Have a Bunch of Old Pillows? Here Are 7 Things You Can Do With Them

Give your old pillows new life with these ideas.

<p>Fresh Splash/Getty Images</p>

Fresh Splash/Getty Images

When your neck starts to feel chronically sore in the mornings thanks to a flat pillow, it might be time to replace it with a fresh, new one. (On average, you should be doing this about every two years.) But what do you do with the old pillow? It’s generally not advised to throw pillows in the garbage, because the materials in most of them are not biodegradable, so they’ll sit in landfills for well past our lifetimes. Here, we give seven suggestions for what you can do with those old pillows.

Related: The 10 Best Pillows of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

Recycle or Compost Pillows

Like we mentioned, you really shouldn’t dispose of pillows in the regular trash. Recycling them is ideal if you truly can’t repurpose them, but you also shouldn’t put them in your recycling bins at home either. (Local facilities are not equipped to handle textiles.)

There are a few recycling services available that may take your old cushions—you can try the Earth911 Recycling Search or the American Textile Recycling Service, which has thousands of recycling bins across the country. There’s also TerraCycle, which sends you a box that you can then place your pillow in and send back so they can properly recycle it.

Alternatively, you can compost your pillows instead, if the filling is made of plant-based foams (like natural rubber latex or feathers) and/or if the pillow fabric is made of a natural fiber like organic cotton. Research your pillow materials before proceeding, but you’ll almost certainly need to remove the zippers and tags.

Related: These Composting Mistakes Are Blocking Your Good, Green Efforts

Donate Pillows

Donating pillows isn’t as simple as you might think, unfortunately, but with enough digging, you might be able to find a charity that will accept them. Many donation centers (like Goodwill or Salvation Army) will not take them for sanitary reasons, but you can call non-profits like homeless shelters and animal shelters, which may take your pillows if they’re in decent condition. Of course, before doing this, you should wash your pillow thoroughly.

Give Them Away for Free

If you can’t find anywhere to donate them, try just giving them away on a platform like Facebook Marketplace or a Buy Nothing Group. You’d be surprised what people will take off your hands if it’s free!

Turn Your Pillow Into a Pet Bed

If you’ve got furry family members, they can inherit your old pillow. One of the bright sides of this is the pillow will already have the scents your pet is familiar with so in theory, Fido should have no trouble warming up to it.

Related: Should You Let Your Pet Sleep in the Bed With You? Experts Weigh In

Make a Door Draft Stopper

A clever use of your old pillow is to transform it into a door stopper that prevents drafts. Just take some of the stuffing and fill a long sock with it. You might need to stuff two or three long socks, and if you’re extra ambitious, you can sew them together.

Use it as Packing and Moving Material

If you’ve got the space to hold onto your pillows in storage, do so and bust them out when you’re in search of stuffing materials if you’re shipping something fragile or packing for your next move. (If you like this idea but are tight on space, keep them in a vacuum-sealed bag and stash them under your bed.)

Re-Stuff Other Pillows

Another option is to use the fill from your bed pillow to fluff up lumpy throw pillows. (You could do this with your other bed pillows, though this could potentially mess with your comfort levels while you sleep.)

Related: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Get Rid of Anything

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