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What to do with old pillows: two old pillows

Is your pillow no longer good to be used and you need to buy a new one? Then you must be wondering what to do with old pillows. Can you recycle pillows? Can you DIY them into something new? Do you simply have to dispose of them and in that case, how to dispose of pillows?

While we don’t often think about what to do with old bed pillows when the time comes when your pillow is no longer good to be slept on, you can’t just keep it, can you?

No, you buy a new comfortable pillow and dispose of your old one. However, what if I told you that there are things you could do with your old pillow instead of getting rid of it?

It definitely is interesting, isn’t it? So, keep on reading, if you’d like to find out what to do with old pillows. 

How Do You Know That Your Pillow is No-Longer Good?

Before throwing out your pillow you should first make sure there’s actually a need to do it. You don’t want to be wasteful of your money and the earth’s resources. Well, there are ways to check if your pillow is still good to be used.

One of the simplest ways is to think about how long you’ve had your pillow. The thing is that you shouldn’t sleep on the same pillow for more than two years. Ideally, you should switch it every year.

No matter how well you clean your pillows, (check out this article how to wash pillows if you’re not sure how to clean them well) they still get contaminated

Every time you sleep on your pillow, you shed hair, skin, and body oil that gets absorbed into the pillow. While washing it regularly helps, you still can’t fight off dust mites that feed on these things. Therefore, you need to change your pillows regularly. 

Another thing that signalizes that you’re in need of a new pillow is if you develop any unpleasant symptoms[1]. One of them is aches. If you wake up with a neck ache almost every day, you might realize that pillow is to blame. Also, sometimes headaches can also mean that your pillow isn't in the best condition. 

What to do with old pillows: woman having a neck ache

Another symptom you might feel is sneezing. While a common cold or other illnesses could cause sneezing, if you notice that you’re overall well, but you keep on sneezing whenever you lay down, it might be caused by the dust mites in the pillow. So, consider getting a new one to protect your health. 

Another quite obvious but often ignored signs are noticeable defects of the pillow. If you notice stains, strange lumps or that pillow has become stiffer than usual it might mean that your pillow is no longer good to be used. 

So, now that you know what are the signs that you may need to learn what to do with old pillows, or how to dispose of pillows, you can keep on reading to learn it!

What to Do with Old Pillows: Reuse Them

The first thing I’d suggest to do when you’re wondering what to do with old pillows is consider the idea to recycle pillows. Now, it might not be what you think it is, it’s not the same recycling like recycling of trash. It’s more in the sense of reusing or donating them. 

So, let’s see some of the ways you could recycle pillows!

Use Them as Floor Pillows

The first thing you could do is use your bed pillows as floor pillows. That can definitely help you create the atmosphere for a movie-watching party, playing video games, or simply cuddling up with a blanket and a book. 

You could save on some furniture by repurposing your old pillow. You have a new piece of furniture, and you can splurge the saved money on other things. It’s a win-win situation, isn’t it?

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Knee Pillows for Gardening 

If you have a green thumb and like to garden in your spare time you must be very familiar with the problem I’m about to describe. It’s quite uncomfortable to be kneeling on a semi-hard surface for hours on end. 

However, there’s an easy solution to ease the discomfort of it. Repurpose your old pillows as gardening knee pillows! It will help to take out the discomfort of kneeling on a harder surface and will make the time of gardening way more enjoyable!

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Use Them as a Pet Bed

Do you have a pet that always wants to share a bed with you? They’re always looking for a softer spot to lie down and rest for a bit. While you might have already purchased a pet bed for it, seems like the pet doesn’t really like it and you don’t want to spend extra money on another one? There’s a solution for that!

Another great option to recycle pillows is to make a pet bed out of them. It can be done as easily as just placing a pillow down on the floor. Even if your pet already has a bed or it sleeps in the bed with you, there’s no harm in adding some soft pillows for your pet in other rooms. 

What to do with old pillows: a dog and a cat in a pet bed

However, if you care about your dog a lot, you probably want what’s best for it. Then I would recommend checking out some of the best dog beds to make sure your dog wakes up well-rested and ready to accompany you. 

Is there anything that feels better than donating? I’ve always loved the feeling of giving away things that I knew would have a purpose for others. Also, just thinking about the cute animals living in shelters makes my heart ache. If only there was something to do to help them. 

In fact, there is. Apart from the obvious ways of donating money, or volunteering in the shelter, they often also accept certain household objects. One of them is pillows. If you don’t find a purpose for your old pillow at your home, they could surely help out some of the unfortunate animals. 

So, don’t hesitate to donate to help out some of the less fortunate. 

Make a Cushion

Another option you have when it comes to what to do with old pillows is to get crafty with them. You can make a cushion or a few by reusing your old pillows. Trust me, it’s not that hard to do. You might not even need a sewing machine, although it would be beneficial to have. 

All you have to do is cut the seam of your old pillow, take out the stuffing and put it into a nice material pocket and sew it up. It’s definitely not rocket science. 

Maybe you’ll find out that it’s a new hobby of yours, or you might even make a business out of it.

Compost Them

You’re probably now scratching your head and thinking how you put your memory foam or latex pillow into the compost just to watch it sit there without composting the slightest. You’re right here, it’s not entirely possible. 

what to do with old pillows: compost

This only applies to feather stuffed pillows. You might find it surprising, but if you add feathers to already existing compost they actually degrade[2] and enrich the compost. So, it would be a great additional use to your knee pillows for gardening!

Use Them to Protect Fragile Items

Do you plan to move out anytime soon? Well, it’s not the easiest process, there’s a lot you’ll need to think about. All the planning, making sure you get transportation for your furniture and items, finding enough friends who are willing to help you, and dealing with signing a new lease contract can surely come with a headache

While thinking of all this, you might forget about the beautiful vase you got from your grandma, that you really don’t want to break, so what do you? Use a pillow as a cushion of course!

Pillows can become extremely beneficial to protect your fragile items from breaking when you’re moving. So, definitely consider this alternative if you’re planning to move out of home sometime soon. 

Also, moving is not the only situation when you might need to protect a fragile item. Think about more of everyday life. Posting things. Have you ever received a package only to see that your order was shattered while being transported? It’s not the best feeling, is it?

I bet you don’t want to send a package to someone you care about only for them to find out that it’s cracked or broken completely. The easy solution is to use pillows to cushion the object your sending by post. 

what to do with old pillows: a box with a sign fragile on it

However, sometimes the package is tiny and there’s no point to add a whole pillow to it, as it will only take up space and make you pay more for the transportation of it. What you can do is cut the pillow open and use the filling of it instead of the whole pillow. 

How to Dispose of Old Pillows?

Let’s say you don’t like any of the suggestions on what to do with old pillows. Also, it might be the case that it has already served the purpose of being reused as any other item and the time has come to finally throw them out. Well, it’s totally reasonable as nothing is forever. 

So, now you’re thinking about how to dispose of pillows. Do you just put them in the garbage can? Kind of yes, but not really

You first should find out whether your pillow is made out of recyclable materials or not. If you find out that it is indeed made out of recyclable materials, then you’re in luck, as you can add something to saving the earth by recycling. 

You should check out some of the textile recycling facilities and inquire if they would take the old pillow that you have. Chances are that they will happily do it. All you have to do then is collect all the textiles you want to recycle and bring it to them.

However, if you don’t know what to do with old pillows, you’ve read the article and nothing applies to you, then all there’s left is just throw it out to the garbage. While it’s not the most eco-friendly way, there’s sometimes no other solution. 

Before doing that you could suggest these tips of what to do with old pillows to your mom, your friend, or your coworker. Maybe they’d like to get crafty or reuse them for another purpose. 


Pillows, just like most other objects, have expiration dates. You can’t buy one pillow and use it for a lifetime. You’ll have to get a new one eventually. Usually, a pillow is good to be used for approximately a year or two. However, you might notice some signs that the time to replace a pillow has come earlier. 

Some of the signs include aches like headaches, neckaches, and backaches, sneezing, which could be caused by the accumulation of dust in the pillow or the dust mites, and also, if you notice that the pillow doesn’t look like it used to when you first bought it, if it’s covered in stains or has some strange lumps, you definitely need to get a new one. 

It would be for the best if you chose to repurpose your old pillows. There are many ways to do it, some of them being making floor pillows,  knee pillows for gardening, pillows being made into pet beds, being donated, made into cushions, used for protecting fragile items while moving or sending them by post, or even being composted!

The options don’t end here however, maybe you’ll think of even better ways to recycle pillows. These are just a few suggestions, all you have to do is get creative and save the resources you already have. 

If you’re reusing your old pillow, you must be looking for a new one. To help you with the search, check out the guide on the best pillows out there!

Scientific References

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

2. E Küster, M S Safwat "Studies on the composting of feathers"

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Recent User Reviews



such a great tips

such a great tips

just dirty

wash before throwing it away, maybe it's still good to use, just dirty



garage works fine

I put my old pillows into my garage just in case

what the hell

I am a student, who doesn't need weird gardening pillows, cushion etc lol

weird tips

only pet shelters sound smart


I never thought about a possibility to donate it to an animal shelter, what a great idea

neck pain

I couldn't understand what was the reason for my neck pain, but it was my old pillow, after replacing it all my pain disappeared

get rid of it

I just thrown my away


When should I replace my pillow?

You should replace your pillow at least every two years. It’s important to change them because of them being possibly contaminated by dust mites that can cause various health disturbances. If you’re looking for a new pillow I’d suggest checking out our best pillow guide

What to do with old pillows?

You should try to recycle or reuse your old pillow, it’s better to not throw them out into the garbage. If you can’t find a way to use them, you can always donate them to shelters, if they’re still good to be used. Before you get rid of the old one, make sure you have another one to sleep on. 

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.