Spoiler alert: Even if it’s oh-so-comfortable, it might be high time for a replacement.
There are few simple pleasures in life with more value than a perfect pillow. The amount and quality of sleep we get each night determines our focus, affects our mood, and contributes to our overall well-being, and a comfortable pillow plays a huge role in a good night’s rest.
But even — or rather, especially — if your favorite pillow has been faithfully supporting you each night for years, it might be time for a new one. Read on to learn how to lengthen the life of your pillow and know when it’s time to replace.
Taking the Bend Test
If you’re one of the millions of people who sleeps on a down or feather pillow each night, one easy way to tell if it’s time for replacement is to fold it in half and see if it stays that way.
If so, that means the pillow no longer offers the level of support it should. With a polyester-fill or memory foam pillow, you’ll likely know when its durability is decreasing thanks to neck pain, sleepless nights, and groggy mornings, all of which tend to increase as your pillow’s ability to support you starts to wane.
Standing the Test of Time
The National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing a pillow every one to two years, noting that down and feather pillows may last longer than those with polyester filling. Some memory foam pillows may come with a several-year warranty, so check yours and keep track of how long you’ve been sleeping on it.
Even if you’re still enjoying the same level of comfort as the first night you slept on your pillow when it was new, it’s a fact of life that dead skin cells, sweat, body oils and residue from personal care products tend to build up inside a pillow over time, creating a perfect ecosystem for dust mites to gather. This phenomenon is what causes memory foam pillows to feel heavier over time, and what makes all types of pillows accumulate allergens and unsavory odors.
How to Care for Your Pillows
If replacing your pillow annually just isn’t in the cards, you can take a few steps to prolong its life.
First, invest in a removable, washable pillow protector — essentially, a second pillowcase that zips snugly around your pillow to protect it from saliva stains, dust mites, and everything in between.
You can (and should) also launder your pillow once every six months or so if it’s machine-washable. If it’s labeled “dry clean only,” aim to send it out for cleaning once or twice a year. For specific instructions, refer to Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques’ step-by-step guide to cleaning and caring for your pillows, no matter where you purchased them or what they’re made of.
To go the extra mile, air your pillows out once or twice between each washing by hanging them from a clothesline or simply propping them up outdoors in the sunshine for a few hours. The combination of heat and air circulation allows the fill to refresh and expand, fluffing your pillows naturally and giving them a chance to breathe.
Ready for Something New?
If your pillows are in need of replacement, you’re in luck: Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques offer a full range of pillows to match your personal sleep preference. From the guest-favorite Marriott pillow to the memorable Westin Feather & Down pillow there is a host of options ideal for sending you off to sleep in perfect comfort.