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How to Fluff a Pillow: Giving Your Flat Pillow a New Life in a Couple of Simple Steps

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 6 minLast updated on May 31, 2021

We’ve all been there: a pillow that you used to love has turned flat.

It’s not as fluffy or comfy anymore, which often means your sleep is not as peaceful either.

Here’s the good news, though:

You can still help your pillow become its “old self” again. There are a couple of ways that can help you fluff your old pillow and prolong its life a little bit. Sounds like something you might want to try? Then keep reading to find out more!

How to Fluff a Pillow by Hand

One of the easiest ways to fluff a pillow involves a pair of hands, a bit of effort, and a few minutes of your free time.

Here are the steps:

  • grab your pillow on the left and the right side;
  • lift the pillow and start compressing and decompressing it fast (squeeze and release);
  • repeat for about 30-60 seconds;
  • rotate the pillow, grab the other two sides, and repeat the “procedure”;
  • give your pillow a massage or even punch it a couple of times to break down the filling (and to release some of your frustration, because why not?).

After only a few minutes, your pillow should become loftier. You might have to repeat this once in a while, especially if your pillow is a bit old and can’t hold its shape that well anymore. But this method is one of the fastest ways to fluff a pillow, so doing it regularly shouldn’t be a big inconvenience (hopefully).

Also read: Best Pillows for Back Sleepers

How to Fluff a Pillow in a Dryer with a Tennis Ball

Another fast way to fluff a pillow is by using a dryer. However, before you do that, read the tag on your pillow to make sure it’s safe to be placed in the dryer. Otherwise, you may end up with a lumpy pillow.

Now, remember the little massage I have mentioned before? If you decide to fluff a pillow in a dryer, it would still need the massage to make the filling looser. What you can do is grab a tennis ball, place it in a sock (to prevent it from shedding all over the pillow), and put it into the dryer with your pillow. If you don’t have a tennis ball, you can tie up some of your clothes to make something hard(-ish) that would massage your pillow.

To be on the safe side, use a low-temperature setting. It’s also better not to place any other clothes or pillows into the dryer. Your flat pillow requires space, so if you need to fluff a couple of them, do that one by one.

How to Fluff a Pillow Outside

Want to save on electricity (or simply don’t have a dryer)? No worries, you can fluff your pillow by simply leaving it outside to air out (preferably in the sun).

The thing is, pillows tend to accumulate moisture with time. This makes the filling clamp together, forming lumps and making the pillow flat. By leaving it in the fresh air (and in the sun) for a while, you can get rid of the moisture inside, which might help your pillow regain its shape to at least some extent. 

Also read: Best Pillows for Shoulder Pain

How to Fluff a Pillow with a Wash Cycle

If your pillow allows for it (again, check the tag), you can also wash it to kind of freshen up the filling and give it a chance to loosen up a bit. You can use a hot water cycle to get rid of the bacteria inside (1) but only if your pillow’s care instructions allow for it.

Again, you can add a tennis ball or a couple of clothing items (tied and shaped like a ball) to give your pillow a massage and break down the filling. Then, transfer it to the dryer (with the ball). Set a lower temperature to avoid damaging the filling and wait. 

Once the cycle is over, your pillow should come out fresh and fluffy. If you notice any lumps, you can take them apart with your hands or run another cycle on your dryer.

Also read: Best Pillows for Combination Sleepers

When Is It Time to Stop Fluffing Your Pillow and Get a New One (And Why Should You)?

Here’s the deal:

Not all pillows can be saved. Moreover, not all of them SHOULD be saved.

You see, it is recommended to buy new pillows every 1-2 years. The thing is, sleeping on an older pillow isn’t the healthiest choice. Not only can your pillow accommodate tons of bacteria and dead skin cells (and attract dust mites, as a result of that), but also it can lose its supportive properties.

And once your pillow can’t support your neck and head properly anymore, you can start experiencing health issues. Your spine may fall into misalignment when the neck and the head aren’t supported correctly. This can cause tension build-up in certain body parts. In the longer run, this might lead to back pain and poor sleeping posture.

Therefore, if your pillow is really old, fluffing it might not be such a good idea. You will do yourself a lot of good if you toss it and buy a new one.

FAQ

What types of pillows need to be fluffed regularly?

Pillows that use loose filling typically require regular fluffing. They include down, feather, polyfiber, wool, shredded memory foam (or latex), and cotton pillows.

When is it the right time to replace a pillow?

It’s better to get a new pillow every 1-2 years. You might also buy a new pillow if your old one is lumpy or saggy (and can’t be fixed).

Summary

See, even a flat pillow can be saved.

All you have to do is spend a bit of time and make a little effort. However, remember that not all pillows should be fluffed. Sometimes, it’s better to get a new one (health-wise). 

So, how old is your pillow? And have you already tried any of the mentioned fluffing methods? Let us know in the comments!

References:

  1. Alina Bradford (December 03, 2015). How to make old pillows feel new again with a simple wash cycle. Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/home/kitchen-and-household/how-to-revitalize-your-pillows-with-just-your-washer-and-dryer/

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