Did you know that approximately one-third of your life is spent sleeping? That being stated, it's safe to say that having a comfortable and durable pillow is important. Feather pillows are one of the most common types of pillows used today. But how long do they last? We've searched to find the answer for you.
If properly maintained, it's estimated that feather pillows can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. However, it is worth mentioning that the feathers will begin to compress and eventually settle over the years due to frequent usage. Therefore, it's recommended to replace the pillows every 12 to 24 months.
If you have allergy issues (specifically dust allergies), which can be exacerbated by feather pillows, you may want to consider replacing the pillow every six months to a year. Read on to learn more about feather pillows and their benefits.
The Pros and Cons of Feather Pillows
The popularity of feather pillows has skyrocketed within the past 10-years. And the inclusion of goose and duck down (the insulating under-feathers of these birds) they have become a mainstay in many homes. One of the greatest benefits of feather pillows is their fluffiness and softness in addition to their durability.
While they can come with varying fill levels (a measure of the pillow's firmness), most tend to be softer than other pillow filling materials such as memory foam, polyfill, and even some cotton pillows. Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of feather pillows.
- Very durable and can have at least 20% more longevity than other pillows, lasting anywhere from 5 to 10 years
- Can be easily molded or adjusted for added support and comfort
- Extremely soft and comfortable as neck pillows
- Offer medium support for side and back sleepers
- Feathers are light and breathable material
- Has natural insulation qualities and can prevent heat retention
- Machine-washable and easy maintenance requirements
- Can cause back pain for stomach sleepers or those needing more support
- Needs constant re-fluffing and adjusting
- Can be more expensive than other types of pillows
- Feather quills can pierce through pillow covers and cause discomfort
- Can cause allergic reactions
- New pillows may have a gamey smell before washing
The longevity of feather pillows in comparison to other fill materials
- Cotton: Many cotton pillows come with warranties and are known to last about one to three years.
- Memory Foam: Most memory foam pillows tend to last anywhere from 18 to 36 months.
- Microfiber/Polyfill: Also known as "synthetic-fill" pillows, polyfill pillows can last around six months to two years.
- Water: A relatively new type of pillow, water pillows typically last about 1 to 3 years (most come with warranties).
- Latex: Latex pillows can last anywhere from two to five years.
- Buckwheat: A lessen common option, buckwheat is known to last well over five years if properly maintained.
- Wool: Natural wool pillows are known to last about one to three years, while synthetics may last one to two years.
Can old feather pillows make you sick?
Feather pillows, similar to any other type of pillow, can contain harmful bacteria when used for a long period of time without being washed. However, they are more likely to encourage the proliferation of dust mites than anything. And though you may not be able to see any signs of debris on the surface of the pillow, they can become breeding grounds for various types of harmful toxins, mold spores, and bacteria. While some people may have an allergic reaction to feather pillows in general, feather pillows that have never been cleaned or are exposed to humidity over long periods of time can be especially harmful.
Maintenance tips to reduce the possibility of getting sick from a feather pillow:
- Wash your feather pillows every 3 months (if it's machine washable).
- Change/wash your pillowcases and bed linens every week.
- Maintain a room humidity of no more than 50% to avoid mold/mildew within the pillow.
- After washing your feather pillow, be sure to dry it thoroughly.
- Replace your feather pillow at least once a year or earlier if the feathers have degraded or become soiled in any way.
How do you freshen feather pillows?
As a result of frequent usage, feather pillows can start to lose their freshness after a few weeks or months. However, there is a way to refresh the pillow without taking it to the dry cleaners. Before applying any water to your feather pillow, always be sure to check the care tag instructions. Below, we've outlined a few ways for you to freshen your feather pillows in no time.
Machine wash them
Most feather pillows can be tossed in the washer. However, it's important to balance the washer properly so that the pillows can be cleaned thoroughly. Be sure to only toss two regular-sized or one king-size pillow at a time into the washer. Set the temperature on the "hot water" setting and use the "gentle" cycle (or "delicate" cycle") and add enough detergent for about one-quarter of a normal load.
If you have any spot stains that may be causing odor, such as coffee spills or other soiled areas, be sure to apply spot treatment before throwing them in the washer. Also, select an extra rinse cycle to remove all of the detergents from the pillows. After washing, you can toss them in the dryer or air dry them.
Throw them in the dryer
You can also freshen feather pillows by throwing them in the dryer with either a damp cloth or a couple of damp fabric softener sheets. When doing this, be sure to place the dryer on either "no heat" or "low heat." Also, if you have any dryer balls, be sure to toss them in there to prevent clumping and help re-fluff the pillows.
If the pillows are not safe for dryer use, you can dry them using a couple of large body tiles and pressing firmly on them to squeeze out excess water (be sure not to twist or wring them). Next, set them outside or on a flat surface in the laundry room to dry (be sure to turn them over every 30-minutes).
If you have a front-loading washer, you can also hand-wash your feather pillows. To do this, simply fill up your bathtub (after cleaning it) with about five to six gallons of water (so the water level is about eight inches high and the pillows are fully submerged) and toss in a small amount of detergent (maybe one-quarter of a cup). Gently agitate and knead the pillows with your hands for about five minutes, and then let them soak for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Afterward, drain the water from the tub and press the pillows firmly down on the tub's surface to squeeze out excess water. Next, fill the tub with warm water so that it completely covers the pillows and agitate them again to rinse out the detergent. Finally, toss the pillows in the dryer with a couple of dryer balls for about 15 to 20-minutes on a "low heat" or "no heat" setting (or "delicate").
What can I do with old feather pillows?
Feather pillows can wear out over time, just like any other household item. But there are ways to repurpose your feather pillows if you don't want to throw them away. Let's look at a few of them.
Make Pet Beds
If you're handy with a needle and thread, why not make your pet their very own bed pillow? Take your old feather pillows, remove the filling, and then use it to create soft and plush pillows for your furry friends. Please note, it helps to have a solid bottom on the bed, such as a piece of cardboard or a rubber backing, to help the pillow bed keep its shape.
Create Body Pillows
Body pillows can add great comfort to your sleep routine if you're someone who suffers from back or knee pain or if you're pregnant. To make a body pillow, you'll simply need to purchase casing material, stitch it together, and then fill it with your old feather pillows--and boom, you've just saved about $30!
Re-stuff Old Toys
You can also use the feathers to re-stuff old toys. If you have any stuffed animals around the house that have ripped apart, set them to the side and use your old feather stuffing to refill them. You can also use them to make new toys altogether. We'd caution against using this for pet toys, as it would be pretty messy to clean up once they tear it apart.
If your feather pillows are free of stains such as oil, grease, and blood, you can recycle them. Many textile recycling plants offer drop-off and even pick up services for your old fabrics.
Fill your garden bed
Bird feathers are biodegradable, which means you can also use them to fill your garden bed and save a few extra bucks on the compost.
Use for packing material
Old feather pillows can also make for great packing material when shipping fragile items. Why spend money on bubble wrap when you can take a few of the old pillows stored in the attic and repurpose them? The feathers' insulating quality can also work to store household items in the basement or attic during colder seasons.
Create draft stoppers
Speaking of colder seasons, you can also use the old feathers from your pillows to create effective draft stoppers for your doors. Simply stuff the feathers in an old sock, unused pillowcase (make sure to roll it up), or create your own stopper with a little needle and thread. With one average-sized feather pillow, you can create three to four draft stoppers to help keep your home warm (and save on energy costs). You can also use old pantyhose or leggings as liners as well (or buy them for under $5 online).
Wrapping Things Up
Feather pillows can endure a lengthy mileage if properly cleaned and maintained. Looking for more tips and advice about pillows? Check out a couple of our other posts: