How Often Should You Replace Your Pillows? What to Know

Written by
Purple Staff
Last Updated
November 7, 2022
min read


Sleeping on old pillows can lead to a host of health issues if they aren’t replaced, such as headaches, chronic neck and back pain, acne, and allergies. This is why it’s recommended to change your pillows once they show signs of wear and tear. 

Replacing pillows every few years will help you get better sleep, maintain the hygiene of your bedding, and lead to better health in the long run. Read on to learn when you should throw away pillows, why, and what to do with them after

How Often Should You Replace Your Pillows?

Experts recommend replacing your pillows every 1-2 years to make sure they remain allergen-free and maintain their level of support. Keeping a pillow beyond this timespan makes it a breeding ground for allergens and bacteria. Keep your pillows clean by washing, drying, or spot-cleaning – this will help maintain them for a long time. 

That said, some pillows are more durable than others. Here is the recommended lifespan of several types of pillows available on the market:

Pillow Type



6-24 months

Memory foam

18-36 months


2+ years

Synthetic down

18-24 months


18-36 months


3-4 years


3 years

Why It's Important To Replace Pillows

According to sleep specialists, pillow quality can impact almost every part of our sleep quality – that’s why getting the right one is essential. But it doesn’t just stop at purchasing a high-quality pillow.

Over time, even the cleanest, most advanced memory foam pillows will get beaten out of shape or accumulate yellow stains. As a result, your beloved pillow can become the reason you aren’t sleeping as well as you’d like.

But what are the specific reasons a person might want to replace their pillow? Here are some of the most significant ones.


Pillows Can Accumulate Dirt, Bacteria, and Allergens

We know you probably don’t want to hear this, but an old pillow provides the perfect environment for allergens and dust mites. Let us explain.

We actively shed dead skin cells, sweat, and natural oils onto our pillow cover while we sleep, and this dirt and debris can seep into the actual pillow. You might be able to manage this by tossing the pillow protector into a washing machine, but this isn’t a long-term or permanent solution.


Pillows Can Lose Their Shape

Whether you’re using a flexible latex pillow or a breathable bamboo pillow, all types of pillows eventually get worn down and lose their structural integrity. This can cause body and neck pains.

Here are two of the most common signs your pillow is getting bent out of shape:

  • Lumps: When your bed pillow starts to accumulate lumps and bumps, it’s time to buy a new one. This is especially true if no amount of fluffing and puffing can restore its downy feel.
  • Flatness: A flat pillow results in suboptimal sleep. A deflated cushion means your spinal alignment is disrupted, which can leave you with chronic neck pain even during waking hours.


Pillows Aren't As Comfy

Neck discomfort, signs of wear, and yellow spots are all completely valid reasons to replace your cushion– but this usually isn’t enough to convince most people. The truth is, your pillow can be completely clean and smooth but just not comfortable anymore, and that’s a perfectly fine reason to seek a new solution. Here are some of the most common reasons your pillow is suddenly uncomfortable:

  • Body and lifestyle changes: This can mean sustaining an injury that requires sleeping in a neutral position or even training yourself to sleep differently. Regardless of what it is, sometimes your old polyester pillows aren’t a good match anymore. Consider purchasing specialty pillows to address your specific concerns.
  • A new bed: A new bed means a different balance of support and comfort, and that affects everything in your sleep zone. Your old pillow might just not sit the way you need it to anymore, and that could be a big sign it’s time for a change.

Benefits Of New Pillows

If your body is feeling the mental and physical effects of sleeping on old pillows, new pillows will feel like a blessing. Not only will you sleep better, but you’ll experience a whole host of other benefits that result from better quality sleep. 

Here are some of the most common effects of sleeping on new pillows.

Improved Sleep

The most obvious result of brand-new pillows is a noticeable improvement in sleep quality. Getting enough sleep every night can improve your physical and mental health in a variety of ways:

  • Boosts your immune system
  • Improves memory and focus
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Manages weight gain
  • Increases productivity
  • Improves athletic performance

Proper Neck And Back Support

One of the most common complaints about sleeping on worn-out pillows is waking up with bodily aches and pains, especially in the neck and shoulders. In contrast, new pillows keep your spine properly aligned as you sleep.

Finding the right pillow for you can make all the difference

The Best Quality Pillows For Great Sleep

If you’ve decided that it’s time to make a change, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed at the choice of pillows on the market. Luckily, we have a wide range of cushions and pillows available. Here’s a quick overview of Purple’s top three products:

  • Purple Harmony Pillow: Perfect for people who need comfortable support while staying cool. Comes in several height options to fit your needs and preferences
  • Purple Cloud Pillow: The ultimate pillow for down-alternative enthusiasts. Hypoallergenic and hyper-comfortable, this pillow won’t flatten or trap heat.
  • The Purple Pillow: Adjustable, cooling, and perfectly suited to your head and neck. Ergonomic support made from the Purple Grid.

Whichever pillow you purchase, proper care is essential. Check out our washing and cleaning guide for more detailed information.