How Long Does a Pillow Last? A 2023 Guide

How Long Does a Pillow Last

We have all asked ourselves, “How long does a pillow last?” at some point. The answer might surprise you, but like any other product, pillows have a limited lifespan.

Read on to find out what is the typical pillow lifespan, how to take care of it, and how you can tell it is time for a fresh new pillow.

How Often to Replace Pillows?

There is no straightforward answer to the question “How often should you change your pillow?” because some pillow materials are more durable than others. The general recommendation for ultimate support and comfort is to replace your pillow after one or two years.

Pillows made from materials like synthetics reduce their support level faster than feather and down-filled pillows. While memory foam is incredibly supportive, and it suits most sleeper types, it tends to mould to the shape of your body (or head). Latex, which is responsive, eliminates this issue, and with this type of pillows provides support of foam and the bounciness of latex.

Latex, which is responsive, eliminates this issue. So, you get the support of foam and the bounciness of latex—a combination that guarantees a restful and refreshing sleep. 

As with your mattress and sheets, you should invest in a higher-quality pillow, and you won’t need to go pillow shopping twice a year.

Australian Standards for Replacing Pillows

With time, the pillow may lose its form and no longer serve its purpose. So, when can you expect that to happen, and how often should you replace your pillows? 

Take a look at the table below for a detailed overview of how long pillows last according to their material.

Pillow TypePillow Lifespan
Polyester6–⁠12 months
Down alternative/synthetic18 months–⁠⁠2 years
Feather18 months–⁠3 years
Cotton18 months–⁠3 years
Memory foam 3–⁠4 years
Latex 3–⁠4 years
Down 3–⁠4 years
Wool1–⁠5 years

So, how long does a pillow last? It all depends on different factors. Keep in mind that these are just general lifespans of the pillows, and they vary depending on how well you take care of them, the manufacturer, and the quality of the material. 

Why Should You Replace Your Pillow?

Most people don’t think twice about their pillows, but they actually play a crucial role in our sleeping routines. The two main reasons for replacing your pillow are restful sleep and good hygiene, both of which are very important for our overall health.

For a Good Night’s Sleep

If your pillow is past its prime time, it will get worn out and become flat, which means that you will lack head and neck support, and your spine will not be properly aligned. Thus, you will start feeling muscle tension and soreness over time. 

To Maintain Hygiene 

Face and hair oils, shed skin, drool, and sweat are absorbed by the pillow throughout the night and can lead to stains. Furthermore, an old pillow with these substances can activate acne and cause rashes.

At the same time, the allergens like mould, dust mites, and fungus accumulated by the pillow can irritate your skin and eyes. In addition, external bodies like bed bugs, dead skin and dust mites can increase your pillow’s weight by up to 10%.

For these reasons, if you are prone to allergies, it would be best to get a breathable antimicrobial pillow

Signs Your Pillow Should Be Replaced

Figuring out when to replace your pillows will be much easier once you learn some of the most common signs that indicate that your pillow is no longer usable, and when you should change your pillow as soon as you notice them:

  • Bad odour
  • Unwashable yellow stains
  • Lumpy formations
  • The expiration date has passed
  • Constant re-fluffing is necessary

Once the pillow loses its original form, you typically won’t be able to restore it back to its previous state. In this case, use them as decorative pillows to match your sofa bed in your living room..

Now, let’s take a look at some bodily changes that can indicate that a pillow should be replaced:

  • You experience neck or back pain
  • You start getting acne
  • You have allergy symptoms (sneezing, itchy/red eyes, runny nose)

If you experience any of these symptoms and can’t find another logical explanation, chances are, your pillow is home to dust mites or has lost its structural support, so it is time to choose a new one.

Extra tip: You can check if your pillow is ready to be recycled or repurposed by doing the fold test. Get your pillow, fold it in half and hold it for half a minute. If the pillow doesn’t regain its normal shape after you release it, it is time to get a new one.

If you want to learn more about what to do with old pillows in Australia, read this helpful article.

Extending the Lifespan of Your Pillow

One of the benefits of proper maintenance is extending the pillow’s lifespan, which can save you from buying pillows every other month. Here are a few tips:

  • Wash your pillows – Every pillow has a label with cleaning instructions. Generally, you should wash them every 6–12 months on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. 
  • Expose it to sunlight once a week – Direct sunlight will kill germs, and the fresh air will reduce unpleasant odours.
  • Use a pillow case and a protector Your pillow won’t have direct contact with sweat, body oils and beauty products, such as face creams.

While these are some general rules to follow on a daily basis, it should be noted that not all pillow types require the same kind of care. Let’s take a look at some important care guidelines for different kinds of pillows:

  1. Down feather pillows are machine washable using cool water
  2. Memory foam or latex should be hand-washed
  3. Polyester pillows can be washed with warm water in a gentle cycle
  4. Buckwheat hull pillows should be exposed to sunlight

Generally, the pillows should be easier to clean then mattresses. To be absolutely sure, always read the label before washing a pillow. In most instances, it’s not recommended to use hot water when washing pillows, as it may result in deformation.

Bottom Line

While the question “What is the lifespan of a pillow?” yields several answers, there are some things that may indicate that you need a new pillow.

If you make a healthy habit of replacing your pillows when they show early signs of being worn out or unhygienic, you will be protected from unhealthy allergens and won’t experience uncomfortable and painful sleep. 


1.What type of pillow lasts the longest? 

The most durable pillows are made from Dunlop latex, memory foam or down. To illustrate, the lifespan of a polyester pillow is around one year, compared to the three to four years of latex, memory foam, and down pillows. 

2.Is it better to have 1 or 2 pillows?

Generally, experts recommend sleeping on one pillow, but it can depend on your sleeping style. If you are a side-sleeper, you can use two pillows, one for your head and neck and the other one for your knees. On the contrary, one pillow will work perfectly for stomach and back sleepers.

3.How can you tell a quality pillow?

A quality pillow is durable, adjustable, made from high-quality material, supports your head and neck, and keeps your spine in a neutral position. Remember that quality greatly impacts your pillow’s lifespan. To extend your pillow’s endurance, take a look at the advice provided in our “How Long Does a Pillow Last” guide.

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