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How to Recycle Your Pillow? 12 things you can do with an old pillow – The Bedding Planet

How to Recycle Your Pillow? 12 things you can do with an old pillow

This post is part of the complete guide for picking the right sleeping pillow

Pillows provide us with so much comfort, and there are so many benefits to their use. It’s too bad we can’t sleep on them forever.

So, what should we do with pillows that are no longer good for sleeping? Most things are recyclable, and pillows aren’t that different. How do we recycle pillows?

Well, read on to find several different ways you can recycle your pillow.

If you are interested in checking out the best rated pillows currently available on the market, you can do so on Amazon here.

How To Recycle Old Pillows

Unfortunately, old pillows are not that easy to get rid of. It’s not that simple to just donate them. Places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill may not accept them for sanitary reasons.

So, what then can you do with all those old pillows? Seems like a lot to just throw them away.

I’m under the belief that everything is recyclable. So below are some great ideas for some good bedfellows. Because let’s be honest — if you didn’t have to buy new pillows, you’d probably prefer to use the old ones.

Here are 12 things you can do to recycle your old pillows:

1. Donate Pillows

While not all places are excited to receive old pillows, there are some places you can still consider reaching out to, like homeless shelters, animal shelters, wildlife rehabilitation centers, or maybe even daycare centers.

It’s best to contact them before making a trip that may prove fruitless.

2. Make Floor Cushions

Do you know what your family night and game nights are missing? Floor cushions. You can have these in no time now that you have old pillows that need to be recycled.

So what if there’s not enough seating? Throw your new DIY floor cushions around on the floor, and you’ve got plenty of seats for everyone.

Making them can be as simple as finding pre-made cushion covers, or you can get your own fabric and sew on your own cover. 

3. Make a Pet Bed

Maybe your pet can use a new bed. If so, you’ve now got one in your old pillow. Turning your old pillow into your pet’s new bed will serve two purposes.

First, it will keep you from having to toss your old pillows. Second, it will give your pet comfort and familiarity, as the pillow probably smells a little like you. At the least, he’ll know his new bed is connected to you.

4. Use as Packing Material

Are you moving any time soon? If you are, you’ll need some assistance with packing. Old pillows make great packing fillers when you’re moving.

Protect those delicate and fragile items, and protect your furniture from scrapes. Old pillows can come in handy this way. Memory foam and latex pillows are even great for cutting down to size to help protect.

5. Make Throw Pillows

Throw pillows are one of the cheapest DIY projects around. No need to buy fancy throw pillows when you have old pillows lying around.

Compress your old pillow fillings and make them into square throws, turn them into travel-size pillows or throw pillows for your sofas and loveseats.

6. Seal Drafts

Airy drafts throughout the house can affect your energy bill. It’s time to clog those drafty spots under doors and in window sills by making your own draft stoppers.

Take a pair of old long socks, fill them with filling from an old pillow, sew it together, and you’ve got your draft stopper. You can also fill an old pillowcase with filling from an old pillow.

You’ve repurposed some items, stopped the draft so the house is warmer, and saved your energy bill.

7. Make a Gardening Cushion

If you do a lot of gardening, it would probably be helpful to have some protection for your knees when you’re working so diligently.

This is a great opportunity to repurpose those old pillows and turn them into knee cushions for when you’re gardening.

You can double up an old pillow in a sturdy pillowcase, or you can make your own cover with outdoor-safe fabric. That’ll make the cushion more durable.

8. Use Down Feathers as Fertilizer

If you have an old pillow stuffed with down feathers, they’re compostable. If you’re a gardener, you have the perfect source for fertilizer.

Place the pillow filling in a compost bin with leaves, used coffee grounds, and vegetable scraps, and in several months you’ll have a nitrogen-high fertilizer to use in the garden.

9. Stuff Another Pillow

If you have a newer pillow that’s not yet ready to be tossed, but could be a little fuller, take advantage of the stuffing you have. Take filling from an old pillow and add it to a newer pillow that just needs to be refreshed. 

10. Insulate Anything

Old pillows are great for insulating parts of your home that could use a little more insulation. For instance, places like your attic, around the bathtub, your hot water tank, and your pipes.

11. Make Your Hamster’s Day

Hamsters make great pets. And they would probably love the filling from an old pillow. Line the hamster’s cage with old pillow filling and refresh as needed when the filling gets soiled.

12. Restuff an Animal

If your child’s stuffed animal or your old stuffed animal is looking a little saggy these days, we know the perfect procedure. Give it a new lease on life with some new, old stuffing.

Take filling from an old pillow and place it inside the stuffed animal by trimming away some stitching. Fill the animal as much as you can and sew it back up. I’m sure this procedure will make everyone feel better.

Related Questions

When do I know it’s time to recycle my pillow?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, pillows should be replaced every one to two years. But it really depends on the type of pillow you have.

Some pillows have a life span of one or two years longer than most. If you’ve had a pillow for at least two years, it’s time to determine if it has any more life in it.

To do that, ask yourself these simple questions: is your pillow comfortable? Do you wake up in pain? Are you having any allergy symptoms? Is your pillow flat? How you respond to these questions may help let you know if it’s time to repurpose your pillow.

How are pillows recycled? 

Not all pillows have the same filling so they must be taken apart so that the different components can be separated. The material is ground up for reprocessing. Some are recycled into insulation, carpet padding, or industrial rags. 

What happens to certain fillers (foam, down, polyester) during recycling?

  • Down filling are clusters of soft fluffy feather fibers from the chest or neck of a goose, duck, or swan. This material can be recycled into pillows or winter clothing. Feather filling is taken from the wing and back of a bird and is flatter and heavier. An air system may be used to separate the down from the less valuable feathers. The feathers may be incinerated, landfilled, or milled and added to cement or concrete for hardening.
  • Foam filling is made of isocyanate and polyol. Both of these components can be recovered and ground into powder and used in materials to absorb oil. But foam is not an easy material to recycle and is most often sent to landfills.
  • Polyester filling may be reused as padding for shipping. When recycled, it’s melted down and made into PET pellets that can be used to make other plastic products. It can even be processed back into oil. But there’s no sure way to tell what will happen with polyester filling. Most often, it ends up at a landfill.

Can I restore, old yellowed pillows?

Absolutely. To do this, you’ll need a washing machine, a cup of powdered laundry detergent, a cup of powdered dishwater detergent, one cup of bleach, and one cup of borax.

Step 1. Boil a large pot of water on your stove and stir in the laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and borax until they dissolve.

Step 2. When they’ve dissolved, pour the water into the washing machine with the bleach. Put the pillows in the washing machine with the water and let them soak for 30 minutes.

Step 3. Flip the pillows about halfway through to ensure they’re fully saturated. After the pillows soak, run them through a full wash cycle in the washing machine. Select the 2nd rinse option, if at all possible.

Step 4. After they are washed, dry them. Down pillows can be put in the dryer on the fluff or air setting. Synthetic pillows can be dried on low heat. Add a couple of tennis balls or homemade dryer balls to the dryer to help fluff the pillows as they dry.

After these four steps are done, you will no longer have yellow pillows.


None of us like the idea of throwing out pillows. Now, you know you don’t have to. Pillows are great for so many things; there’s no reason to throw them out.

Some of them can even be restored. Make sure to purchase new pillows as you need them, and when you do, repurpose your old ones. Hopefully, some of these ideas have been helpful to you.

If you are interested in checking out the best rated pillows currently available on the market, you can do so on Amazon here.

Picking The Right Pillow For Sleep: A complete guide – Parts:

1. Why do we Sleep on Pillows? Here’s what research says
2. Pillow Stuffing Types: Pros and Cons of All Common Materials
3. Do You Need a Soft or Firm Pillow? A physiotherapist weighs in
4. How High Should Your Pillow Be? Ideal height for your sleeping position
5. What is The Healthiest Pillow to Use? Based on science
6. When to Replace Your Pillow? Average lifespan of all pillow types
7. How to Recycle Your Pillow? 12 things you can do with an old pillow
8. How Much Do Pillows Cost? Average price of all pillow types
9. The 9 Best Affordable Pillows For All Sleeping Positions

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas and I'm the author and content operator at The Bedding Planet. I've always had a big interest in bedding and more specifically sleep. If I find something that makes me sleep better, whether that's a lifestyle change or a better bedding environment, I'm ready to share it with the world!

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