How Long Does a Pillow Last?
From time to time we get this type of question at DOWNLITE: “How long will my pillow last?” – The simple answer is that it’s really a personal choice. Our detailed analysis to help you determine the life of your pillow is detailed below - with possibly more information than you may care to know.
A pillow, whether it is filled with down, feathers, down alternative, memory foam or latex, will consist of these two key components:
The: Outside Fabric
The: Inside Filling Material
The outside of the pillow material is fabric – whether it be a 230 TC (thread count) cambric or a 400 TC sateen. The outside of the pillow may feature a bonus pillow protector (common when a nice TC or fabric, is featured for the item thus, the inside tends to be a 230 TC Cambric cotton). What we will really focus on is the inner fabric – regardless if there’s a nicer bonus protector on the outside. Each type of pillow filling requires a fabric to house it. So in the case of down, feathers, or down alternative, the fabric has to be at a high enough thread count and treatment to resist down or feathers from pushing out through that fabric. Other items like cheaper polyester fabric pillows or foam/latex products are not limited to the fabric choice. So these are usually are at a 150 TC or higher, and are often paired with a plush or terry-like cover typically in the case of foam/latex interiors.
On every bed each item of bedding receives a different purpose – the pillow and mattress receive the majority of the repeated heavy pressure and weight (either by your torso or your head). Although the weight of the average human head is only approx 9 pounds – it is the added elements of snoring, drooling, nose bleeds and other life events that will impact and wear on the fabric the most. While most bedding products are machine washable (except memory foam/latex and some cheaper polyesters) – most of us don’t like the appearance of our pillows past 10 years, and the accumulating speckled drool spots, old makeup, or yellow sweat stains that eventually drive us to eventually replace them.
Inside Filling Material
The inside of the pillow will alter the pillows longevity. The life of your pillow is largely based on the filling you choose. Notably, and in order of durability, or ’toughness’ your fill options are: feathers, down, polyester and down alternative (foam or latex products are pretty diverse, and will covered in this post at the bottom). We separated ‘polyester’ pillows into two groups, one we call ‘polyester’ the other we call ‘down alternative’.
Feathers tend to be pretty resilient due to the quill at their core to providing a natural strength. It is very common to receive a call from a customer who’s shared they own a 25 year old feather pillow. Although naturally resilient, feathers alone don’t feel great on most folks’ skin. That’s why they are usually blended with down. Over time feathers do eventually break and soften – however, in our opinion this factor really equates to a desirable lumpy pillow – lumpy in a good way! – like grandma’s old pillow.
Down fill comes from the underside of a bird’s chest area, and it is very light weight, fluffy and soft. A good down pillow can last for decades. And over time, the down clusters will break or pull apart due to the friction and weight of your head on the pillow.
At DOWNLITE we make two distinct synthetic types of pillows – one is called ‘polyester’ and is made by use of a semi automated machine that spins, collects and turns strands of polyester into a ‘bun’ which is then inserted into a shell. The second pillow we make is is the down alternative polyester. It features loose polyester that’s usually microfiber with the capability to move freely inside a pillow – much like down. The ‘polyester bun’ type pillows (also called garnetted pillows) are very durable and hold their shape due to the polyester formed web shape that’s glued or melted into place. This type of pillow can be used over and over (often found at some 2 and 3 star hotels – due to their durable nature, and cheaper price point). They don’t wash very well, so extra care is needed for cleaning (unlike down alternative pillows). The polyester ‘garnetted pillows’ can last up to 3-4 years or longer.
Down alternative pillows require a thread count and fabric treatment – much like natural down or feather pillows (due to their microfiber polyester component). These pillows – at least the ones from DOWNLITE, can be machine washed and dried for ease of care. Examples of down alternatives include: PrimaLoft Support, EnviroLoft, MicroLoft as well as other fine denier staple polyesters. Down alternative pillows can last up to 2-3 years before their ‘hand’ (shape) changes, to an excess causing the user to replace it with a replacement or different option.
Last on the list of filling choices we have available are memory foam or latex products. They behave a bit differently, but are generally not machine washable and are rigid in form. The rigidity overtime breaks down, and the molded form they started with, can react to your head weight to form indentations. The chemicals used for memory foam products also tend to be pretty noxious and turn a yellow-ish color over time. Because memory foam products are so new, it’s not certain exactly how long they will last – but an educated guess is at least several years of ‘good’ use (unless you spill something on them, in which the wetness would ruin them).
What About Folding A Pillow?
We’ve been asked for our opinion on folding pillows. And collectively, we don’t like the pillow fold test. We find it is meaningless because some people like soft pillows, while others have large king pillows (both of which can cause a pillow to not fold over, like you might see on TV). The main criteria for in determining a pillow’s appeal is really an individual – subjective choice. Unless a pillow is leaking or poking you you with feather quills, you can hold onto it – as long as you like, or at least until it starts looking unsightly (dingy or yellowed).
Are Old Pillows Unhealthy?
If you’re concerned an old pillow could be prone to dust mites and or unwanted allergens – we recommend two great websites that cover those topics by addressing related questions and concerns: beddingcare.com
At the end of the day, the life of each pillow – whether it’s determined it’s too flat, too old, or too dingy, is a subjective choice, and really up to the end user… YOU!permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. . Bookmark the