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How to Fluff a Pillow (Dryer or by Hand)

There’s nothing quite like sleeping on a brand-new pillow. So fluffy and comfy, just waiting to keep your body well-aligned and alleviate pressure points for a good night’s sleep, you so deserve. Using a cushion of the right firmness and loft beneath your head, between your legs, or even the arms can significantly impact your sleep quality. Whether it’s your long-time favorite or a new purchase, sleeping with a fluffy pillow is an excellent way of optimizing the comfort of your sleep environment for better rest all night long.

While most pillows are designed to offer maximum comfort, they rarely maintain their form for long. Due to the pressure your head exerts on the pad, it may flatten out or even become lumpy, thus making it less effective. Fortunately, there are simple DIY tricks that you can use to bring your pillow back to life.

In this article, we’ll show you how to fluff a pillow to enable you to continue enjoying the best sleep experience possible. We’ll also discuss some red flags that indicate it’s time to replace your pillow.

When Do You Need to Fluff Your Pillow?

Whenever your pillows start flattening or getting compressed, it’s usually a sign that they need fluffing. A flat pillow lacks the required loft and firmness to release pressure from your body. So, you need to always keep your pillows fluffy for better sleep results.

Essentially, it’s wise to fluff pillows daily to enhance your comfort during sleep and increase your pillow’s lifespan. And if you do it with your hands, it shouldn’t take you more than two minutes to get it back in shape.

How to Fluff a Pillow

Generally, there are 3 easy steps you can take to fluff a pillow at home. They include:

  • Hand fluffing
  • Tumble drying
  • Air drying

The best way to fluff pillows varies greatly depending on the type of pillow an individual has. That’s why it’s crucial to keep your pillow’s filling material in mind as you set off to get the best fluff.

For instance, if you have down pillows, you can fluff them by gently shaking them and striking them with your hands to disperse the filling evenly. You can apply the same approach with a fiber fill pillow. Gel and memory foam pillows, on the other hand, rarely need fluffing as they maintain their shape and hold up pretty well over time.

Let’s dig deeper into the 3 simple ways of fluffing a pillow at home.

Fluffing Pillows by Hand

When it comes to fluffing your pillow, one of the most accessible tools you can use is your two hands. Start by putting the pillow on your lap, and then push the ends of the cushion in and out. For the best results, act as if you’re playing a squeeze box, but much faster. Do this for a few seconds (about 30 seconds) to break up any pieces inside your pillow, allowing air to come through and increase the pillow’s loft.

You can then use your hand to reshape your pillow to fit into your pillow case and sit correctly on your bed. With a fluffed-up pad, the overall look of your sleep setup significantly improves. It will be more comfortable to sleep on a fluffy pillow, which enhances better sleep.

However, it’s worth noting that feather and down are common allergies, especially in people with lung conditions and asthma. So, ensure you’re not allergic to them before fluffing up feather pillows, let alone sleeping on them.

After pushing the pillow in and out repeatedly, you can also try hitting the sides simultaneously to help expand the fill. Take your pillow, lay it onto your bed, and punch it until you start to feel it swell up.

Squeezing the pillow can help as well. Hold it at the center and then quickly press it around 5 times before letting go. Now, shake it vigorously and put it back on your bed, and then whack in on it on every side.

Massage Your Pillow

Once you’re done pushing, hitting, and pressing the pillow, massage it to break up lumpy pieces. This enables the fill to spread out evenly. This procedure is beneficial, especially if you find your cushion has significant lumps in it that need to break apart.

First, you’ll have to locate the big chunks inside the pillow. Then, work your hands into it thoroughly to break the pieces up, allowing them to re-distribute inside your cushion. This should increase the loft and height of your pillow, not to mention, improve its overall feel.

Fluffing Your Pillow Using a Dryer

For most homeowners, their time and energy are limited, so they’d rather use a different technique altogether. If you fall in this category, you can sit back, relax, and let your dryer do the entire task for you. But before you toss your pillow in the dryer, make sure you go through the care instructions on it. Most manufacturers recommend placing dryer-safer cushions on a low heat setting. Otherwise, if you set your dryer at a medium or high heat level, you may end up destroying its material.

To fluff a pillow in a dryer, you can:

Use a Tennis Ball

For better results, it’s always wise to throw your pillow in the dryer with another item to help knead it while it’s in there. Here, having tennis balls in the house may come in handy as they’re hard enough to pound your pillows and help break apart clumped-up fills. That said, simply put your tennis ball inside a tube sock, tie your stocking at the end, and toss it into the dryer with the pillows. As the sock gets thrown around, it breaks up the matted pieces, thus intensifying the impact of fluffing. Within minutes, your pillow should be fluffed and ready for use. For cotton fill pillows, use an air setting and put them in the dryer for about 20 minutes.

Fluff it Without Tennis Balls

If you don’t have dryer balls in your home, you can roll anything into a ball and use it instead. Here, shirts rolled into balls or clean flip flops should do the trick. You can also use a stuffed toy to help increase fluffiness by kneading the pillow and breaking apart the clumped-up pieces.

Note that, whatever item you use, make sure it’s dryer-safe before tossing it into the dryer. Generally, drying your pillow for about 15 minutes every week should be sufficient to keep it fluffy.

Fluffing Your Pillow Outside in Fresh Air

Another effective technique to consider is giving your cushion some much-needed fresh air. This is especially beneficial when you first receive a new compressed pillow with an off-gassing odor. Plus, this tactic is perfect for ridding your headrest of bacteria and foul smell.

However, you can only apply this method during dry and sunny weather. Moisture can make your cushions smell bad and look lumpy. That said, in your free time, leave your pillow outside in a sunny spot for several hours (about 2-3 hours).

The outside breeze should help increase fluffiness by promoting separation among the clumped pieces of fill and expanding your old pillows. If you opt for this tactic, you can also decide to wash your pillow before air drying it, depending on its make and model.

Why Should You Fluff Your Flat Pillow?

Sleeping on the right pillow plays a pivotal role in ensuring good sleep health. Using flat pillows can lead to bad posture, and as a result, you may wake up feeling head, neck, back, and even shoulder pain. This can significantly interfere with your sleep quality.

On the other hand, a pillow that has the right height, loft, and overall feel for your preferred sleep position can help you release any pressure on your neck, head, and spine. This improves the quality of your sleep and increases the likelihood that you’ll wake up feeling refreshed every morning.

Knowing When to Replace Your Pillow

Despite your efforts, it’ll reach a time when a simple re-fluff won’t help you refresh your pillow. Generally, the lifespan of pads varies greatly depending on how well you maintain them and how often you use them. This ranges from 2 to 4 years, although some pillows, especially fiber headrests, lose effectiveness after one year. Ideally, it would help if you replaced your pad every 1-2 years primarily to prevent the build-up of dust mites.

Also, if you notice that the interior of your pillow feels bunched together and you can no longer fluff your loose-fill cushion evenly, it may be time to get rid of it. Other tell-tale signs that you should dispose of your old pillow include:

  • Frequent re-fluffing
  • You wake up sneezing
  • The pillow has lumps
  • You wake up with shoulder and neck pain
  • The pillow has a foul smell
  • Permanent stains and discoloration

Remember, old flat pillows are unsupportive, uncomfortable, and bad for your sleep health. That’s why it’s vital to replace them on time.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, fluffing your pillow to prevent it from getting flat, lumpy, and uncomfortable isn’t as hard as you’d thought. However, no amount of fluffing is going to make your headrest last forever. So, as you set out to properly fluff your pillows, be on the lookout for signs that you should get a new one.

We hope that these tips will help you revive and maintain your pillow for the restful sleep you so deserve. How old is your current pillow? Ever tried any of the tips mentioned above before? Let us know in the comments section below!

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