Why Do Pillows Go Flat? 🛏️ (And How To Fix It)

Do you love a good night’s rest? So does your pillow! But sometimes, even the best of friends can have a falling out. Pillows go flat for various reasons, but don’t worry —we’ve got the fix for you. In this article, we will discuss why pillows go flat and how to fix them, so you can get back to counting sheep in no time!

There are a few reasons why pillows go flat. Generally speaking, your pillow goes flat from getting used, being exposed to moisture, getting bogged down by your dead skin and hair, and being infested with dust mites. 

We’ll also give you tips on which pillows don’t go flat as quickly and how long you can expect your pillows to last. 

Reasons Why Pillows Go Flat

Regular Use

Regular use is the most common reason for your pillow going flat. Despite what every pillow manufacturer will tell you in their advertisements, it’s an unavoidable reality of using them. 

Laying your head down compresses the material inside your pillow, and over time if you don’t fluff them regularly, they go flat. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t rest your head at night, though! 

Everything has a lifespan, and despite how much we love to use them, pillows are no exception. Not all pillows have reached the end of their lifespan, though. 

They should last at least two years and even longer for down and feather pillows. So if yours is still within that window of time, there is likely another reason why your pillow is going flat. 


Pillows hate moisture. This is why pillows that are in direct contact with your head, such as a body pillow, tend to go flat more quickly than those that aren’t. 

When your pillow gets wet, the moisture can seep into the filling and cause it to clump together. This makes it difficult for your pillow to regain its shape, so you often find yourself reaching for a new one every few months. 

So if you tend to sweat a lot during your sleep, you may feel the need to replace your pillow more often, but we will talk about what you can do to get your pillow back to its former fluffy glory in a little bit, so don’t head to the store just yet.

Your Hair and Dead Skin 

Believe it or not, your hair and dead skin are also a big reason your pillow goes flat. When you sleep, your body sheds skin cells and hair at an alarming rate. This build-up over time can create quite a mess on your pillow, which in turn will make it difficult for your pillow to regain its shape. 

Dead skin and hair also contribute to dust mites —which we’ll talk about in a minute. To get the most out of your pillow and ensure that your dead skin and hair don’t cause it to go flat, make sure you dust and wash it regularly. If you’ve neglected to wash your pillows in the past, it’s time to make a change today!

Dust Mites 

Last but not least, dust mites are a common enemy of pillows. These little critters love to make their homes inside of pillows, where they can feast on all of the dead skin cells and hair that we mentioned earlier, which is every bit as gross as it sounds. 

Not only do they make our pillows look unsightly, but their droppings can also trigger allergic reactions, which is the last thing anyone wants from their pillow. 

The good news is that dust mites are easy to get rid of. All you need is a pillowcase that can be washed at high temperatures, and you’re good to go. 

Throw them in the washing machine on a regular wash cycle with the temperature set to at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to kill the dust mites and get rid of any allergens present. Then make sure you wash your pillowcase on a regular basis to keep those pesky mites at bay!

So now that you know why pillows go flat let’s talk about what you can do to fix them! 

How to Fix a Flat Pillow 

There are a few ways to revive a flat pillow, but before we get into that, it’s important to note that not all pillows can be saved. If your pillow is more than two years old, or if it’s made of a material that can’t be fluffed, then it might just be time to say goodbye and buy a new one. 

But if your pillow is still within its lifespan, or if you want to give it a try before going out and buying a new one, here are a few ways to revive it:

Put It in the Dryer 

If your pillow is just starting to go flat, chances are all it needs is a good fluffing. One of the easiest ways to do this is by putting it in the dryer for about 15 minutes. 

This will help get rid of any moisture that may be causing the clumping and will restore its shape. Just make sure that your pillow is safe to use in the dryer —not all are! You can check the tag for care tips and instructions specific to your pillow if you are unsure. 

Bake It 

Not in the oven! As you know, sometimes pillows go flat due to moisture. So removing the moisture sometimes resolves the issue entirely. You can do this by simply placing your pillow in direct sunlight for a few hours. 

Don’t leave it outside unless you want to risk dealing with pests other than dust mites. Set it next to a window with no shades where the sun can warm it up for a few hours and evaporate the excess moisture.

Give It a Good Fluff

If your pillow is just a little flat, you can try fluffing it up by hand. This is as easy as it sounds. Simply grab the pillow and give it a good shake. Then fold it in half and do the same thing. 

You should start to see some of the clumps disappear, and your pillow will start to look more like its former self. Hold both ends of the pillow with your hands and vigorously push the ends together and pull them apart. Repeat this process until you can see the pillow returning to its former glory. 

These are all great tips for getting your old pillows back into shape, but what if you want to avoid this altogether? 

The Best Pillows That Don’t Go Flat Easily 

There are a few types of pillows that don’t go flat as easily as others, which is great news if you want to avoid having to fluff and fuss with your pillow on a regular basis. Here are a few of our favorites:

Memory Foam Pillows 

Memory foam pillows are made of a material that is designed to retain their shape, so they don’t go flat as easily as other types of pillows. This makes them ideal for people who want a good night’s sleep without having to worry about constantly adjusting their pillow. 

On the other hand, memory foam isn’t a favorite for everyone. Some find memory foam too dense or stiff and unbreathable. If you sweat a lot during your sleep, memory foam may not be your best option. 

Down Pillows 

Down pillows are another great option if you don’t want to have to worry about fluffing your pillow on a regular basis. They tend to be more expensive than other types of pillows, but they are worth the investment if you want something that will last for a long time. 

Down pillows are made of a natural material and can be easily fluffed by hand. They are also more breathable, which makes them a good option for people who sweat during their sleep. 

Buckwheat Hull Pillows

Another great option if you don’t want to have to worry about your pillow going flat is the buckwheat hull pillow. These pillows are filled with buckwheat hulls, which are a natural material that helps keep the pillow in shape. 

Buckwheat hulls also wick away moisture, making them a good choice for people who sweat during their sleep. Plus, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can find one that’s perfect for you. 

Cotton or Polyester Pillows 

Cotton and polyester pillows are notorious for losing their shape the fastest. But you can’t beat their affordability. If you prefer a softer pillow to lay your head on at night, cotton or polyester-filled pillows might be able to do the trick. 

You will have to fluff them regularly and ensure they stay dry, but a cotton or polyester pillow can offer a relatively good level of comfort for those who love a softer surface.

Regular Feather Pillows 

Regular feather pillows are the most common type of pillow and can be found at a variety of price points. They are filled with feathers, which makes them lightweight and easy to fluff. Their feathers have natural springiness, which makes them both soft and supportive. 

Feather pillows usually don’t need to be fluffed as often as other pillow types and will typically last up to between 4-5 years, depending on how well you take care of them. 

When to Replace Your Pillows 

How long your pillows will last also depends on how often you use them. If you only use your pillows for a few hours a week, they will last longer than if you use them every day. The average lifespan of a pillow is around three years, but this can vary depending on the type of pillow you have. 

When Your Pillows Start to Look Flat and Lifeless 

It may be time to replace them if they look more like pancakes than pillows. If you can fold your pillow in half without it springing back into its original shape, it’s time for a new pillow. 

Try this test. Fold your pillow in half and set a book on top of it while it’s still folded. If the pillow doesn’t open back up on its own then you need to replace your pillow. 

When You Can Clearly See Sweat Stains

Who wants to lay their head down on sweat stains every night? Seeing stains is a clear indication that your pillow has gotten plenty of use, and it’s time to let go. 

If You Wake Up Achy or With a Stiff Neck

If you’re waking up with a stiff neck or an achy head, it might be time to switch out your pillow. A good night’s sleep is crucial for your health and well-being, so don’t hesitate to invest in a new pillow if you think it might help. 

How to Make Your New Pillows Last Longer

Once you’ve replaced your old, flat pillows with some new and fluffy ones, you’ll want to make sure they last as long as possible. Here are a few tips to help

Don’t Store Them In a Damp Place

This might seem obvious, but it’s important to note because some bedrooms stay dark all day long. If you are a sweaty sleeper, the moisture that accumulates during your sleep will stay there throughout the day. Avoid this by opening those curtains wide while the sun is nice and bright. Set your pillows next to the window during the day, and they’ll stay nice and dry —and fluffy.

Fluff Them Regularly

When you wake up in the morning and make your bed, make sure to also give your pillows a good fluff! 

Use a Pillow Case (and Pillow Protector)

Make sure to always keep your pillows inside a pillow protector and pillowcase. This helps to limit the amount of dead skin, hair, and moisture that your pillow comes into contact with. 

Wash Them 

If you’ve never washed your pillows before, today is the day to start. Washing them will eliminate odor, remove dust mites and allergens, and enhance fluffiness. Just remember to set the temperature to over 130 degrees Fahrenheit! 

Final Words

Be sure to follow these tips, and your new pillows will last long into the future! Remember to fluff them regularly, keep them in a pillowcase, and wash them frequently to keep them fresh and comfortable. And most importantly, be sure to replace your pillows when they start looking flat and lifeless!


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Team SafeSleep

Hi! We're a team of scientists, doctors, teachers, and coaches experienced in helping people with special needs. We hope you like our research and share it with others who might find it helpful too :)

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