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Cognitive behavioral therapy for sleep: woman buying a new pillow

Do you not remember the last time you bought a new pillow? The chances are that you, just like many other people, don’t know the answer to how often should you replace your pillows. While I’d like to calm you down and tell you it’s okay, I can’t this time. 

Changing your pillow in time is vital for your overall well-being. Not only does it impact your sleep quality, but also your health[1]. So, you definitely shouldn’t sweep it under the mat.

It’s not an issue to be ignored, as such a small thing like a pillow can greatly influence your well-being. You definitely need to learn how often to replace pillows. 

So, keep reading to find out how often you should replace your pillows and why you should do that. 

Why Should You Replace Your Pillows?

Before I answer the question, “How often should you replace your pillows?” I need to talk about why you should do it in the first place. Some believe that a pillow is a decade-lasting item that barely requires any effort to maintain. However, they couldn’t be any further from the truth. 

It’s not enough to put on a cover on the pillow and wash it every few weeks. You have to take care of your pillow, wash it, and make sure to replace it as often as it is required. The reasons for that are abundant. 

If you want to know how often should you replace pillows, the first thing you should understand is that you shed some skin cells, body oil, and hair onto your pillow every time you sleep on it. That contaminates your pillow a lot, and it’s hard to get rid of even by washing it. 

Not only is the pillow contaminated by that, but it also creates great conditions for dust mites, which commonly are an allergen[2]. It can cause sneezing, headaches, and many other symptoms. That’s why you should replace your pillows often enough.  

How Often Should You Replace Your Pillows?

Now it’s time to answer the question, “How often should you replace your pillows?”. Well, it can be answered straight away, generally, it should be around every 2 years. However, many factors can shorten or lengthen the life of your pillow. 

Also, there are many different types of pillows. Maybe your preferred type is latex pillows, or maybe you much prefer memory foam or feather-filled pillows.

Whichever option you choose, the time you can safely use the pillow slightly differs, so, let’s see how long you should use each type to figure out how often should you replace pillows.

  • Latex - 3-4 years
  • Buckwheat - 3 years
  • Feather - 18-36 months
  • Memory foam - 18-36 months
  • Down - 2+ years
  • Synthetic down - 18-24 months
  • Polyester - 6-24 months 

Now that you know how often should you replace pillows, it's time to learn what factors might change the frequency of replacing pillows. 

What Factors Influence How often Should You Replace Pillows?

While I already answered how often should you replace your pillows, the answer to how long do pillows last can actually depend on how you use the pillow. You might be a little confused now, as there aren’t that many ways to use a pillow. You just lay your head on it and sleep, don’t you?

Well, yes, but trust me, there are small details of what you do before going to sleep influence the cleanliness of your pillow. So, let’s see these factors!

How Often You Use Them

The first factor that influences how often should you replace your pillows may be quite an obvious one. But how long do pillows last depends on how often you use them.

The more the pillow is used, the sooner you’ll have to replace it. That is because the less the pillow is exposed to dead skin cells, body oils, and hair, the fewer dust mites it attracts. 

That means that the pillows in your guest room won’t have to be replaced as often as the ones in your bedroom simply because no one sleeps on them as often as you do in your own bedroom. However, that still doesn’t mean that you can keep the pillows for years and years. 

How often should you replace your pillows: woman sleeping

While they’re not exposed to this many bodily contaminants, they still attract dust, along with dust mites.

So, you should still take care of the pillows there by washing them often enough and not keep the same pillows for longer than a few years if you care about the health of the person who’s going to sleep on the particular pillow. 

So, the answer to the question of  “how often should you replace your pillows?” depends on how often you use them

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When You Shower

This one might appear a bit weird, but trust me, it’s totally legit. The time you shower says a lot about how clean your pillow is.

While I trust you that (unless you have some health-related reasons which could definitely be a valid excuse why your hygiene is lacking) you shower often enough, whether you shower at night or in the morning has a huge impact on your pillow’s cleanliness.

The reason for that is that if you shower at night, you scrub off all the dirt and a lot of dead skin cells off yourself before you go to sleep, meaning that not as much skin cells will be shed from you.

On the other hand, if you shower in the morning, you go to sleep not as clean as you would be if you showered at night, meaning that some of the dirt and grease will settle on your pillow. 

How often should you replace your pillows: woman showering

So, it’s one of the factors that you should keep in mind when answering the question of “how often should you replace your pillows?”. 

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Skincare is another reason that isn’t a really obvious one, but it is still one factor that can change the answer to how often should you replace your pillows. You need to know that your skincare impacts how clean your pillow is. It has both positive and negative effects on the cleanliness of the pillow. 

Starting with the positive ones, if you clean your face well before sleep, less oil is transferred onto the pillow. Also, if you exfoliate your skin, you already remove some of the dead skin cells, so there’s less of them to be transferred onto your pillow. 

On the other hand, if you use heavy moisturizers or oils, they might not be completely soaked up to your skin. That means that the residue will go straight to your pillow, creating a perfect environment for dust mites.

So, you should keep that in mind that if you use heavy-duty moisturizers, you might have to change your pillow more often. 

Hair Care 

One more reason why you might have to change the answer to how often should you replace your pillows, that’s quite similar to the previous one, is haircare products.

When I mention hair care products, you probably think about shampoo, maybe conditioner, and hair mask. However, those do not really have a big impact

What actually affects the pillow negatively is the leave-in products, which you don’t wash off in the shower. Since your hair doesn’t really soak up all the product, a large part of it ends up on the pillow, and as we’ve already established, the extra oils aren’t good for your pillow. 

So, if you take your hair care very seriously and like to use lots of different leave-in products, you might have to replace your pillow more often than instructed

How Often You Wash Them

What also matters when asking how often should you replace your pillows is how often you wash them. I didn’t expect it to be, but to some, it may be surprising that you need to wash pillows.

Yes, some people didn’t know you had to wash pillows and only ever washed the covers. Ugh, just thinking about all the dirt in the pillow makes me uneasy.

Either way, what you REALLY have to do is wash your pillow at least twice a year. The good thing is that many pillows are machine-washable, meaning that you won’t have to scrub them by hand in your free time. However, it might be tricky to wash your pillows as many people wonder how to wash pillows.

How often should you wash your pillows: pillows hung to dry

If you’re one of these people, you should definitely check out our extensive guide on how to wash pillows!

If You Let Your Pet Sleep in the Bed 

Do you have pets? Do you let them walk on your bed? Is your dog laying on your pillow just about now? Does it shed fur? The answers to the questions can change a lot when it comes to the cleanliness of your pillow. 

If you have a pet, especially one of those that shed fur, and you let it get on top of your bed, you might have to shorten the time you use your pillow. The dirt, hair, and oils from your pet are a huge attraction to dust mites, meaning that there will be way more of them than it would be if you didn’t allow your pet on the bed. 

How to Know It’s Time to Replace Your Pillow?

Now that you know the factors that can influence when you need to replace your pillow, we should also talk about the telltale signs that show that it’s time to get a new pillow. So, let's see!

If it’s Been More than 2 Years

The first sign that is not exactly a visible one, but can definitely help you answer how often to replace pillows, is that it has been more than two years of almost everyday use.

While different pillows can be used for different amounts of time, it is generally believed that if you have used your pillow for more than two years, it might be time to replace it. 

No matter how much you take care of your pillow, even if you wash them every month and change the covers often, you’re still not safe from the dust mites. In fact, there’s nothing you can do to lengthen the period of healthy usage of the pillow.

There’s no way around it. If you care about your health, you’ll have to replace it with a new one. If you got a new pillow and you don’t know what to do with the old one, check out our guide on what to do with old pillows.

There are Noticeable Defects

Another factor that answers the question of how long do pillows last is that they last for around two years or until you notice defects in it.

How often should you wash your pillows: dirty old pillow

Those effects can include lumps or body oil, or sweat stains. While if you bought a high-quality pillow, it’s unlikely that you’ll find lumps if you haven’t used it for more than two years, it might happen for some lower-quality pillows. 

When it comes to stains, it simply becomes unhygienic to sleep on the pillow, even if it has a cover on it. You don’t want to risk getting health issues by not replacing it in time. 

Various health issues have to do with the quality of your pillow. First of all, your sleep quality can suffer. Sleep is crucial for both your physical and mental health. Therefore you must make sure that your mattress and pillow are up-to-par in order to lessen the chances of your sleep quality decreasing. 

Another sign is body aches. If, after waking up, your neck is sore, it might mean that your pillow isn’t suitable for you, and you need to replace it. Also, a common sign could be headaches. While there are many reasons why you could develop a headache, one of them is the quality of your pillow

The last one is noticeable sneezing before or after waking up. It is caused by dust in the pillow and also the dust mites. Both of them are common allergens. So, if you notice that you sneeze a lot more at bedtime, ensure that your mattress and pillow aren’t contaminated by dust mites by getting a new mattress and a new pillow. 


Many people don’t really know how often should you replace your pillows. Well, the easy answer is that you should do it at least around every two years. However, some pillows might need to be replaced every 6 months, such as polyester. Therefore, you should check how long your type of pillow can be used specifically.

However, some factors could influence how often should you replace your pillow. If you notice any defects, stains, or health-related issues that could be caused by your pillow being old or contaminated by dust mites, you shouldn’t wait any longer and replace your pillow immediately. 

A pillow can influence your sleep quality greatly. Therefore you should really invest some money into it if you want your health to be as good as possible. If you’re looking for a new pillow, make sure to check out our best pillow guide to ensure that you get to choose between the best options possible.

Scientific References

1. Susan J. Gordoncorresponding, Karen Grimmer-Somers "Your Pillow May Not Guarantee a Good Night's Sleep or Symptom-Free Waking"

2. Pearl Aggarwal "Dust Mite Allergy'

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Recent User Reviews


as long as your pillow is comfortable you shouldn't replace it


m8, do you really need to change it every two years?!



good to know!

good to know!

depends on quality

I think it depends on the pillow and its quality

4 years only

the highest number in the article was 4 years, I use mine for much more time


yup, that's true


now I feel super unhygienic

many years

I use mine for many years

relevant information

very relevant information


How often should you replace your pillows?

The general answer is that you should replace your pillows once every 1-2 years. However, how often to replace pillows also depends on the type of pillow. For example, latex pillows can be used for the longest time - 3 to 4 years, while pillows made of polyester might need to be replaced every 6 to 24 months. So, if it's time to replace your old pillow, you must be looking for a new one. Check out some of the best Saatva's pillows.

How to know that you need to replace your pillow ahead of time?

It might happen that you’ll need to replace your pillow ahead of time. If you notice that your pillow is uncomfortable, has lumps, has stains, causes health issues such as aches or excessive sneezing you might have to replace your pillow sooner. If you're looking for a new pillow, take a look at our best pillows guide. 

What is a memory foam mattress?

Memory foam mattresses are created mostly from polyurethane and have additional chemicals added that increase its viscosity and density. It’s also often called “viscoelastic polyurethane foam”. In order to create the air movement and let your body “breath” while you sleep, it has open foam bubbles. Memory foam mattresses are created in a way to adapt to your body curves and to also recover their original shape after you get up. Therefore, this kind of top mattresses offer you the feeling as if is created specifically for you.

Do top rated mattresses offer a money-back guarantee? Is there a catch?

All of the top mattress brands offer a money-back guarantee. The free trial usually starts from 90 to 100 nights, and if you don’t like the mattress, you can simply give it back. The majority of best mattress providers will not only give your money back but will also come to get it for free. If the mattress provider is reputable, there won’t be any catch - everyone understands that you have to try the mattress before knowing if it fits you.

What is off-gassing? Is it poisonous?

Off-gassing refers to the odor which comes from a new mattress. It’s the process that happens when volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) leak out of the mattress foam into the air. Those chemicals include both human-made and natural components, including formaldehyde, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), benzene, trichloroethane, and perfluorocarbons. Top rated mattresses will have zero or very minimal off-gassing. Many of them are sent to the customer already after the off-gassing. Is it dangerous, though? Even though the smell can be unpleasant, there’s usually only a very small amount of chemicals that can do no harm to your health.

How long do top rated mattresses serve?

The durability of a mattress depends on the provider and the quality of the materials used. Usually, you get a 10-year warranty, which will be valid in case of any defects. Normally, mattresses will serve you from 7 to 10 years, or even longer. Thus, when you buy the best mattress, you should take it as a long-term investment.