How to Recycle Pillows – 12 Simple Ways to Get Rid of Old Pillows

a couple of old pillows

The average lifespan of pillows is approximately 18 months after which you need to replace them. Often, we focus on buying the best pillow for our needs which is a good thing. But have you ever wondered what happens to the old pillows?

Well, many consumers buy a set of pillows at the same time. This is especially true for those of us who live in large houses with multiple rooms. This essentially means all our pillows usually require replacing around the same time.

If you’re thinking of or have already ordered a new set of pillows, it is incumbent upon you to figure out how to get rid of the old ones in an environmentally safe manner.

How to Recycle Pillows?

There are various ways to recycle old mattresses, duvets, and other bedroom accessories.

To give an example, old pillows are recyclable by donating them to homeless shelters and manufacturers of pet beds. They can also come in handy as garden cushions and protecting fragile items from breaking during transportation.

As long as you get creative enough, there are multiple ways of disposing your old pillows to good use instead of leaving them in a dumpster. Read on to learn about more tips on how to recycle pillows. 

12 Best Ways to Recycle Old Pillows 

If you’ve been throwing your old pillows into a dumpster immediately they wear out, it is time to put them to good use. Sure, they may have flattened beyond your comfort over time. But, why throw them away when they can be re-purposed for other important activities.

Shall we delve into the top 12 ways of recycling old pillows?

1. Donate your Old Pillows to Charities

One of the best ways to recycle old pillows is to hand them over free of charge to those who need them more. Homeless shelters and charities such as Goodwill usually accept these pillows for onward donations to the less fortunate in society.

In most cases, Goodwill will direct you to the nearest assembly point or may arrange pickup from your residence.

Additionally, the majority of animal shelters have an everlasting need for old pillows. These pillows can be used to create bedding for homeless animals to enjoy some comfort in their crates.

Have you read the article we wrote on how to successfully donate old mattresses and pillows? Click here to see the top charities that accept these donations as well as those that do not.

2. Increase the Firmness in Newer Pillows

Even the firmest pillows flatten over time. That is an inescapable truth we’ve all come to accept regardless of the so-called “zero-flatness” claims by some manufacturers.

Often, we’re forced to shop for new pillows when the old ones flatten to the point of discomfort. But have you ever thought about taking the stuffing from one pillow and fusing it into another?

This can be a great way to increase the firmness of fairly new pillows that are not yet ripe for recycling. Adopting this formula could save you a lot of money in the long run.

You can also combine the stuffing from 2 extra flat pillows into a single firm pillow that provides enough support for your neck, shoulders, and spine at bedtime.

Watch this video to learn how to make a new pillow out of a old one.

3. Protect Fragile Stuff with Pillows While Moving

moving truck on the road

Are you always on the move? Or do you currently live in temporary accommodations? If yes, your old pillows can be valuable whenever you decide to move.

Remember, items such as ceramics and glass can be very delicate to transport due to their brittle nature. The good news is that your old pillows can serve as a buffer for those delicate personal effects during transit. This can ensure safe arrival at your location with each item in one-piece.

The cushioning from old pillows can also protect items that are susceptible to scratching. For instance, old pillows can protect bicycles from scratching during transportation to another location.

These pillows can also keep furniture in mint conditions when hauling your possessions into a new home. With this cushioning in place, you can boldly pack valuable furniture against items that can cause scratching.

4. Outdoor Knee Pads

Are you an avid gardener who likes spending time planting, pruning, and removing weeds? If yes, your old pillows can save your knees.

Kneeling directly on the hard ground can put a lot of pressure on the knee caps leading to significant pain and discomfort over time. Many gardeners get around this by investing in knee pads for cushioning. Instead of spending extra money on these pads, your old pillows can serve the same purpose! 

These old-pillows-turned knee pads can also be used in a variety of yard work that involves kneeling. They can even be an option when washing the tires and other areas of your car that require staying on the knees. 

5. DIY Pillow Lounger

Do you like to relax or have a bit of fun while lying down on the floor with optimum pillow support? Pillow loungers can be your best bet. The only drawback is that they can set you back up to $200 for a really good model.

Well, your old pillows can serve as a great DIY pillow lounger. As long as you have a few of these old pillows, making a comfortable lounger out of them without spending a dime shouldn’t be a problem.

If you have kids at home, they’ll relish the chance to play on your DIY pillow lounger all day.

6. Make a Pet Bed out of Old Pillows

Your furry friends deserve all the comfort they can get at night. While sharing a bed can be fun and all, experts recommend that your beloved dogs get their beds.

However, pet beds can be expensive, especially the models that come with fancy comfort features. But did you know that old pillows can make super comfy beds for your pets? I bet you didn’t. 

Fortunately, you can make a full-blown bed for cats and dogs of all sizes as long as you have a good number of old pillows. Note that pet beds made from old pillows can provide long-lasting performance which can translate to some smart savings in the long run.

If you’d rather shell out on a ready-made dog bed, I personally recommend the Best Friends Calming Shag Vegan Donut Cuddler from Amazon. It has transformed my pooch’s sleep quality and I’m sure yours will love it too. Seriously, you should check it out.

Have you read the article we wrote on why you should share a bed with your pet? Click here to discover the mutual benefits available as well as possible drawbacks of the practice.

7. Fix Chimney Draft Problems

storey building with a chimney

Tired of those chilly drafts escaping into your house during winter? Your old pillows can be all you need to sort out the problem once and for all.

The first step is to place your pillows in a trash bag, seal, and throw it down your chimney. With the chimney drafts no longer getting into your home, the old pillows can keep the whole family warm especially during winter when temperatures tumble.

This can save you from flu and other viruses that spread easily through cold temperatures. Surely, those days of chimney drafts coming through your house can be in the past.

8. Commercial Recycling 

Did you know that worn-out pillows can be recycled commercially? If your pillow has lots of indentations or looks beaten to the point where homeless shelters and other charities will not accept them, it may be time to think about commercial recycling.

A quick Google search can help you discover any textile recycling facilities in proximity. Once you discover a few, compile a list and contact each one separately until you find one willing to accept old pillows.

You can then arrange transportation of the pillows to the facility in question. But what exactly happens to the old pillows at those facilities? Well, they’re typically stripped of any covers. Then the fibers are recycled into carpets, floor rugs, and insulation material.

Keep in mind that the majority of textile recycling facilities reject pillows that show signs of dampness from water, grease, or oil.

9. Compost

Are you looking to recycle old pillows that feature down or feather material? Dumping them into a compost bin can be a great option. However, if you decide to go down that route, make sure to remove all pillow encasements and covers.

Once in a compost bin, the pillow material will slowly break down over a period. The resultant compost can ultimately be used to enrich the soil in your garden and reduce the need for inorganic fertilizers.

This can help you save money while serving as an environmentally-friendly way of preserving the soil.

10. Vet Clinics and Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers

If you’re struggling to get rid of your old pillows, it is time to get creative. Many wildlife rehabilitation centers and even veterinary clinics have a continuous need for pillows no longer in use.

If you have additional stuff such as comforters and bedding, be sure to ask the organization in question whether they’re willing to accept them. This can be a smart way to not only do some good for animals in need but free up space in your home as well.

11. Car Washing Sponge

The cost of washing your car can add up quickly. Frequent DIY car washes can save you a considerable amount of money over time. If you have old foam pillows, they can serve as sponges for cleaning all the nooks and crannies of your car.

A single pillow contains several layers of cut foam that can be used for washing your car for months. If you’re a college student or employee on a tight budget, you just found a valuable way to drive a clean car without paying top dollar to car wash joints.

12. Dumpster

green and brown dustbins in front of homes

Have you tried any of the above methods of pillow recycling without much success? Your last resort is disposing the pillows into a dumpster. 

While this is not our favorite tip, we recognize that you’ll still want to get rid of the pillows from your home at some point. So go ahead and throw them into a dumpster. 


It is no secret that pillows have a short lifespan meaning you have to change them frequently. However, finding a responsible way to dispose of them can be a challenge particularly for those living in major cities.

Fortunately, we’ve disclosed 12 tried-and-tested ways to recycle your old pillows effectively. As long as you follow them, any headaches associated with disposing of worn-out pillows should be eradicated.


Gabriel Smith

Hello, my name is Gabriel and I LOVE to sleep. Okay, you’re right, a lot of people do like sleep. But my passion is actually not sleeping. My interest lies in the “theoretical part”. What to do before bedtime. What a good night’s sleep is. etc. In short, how to sleep well. I hope you share the same interest as me, and enjoy reading everything about sleep.

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