What’s the Lifespan of a Pillow?

by Bethaney Wallace on 8th Sep 2013

Pillows – one of man’s favorite inventions – is one of the best reasons to go to sleep each night. They are comfortable, provide plenty of neck and spinal support, which in turn reduces pain throughout the day, and offer a reminder of home. Whether made from foam, feathers, or some other unknown stuffing material, these bedtime must-haves go great with any lounging or nighttime resting routine. And whether you’re using them to sleep, read, or prop yourself up for TV time, pillows are just plain wonderful. What other item is soft and fluffy enough to lean against for hours on end?

With as much time as we spend relying on these pillows, however, just how long is too long to keep the same one in tow? Of course items like pillowcases or sham covers can expand their looks and cleanliness – but just how long will a single pillow support? How long is it comfortable? And is it healthy to use the same model for years on end?

To get some better insight into all that is pillows, let’s take a look into some of their stats.

Pillows should be replaced if:

  • They are oddly discolored or heavily stained. While sweating and drooling does take place, over time the moisture will leave permanent discoloration on a pillow. If it can’t be washed out, it’s probably time to buy a replacement piece.
  • You wake up with regular headaches or neck pain.
  • You can’t remember exactly how long your pillow has been in the family.
  • It’s lumpy, misshaped, flat, or losing its original structure. This generally means the pillow has lost its integrity and is providing little head and neck support. (The same goes for aches and pains.)

You should also consider the quality of each pillow. Experts say polyester models or other cheap versions will last only about six months. Feathers and synthetic cases also tend to break down quickly. In contrast, quality foam pillows – such as Contour’s Ortho-Fiber, Pedic, Secret, or Flip pillows – can last for a long period of time. So long as the pillow maintains its shape and ability to support, a person can sleep on the same model for five or more years.

If in doubt, check the model’s warranty when purchasing, which should outline how long the product will likely hold up. [NBC]

Tips for Making your Pillows Last

  • Wash them at least once a year. Though it will reduce some of its fluffiness over time, this will keep the pillow clean and fresh from its frequent use. Skip the dryer to avoid breaking down more of the pillow’s structure.
  • Keep pillowcases clean. Launder your sheets and pillowcases at least twice a month. If sick or a nighttime sweater, a higher frequency should be considered. By keeping the pillowcase clean, the pillow itself has a better likelihood of avoiding sweat and germs.
  • Fluff, rotate, and flip. No pillow will hold up long if the exact same section is slept upon each night. By rotating or flipping, you can ensure that each section of the pillow is being used equally. (Note, this isn’t necessary with heavy foam or neck pillows, which are almost impossible to “fluff.”)
  • Avoid the fold. Don’t half or fold your pillow for extra height. This breaks down the model prematurely by placing weight in unnatural areas. If added height is needed, look to an extra pillow to stack rather than fold in half.

No matter how long it’s been since you purchased your last pillow, consider the above to evaluate whether or not it’s time for an upgrade. From foam pillows, those that offer neck support, to those that won’t wear out within the year, remember to give your head the nighttime comfort it deserves.

For all your pillow needs, head to Contour’s pillow shopping selection.