EachNight may earn commissions for products you purchase through links on our site. Our articles include affiliate links and advertisements, including Amerisleep, LLC advertising. Learn more Updated March 12, 2021Two things are required for a good night’s sleep: a good mattress and a good pillow. But how do you know when it’s time to replace your pillow? A good pillow is soft, but supportive. It is comfortable, but still firm enough to keep your body in the correct alignment. Different types of pillows have different lifespans, and there are various tests you can do to see if it’s time to replace your pillow.Pillows are not just there for comfort, they are the support system for your head and back, but they can’t do their job if they are overused and worn down—that’s why it is important to replace your pillows regularly. As a general rule of thumb, you should replace your pillows every few years, however, knowing exactly how often to replace your pillows depends on a few different factors, such as the type of pillows and how often you wash them. So, yes, even your favorite pillow must be replaced eventually.In our post, we discuss the different types of common pillows and when each type must be replaced to ensure comfortable support. We also discuss the importance of replacing your pillow regularly, and how practicing pillow upkeep can lengthen the durability of your pillow. Please read below to see answers to other commonly-asked questions, such as how many pillows you should be sleeping with and why your pillow might be turning yellow.Memory Foam PillowsMemory foam pillows are great because they conform to your body and provide personalized comfort other pillows can’t. As a result of this conformability, some pillows can lose support and start to sag after a short time, and a saggy pillow cannot provide you with the proper support for your head and neck.Once your pillow starts to feel flat like a pancake, it’s time for a replacement. In low-quality foam pillows, this happens around the year mark. If you’re going to go the foam route, we suggest splurging on a high-quality pillow with a warranty. Most cost more up-front, but they only need replacing every 3 to 5 years and are covered in case of defects.Latex PillowsNatural latex pillows are typically more durable than memory foam. However, they are also typically more expensive because the material is eco-friendly and sourced from rubber trees. They have a dense material that allows them to hold their shape better over time. Synthetic latex pillows are priced similarly to memory pillows. Latex pillows typically last 3 to 5 years before needing to be replaced.Down and Feather PillowsDown and feather-filled pillows are similar in their replacement times, in that they both typically last shortly over a year because the filling tends to wear down over time, causing lumps. These types of pillows are light, and provide a soft, fluffy night’s rest. However, they tend to become lumpy after long use because the lightweight material clumps together under weight and sweat. A good way to get rid of these lumps is to gently push from all sides of the pillow, pressing the filling back to the center of the pillow. Repeat this several times to get that fluffy feel backBambooBamboo pillows are made from bamboo fiber and filled with shredded memory foam. They can easily be fluffed and shaped to your personal liking, and you’ll know it’s time to replace it when it loses its original shape and becomes difficult to fluff. Bamboo pillows will last longer than feather or down pillows, but should still be replaced every year and a half.How Do You Know When to Replace Your Pillow?Washing and upkeep on your pillows can prolong their durability. That is why it’s important to follow the instructions on the care tags of your pillows, and wash pillows every few months. And it probably goes without saying, but how you treat your pillow will determine how long it lasts. Can you remember the last time you washed your pillows? If not, now’s the time for a refresher. Do you always keep pillowcases on them? You could go even further by adding a protective layer between your pillow and pillowcase. A good tip to keep your pillows clean is to occasionally vacuum them to get rid of any dust that can build up over time.If you treat your pillow with the proper care, it will reward you by providing continuous comfort and support longer than if you were not to take care of it. Even with special care, your pillow should still be replaced regularly. Below are some signs to help you determine if your pillow needs to be replaced.Testing: Fold your pillow in half. If it stays after you let go, it’s time to toss it.Feeling: Feel around for lumps or flatness. If it’s not firm, it’s time to find a new one.Waking Up: If you wake up in the morning with an achy or sore neck, chances are it’s time to replace your pillow.The Importance of Regularly Replacing PillowsReplacing your pillow is not like making your bed—there’s actually a reason to do it. Possibly the most enticing reason to replace your pillows is because a new pillow can enhance your comfort at night and get rid of pesky neck pain. Apart from comfort, replacing your pillow is also great for hygiene, as old pillows can collect dust, dead skin cells, hair, and sweat which can cause unpleasant symptoms like allergic reactions. Enjoy cleaner, healthier, more comfortable sleep with a new pillow.Prevents AllergiesA dust mite’s favorite place to call home is in your bed. These creatures tend to get comfortable in warm, humid places. While they are not dangerous, they can still cause some damage to your health—they can cause allergies to flare up, prompting symptoms like watery eyes, a runny nose, and an itchy throat. The longer you stay around them, the worse these symptoms get. In turn, these symptoms can cause an unpleasant night that keeps you up.What may be even worse than dust mites, is the fungus that is currently growing on your old, used pillows. Researchers found a typical pillow can contain over one million fungal spores. Though washing your pillow can delay this fungal growth, it will still come eventually. The only way to rid yourself of these fungi is to replace your pillow. Between the fungi and the mites, your pillow is begging to be replaced. Replacing your pillows regularly will prevent this kind of allergy-inducing build up.Leads to Better SleepAn uncomfortable pillow means an uncomfortable night of rest. In order to sleep comfortably, you must have a sufficient amount of support for your head and neck. More support means fewer aches and pains in the morning, and a pillow provides the most support when it is new. So, if you’re feeling kinks in your neck or even back pain, a new pillow may be your solution. A regularly-replaced pillow will give your body the quality of sleep it needs and allow you to wake up feeling fresh.Improves Personal HygieneAccording to Business Insider, the average person pours 26 gallons of sweat into their sheets every year. Between the sweat, body oil, and hair, your pillows could be a scary place just to think about, much less lay your head on. While washing your pillows in the washing machine on a regular basis is helpful, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of the natural build up that comes with everyday use. You may be able to clean stains out, but there comes a point in your pillow’s lifetime where washing it will no longer help. Instead, it is best to throw out that old, sweat covered cushion and get a new, clean pillow.Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat type of pillow lasts the longest?Latex pillows typically last longer than other pillows such as down or bamboo. More specifically, Dunlop latex is the most durable type of latex because it is made from pure latex serum, a notably long-lasting material. Latex pillows keep their structural integrity for an especially long time compared to other pillow types. If you’re looking for a long-lasting, durable pillow check out some pillows made with Dunlop latex.How can you tell a quality pillow?Pillow shopping for a quality pillow can be difficult, but checking the material is a good start. For example, natural latex and down pillows can both be good pillows, but they are made entirely of different materials, which is why one lasts longer than the other. Another good sign of a quality pillow is if it comes with a warranty. Warranties are not just handed out freely; they are given out when a company is confident their product works. If you want a quality pillow, look for durable materials and a company that can back their pillow with a good warranty.Is it good to sleep without a pillow?Sleeping without a pillow can be comfortable when stomach sleeping. However, stomach sleeping is an unhealthy sleeping position and not recommended. Therefore, you should avoid sleeping flat without a pillow because it could cause damage such as neck pain. Pillows provide head and neck support during sleep – without a pillow there is nothing to support you. So, while a pillow-less night might feel comfortable in the moment, it will cause pain in the long run.Is it better to have 1 or 2 pillows?Despite the desire to sleep with a stack of pillows, you should only sleep with one pillow under your head. That pillow needs to be thick and supportive enough to promote healthy alignment and prevent neck discomfort. Apart from head pillows, some people may benefit from using other pillows, such as body, knee, or wedge pillows to support healthy sleep postures. Especially for side sleepers, body and knee pillows placed between your legs can keep your top leg from pulling your spine out of alignment, which will relieve stress on your back and hips. For back sleepers, a wedge pillow can help you stay sleeping at an incline, which will allow you to breathe better and even silence snoring.Why do old pillows turn yellow?The most common reason for yellow pillows is an accumulation of sweat. Through daily use, sweat can seep through your pillowcase, and as it dries it creates a yellow discoloration. Even with a pillow protector between your pillow and pillowcase, yellowing can still occur. Yellow stains mean it has reached the time to replace your pillows.ConclusionWhile it is necessary to replace pillows, it can still be a task we push off and dread, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary. When replacing your pillow, make sure to take the time to find a good quality, durable pillow. Once you get a pillow that is comfortable and supportive, you need to make sure you continuously take care of it. Remember to wash your pillows every couple of months, and always keep a pillowcase on them. Following these tips may allow you to expand your pillow’s lifespan, but remember: if your pillow is old and lumpy, it is no longer benefiting you or your night’s sleep. Replace your pillows as needed for better rest, better hygiene, and a better night!About the author Kiera PritchardKiera Pritchard’s curiosity around dreams and dreaming sparked her passion for sleep science. In addition to freelancing for eachnight, Kiera is also a physical trainer and strives to help others lead healthy lives while asleep and awake. Since joining our team, Kiera has compiled multiple sleep health guides offering our readers advice on how to improve their days and evenings. Find more articles by Kiera Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.