergen control.
Pay attention to any worsening neck pain, acne breakouts, or allergies as well. Your pillow could be the culprit. And if you drool, have oily hair, or use heavy hair products, more frequent pillow swaps may be best.
Overall, your pillow does have an expiration date. So inspect the shape, give the sniff test, and track its age. A fresh pillow makes a huge difference you’ll notice instantly. Give yourself and your bed the fresh start you deserve tonight.