22 Ways to Properly Store Your Pillows


Pillows are an essential part of a good night’s sleep. Choosing the right pillow for your sleep style and properly caring for your pillows can make a big difference in how restful your sleep is. An important part of pillow care is proper storage. Storing your pillows correctly helps preserve their shape, extend their lifespan, and prevent dust mites or mold growth. Read on for 22 tips to help you properly store your pillows.

Use Pillow Protectors

Encasing your pillows in a pillow protector or pillow case is one of the easiest ways to keep them clean and extend their life. Look for pillow protectors made from cotton, bamboo, polyester or other breathable fabrics. Make sure to use a protector specifically sized for your pillow – standard, queen, king sizes. Changing the protector 1-2 times per week prevents oils, dirt and skin cells from accumulating on the pillow itself.

Alternate Pillows

It’s best not to use the same pillow every night. Have 2-4 pillows on your bed and alternate them. Letting a pillow “rest” at least 48 hours between uses allows moisture to dissipate so it doesn’t grow mold. Mark your calendar to remember to swap them out.

Fluff Regularly

Fluffing and shaking your pillows daily redistributes the stuffing and filling inside. This helps the pillow maintain its original shape and plumpness. It only takes a few seconds. Make it part of your routine when making the bed each morning.

Air Out Pillows

To allow moisture to evaporate from the pillow fibers, leave pillows out of their cases and exposed to open air regularly. Once or twice per week, place pillows in a single layer on the bed or furniture to air out for at least 2-4 hours. Direct sunlight and a breeze also helps dry them.

Store Pillows Individually

Do not stack pillows tightly together for storage. This compresses them unevenly. Instead, store each pillow singly in its own pillowcase or protector. Place them side by side with space between rather than piling them.

Use Breathable Storage

Look for storage containers made of cotton, mesh or other breathable fabrics. Solid plastic bins or bags trap moisture and prevent air circulation. Breathable linens or wicker allow airflow to keep pillows fresh and dry.

Clean Storage Area

Store pillows in a clean, dry area without dust, dirt or humidity. Places like a closet floor can collect dust and dirt that gets drawn into the pillows. Find shelving, under bed storage or chests that are hygienic for pillows.

Sun Exposure

Periodically place pillows in direct sunlight, turning to expose all sides. The ultraviolet light in sunshine kills dust mites, bacteria and mold spores. A few hours of sun 1-2 times per month freshens pillows. Just don’t leave them in sun long enough to fade colors.

Freeze Pillows

Freezing pillows overnight helps kill dust mites too. Place each pillow into a plastic bag and squeeze out excess air. Seal and put in freezer for 12-24 hours. Just be sure to take them out of plastic immediately so they don’t collect condensation.

Wash Pillow Protectors

Depending on use, wash pillow protectors at least every 1-2 weeks. Use hot water (140°F) and add vinegar or tea tree oil to help sanitize. This prevents oils, sweat and dead skin cells from accumulating next to your face. Dry thoroughly before replacing on pillows.

Wash Pillows

Over time oils, sweat, skin cells and dust mite feces build up in pillow stuffing. Every 4-6 months, wash pillows according to their care instructions. Most down or poly-fill pillows can go in the washing machine, then dryer with wool dryer balls to re-fluff.

Rotate Positions

Rotating the physical position of each pillow every 3-6 months evens out wear. Pillows used under the head or neck tend to flatten more than those you lie on. Move your pillows to a different sleeping position periodically.

Replace Pillows

No matter how well cared for, pillows lose their support and become misshapen over years of use. Plan to replace pillows every 1-2 years, or when you notice they don’t spring back fully between uses. Old pillows don’t properly cradle the head and neck.

Store Vertically

Stand pillows upright lean ing against a wall when possible. Vertical storage helps preserve the pillow’s height and fluffiness compared to stacking them flat. Just be sure they can “breathe” and aren’t tightly packed.

Avoid Moisture

Prevent mildew and mold by keeping stored pillows away from moisture and humidity. Don’t store pillows in basements, garages or bathrooms where they could get damp. Check for condensation in containers.

Natural Pillows

Choose pillows made from natural materials like cotton, wool, feathers or shredded latex. They allow more airflow than synthetic materials like polyester. Natural pillows stay fresher when stored.

Low Humidity

Use a dehumidifier, desiccant packets or ventilation to keep humidity around stored pillows under 50%. High humidity encourages mold and dust mites. Add cedar blocks to absorb moisture and repel insects.

Cedar Chest

Traditional cedar chests have excellent properties for storing pillows. The cedar wood repels moths and has a nice aroma. Be sure to keep the chest in a dry area, not a damp basement. Air out pillows regularly.

No Plastic Bags

Never use airtight plastic bags or bins to store pillows long term. Plastic traps heat and moisture instead of allowing breathability. Use cotton, linen or mesh materials that allow airflow. A plastic bag is only ok for short term storage like freezing.

Clean Out Stale Air

When placing pillows into storage containers or closets, add a piece of charcoal or baking soda inside to absorb odors. An open box of baking soda can help draw in stale air. Refresh it monthly.

Cedar Chips

Put a layer of cedar chips or cedar balls in the bottom of storage containers before adding pillows. Cedar releases aromatic oils that naturally repel moths and other insects to protect pillows.

Avoid Direct Heat

Do not store pillows near any direct heat sources. Heat dries out pillow fibers more quickly and causes them to become brittle. Avoid placing pillow storage areas next to appliances like hot water heaters.

Vacuum Storage Space

Before placing pillows into their storage space, first vacuum the shelves, chest or closet to remove dust and allergens. A quick pass with the hose nozzle eliminates particles that could otherwise be drawn into pillows.

Clean Out Before Storing

Don’t put pillows straight into storage after use. First shake them outdoors or use a vacuum hose with an upholstery brush to remove dust, hair and skin flakes that accumulate in pillowcases.


Caring for your pillows with proper storage extends their lifespan so you can enjoy restful sleep without needing to frequently purchase new ones. Using breathable containers in clean, dry spaces preserves your pillow’s fluffiness. Proper washing, air circulation and sunlight keep pillows fresh and hygienic for a great night’s sleep. Implementing two or three of these handy tips will make a big difference in pillow quality so you wake up each morning feeling refreshed.

Frequently Asked Questions About Storing Pillows

How often should you replace pillows?

It’s best to replace pillows every 1-2 years. Even with proper care, pillows lose their support and comfort over time. Plan to purchase new pillows about every 12-24 months for optimal sleep.

Can you store pillows in vacuum bags?

Vacuum storage bags are not recommended for long term pillow storage because they trap moisture and prevent airflow. However, they can be used for short term storage like freezing pillows overnight to kill dust mites.

Where is the best place to store pillows?

The best places to store pillows are in breathable containers on shelves, in wardrobes, chests or under beds. Choose clean, dry areas without humidity or direct heat. Avoid plastic containers or bags.

How do you keep pillows fresh?

To keep pillows fresh, use cotton pillowcases and wash regularly. Let pillows air out outside the cases often. Store them in breathable linens in clean, dry spaces. Freeze or sun them periodically to kill bacteria. Replace old pillows.

Can you store pillows in plastic bins?

It’s best not to use solid plastic bins for pillow storage. The lack of airflow causes moisture buildup that encourages mold and mildew. Use cloth bins or wicker baskets instead. If using plastic, make sure the lid or sides have ventilation holes.

How do you sanitize pillows?

To sanitize pillows, wash them in hot 140°F water with a sanitizing agent like vinegar or tea tree oil. Baking soda or charcoal in the wash helps deodorize. Also freeze or sun pillows to kill bacteria and dust mites. Replace old pillows regularly.


Proper storage is an essential part of keeping your pillows fresh, clean and supportive for restful sleep. Take steps to allow airflow, control humidity and keep storage spaces dust-free. Refresh pillows periodically in the sun or freezer. Finally, launder pillows and pillowcases regularly in hot water for sanitation. With the right storage methods, your pillows will provide comfort and support for years of sweet dreams.