What to Do With Old Pillows

August 27, 2021 | Casper Editorial Team

We spend one-third of our lives laying on our pillows, so it may be hard to part ways with your faithful sleep companions. But when it’s time, it’s time. Whether you’re waking up with a crick in your neck or your pillow has actually changed colors, eventually you’ll see that an old pillow has got to go. 

So, what do you do with old pillows when you get a new set of pillows?

If possible, it’s best to avoid throwing pillows directly into the garbage because they get sent straight to the landfill, which has a tough effect on our environment. 

Luckily, there are many environmentally friendly ways to get rid of your pillows by repurposing, donating, and recycling them. In this short guide, we’ll cover your options.

Say goodbye to your old pillows and welcome new, luxuriously soft and supportive pillows. Whether you want foam, down, or down-alternative, Casper’s pillows are the perfect choice.

How to Repurpose Old Pillows

The most efficient way to “get rid of” old pillows is to repurpose them. 

Just because your old pillows no longer belong on your bed doesn’t mean they need to leave your house completely. 

Here are a few new shapes for your old pillows to take on:

  • Floor cushion seats – Throw some new fabric on your old pillows and create floor seats for your family and guests to sit on the floor around your coffee table.
  • Pet beds – Gently used pillows make for perfect extra padding in your pet’s bed. If your pet is small enough, the old bed pillow could be the bed itself (and so cute). Or, you can always add your old pillow to a new bed for your pet, like Casper’s supportive dog bed.
  • Moving and packaging material – Discarded pillows can be very durable and long-lasting when used to protect your fragiles during moving or shipping.
  • Throw pillows – Depending on the size and shape of your old pillows, they might be the perfect addition to your living room couch as a type of decorative pillow once refreshed and re-upholstered.

Can’t find a way to reuse your old pillow? Not to fret. Next, look for ways to pass it on.

How to Donate Old Pillows

If your pillows are still in decent shape, you can look into donating them.

Many organizations have a need for pillows, bedding, and even mattresses. If you’re able to make a few calls around to see who is currently accepting pillow donations, you’re likely to find the pillows a happy new home.

Here are a few great places worth checking in with:

  • Homeless shelters
  • Animal shelters
  • Daycare Facilities
  • Charities

You can also try thrift stores. While many second-hand shops won’t accept pillows, some do. Make sure to call ahead and ask if they accept pillow donations.

Once you’ve donated your old pillows, you can rest easy knowing your pillow is out there doing good in the world. You’ll rest even easier if you lay your philanthropic head on one of Casper’s super comfortable pillows. 

How to Recycle Old Pillows

If your pillows are too well-worn to repurpose or donate, the next best option is to recycle them. 

Here’s how:

  • Find a Textile Recycling Facility. This is one of the best ways to recycle old pillows, as opposed to just tossing them in your recycling bin at home. These facilities specialize in keeping pillows from overflowing in landfills by reusing the old pillow stuffing and material to make things such as carpet padding, insulation, and rags. 

American Textile Recycling Service is a company that specializes in textile deconstruction. You can find drop-off bins near you by calling their 24-hour hotline at (866) 900-9308. 

  • Compost the old pillow stuffing. Most pillow cover encasements will not compost, but if the stuffing inside the pillow is feather or down, you can remove it from inside the casing and toss into the compost bin. The casing can then be ripped up and used as wash rags.

When Is It Time to Get Rid of Old Pillows?

It’s a common belief that pillows can last forever—some people take their pillows from their childhood bed off to college, into their first apartments, and perhaps even into their new homes.

While we understand that some pillows hold the same comfort as a child’s stuffed animal, at some point, the bed pillow should be replaced. But, how often should you replace pillows then?

Here are a few telltale signs that it’s time to upgrade your pillow:

  • You’ve had the pillow for over two years
  • The pillow looks shapeless or feels lumpy, due to the lack of pillow stuffing
  • You experience head or neck pain that is most prominent right when you wake up
  • The pillow is excessively stained
  • The pillow is torn or stuffing is coming out
  • The pillow emits a bad smell, even after thrown in the washing machine for a good spin

Any of these warnings is a tell-tale sign that it’s time to bid adieu to your old bed pillow.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Now that you know what to do with old pillows, it’s time to find the new pillow that works for you!

You’ll experience myriad benefits including the following:

  • Better neck and back support The right new pillow is an important tool for lulling your body into a night of restorative sleep. It’s recommended that you find a pillow that allows you to keep your neck parallel to the mattress for better back and neck support while sleeping.1 
  • Better hygiene Pillows are a breeding ground for dust and bacteria that builds up over time, which is why it’s important to know how to wash pillows properly. However, since pillows can be difficult to wash without damaging their quality, it’s best to replace them after a couple of years.
  • Better sleep – Are you constantly fluffing your pillow to get the last remaining lumps into the exact spot that you like? A brand-new pillow will make for a much better night’s sleep.

Upgrade Your Sleep With Pillows from Casper

At Casper, our goal is to trick out your bed with pillows and sleep accessories to help you get your best night’s sleep—tonight and for years to come.

Are you a stomach sleeper who struggles to find that perfect neck alignment? A side sleeper who assembles a veritable pyramid of pillows to create an optimal sleep position? It’s time to toss out those old pillows and switch up your routine. And no matter your sleep style, we’ve got you covered.

Take note of your preferences for each of the following if you’re wondering how to choose a pillow:

Then, shop our selection of pillows to find the perfect pillow.


  1. Cleveland Clinic. Is Your Pillow Giving You a Stiff Neck While You Sleep? https://health.clevelandclinic.org/is-your-pillow-hurting-your-neck-7-tips-for-better-sleep/
  2. American Textile Recycling Service. http://atrscorp.com
  3. Green Matters. What to do With Old Pillows. https://www.greenmatters.com/p/what-to-do-with-old-pillows
  4. Earth 911. How to Recycle Pillows.  https://earth911.com/recycling-guide/how-to-recycle-pillows/