Freshly fluffed pillows and throw pillows on a bed

The Low-Down on How to Fluff Pillows and When to Skip the Chop

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Ever struggled to fall asleep because your pillow felt like a brick? Or maybe you woke up with a stiff neck because it wasn’t supported? Fluffing your pillow can solve both problems. 

I’ve found that fluffing pillows weekly at the end of my bedroom cleaning routine helps them last longer. Considering how much good ones cost these days, I’m all in favor of that! (But heads up: giving your pillow a chop after fluffing it can have the opposite effect sometimes.)

So, read on for three ways to fluff pillows and my tips to pick the right method for the type of pillows you have. Plus, let’s talk about that trendy pillow chop and when to skip it. 

Fluffing Pillows by Hand

The easiest way to fluff a pillow is by holding an end in each hand then pushing your hands together and pulling them apart a few times like you’re playing an accordion. Next, grab a side and give the pillow a good shake, flip it over and repeat.

This is my go-to method and an easy way to break up clumps, redistribute the filling and plump the pillow fatter than a Kardashian’s lips.

Fluffing Pillows in the Dryer

Another easy way to fluff pillows is by sending them through the dryer. Add two at a time and run a low-heat setting or the fluff cycle for 15 minutes. Chuck some tennis balls in with your pillows and they’ll break up lumps and fluff up the fibers as they bounce around. 

This method helps dry hidden moisture and shakes out hair and dead skin cells that attract dust mites. If you’ve got dandruff or psoriasis like I do, you’ll love how this freshens your pillow while pumping it, too.

Pro Tip

Need to borrow the tennis balls from your dog? Give them a quick rinse then slip them into socks first.

Fluffing Pillows Outdoors

Sunlight and fresh air can do wonders for all of your bedding but especially your pillows. Afterwards, they smell amazing, too!

So, set your pillow in a spot with good air circulation but out of direct sunlight. Every hour or so, turn it over so both sides have a chance to air out. Then give it a few shakes before you bring it inside. 

If you have allergies like I do, avoid airing out your pillow on high pollen count days. I go over the pillow with a lint roller or use my vacuum’s dust brush attachment after airing them out sometimes, too.

Pro Tip

While you’re airing out your pillows is a great time to tread your grimy pillowcases, too. 

How Often Do Pillows Need Fluffing?

A quick shake as you’re making the bed can help your pillows maintain their shape. Then once a week when you’re changing sheets, give your pillows a more thorough fluffing either by hand, in the dryer, or outdoors — depending on their type.

Which Method Is Right for Your Pillow?

The best way to fluff your pillow depends on what’s inside it. If you aren’t sure, check the care instructions.

• Feather and down-alternative pillows do best with hand fluffing. These pillows can make an awful mess in the dryer if their covering is torn or snagged, and sunlight can damage them, too.

• Cotton or polyester fiber fill pillows can handle all three methods. I switch it up by doing a different method each week because that’s the kind of wild and crazy life I lead.

• Buckwheat or rice-filled pillows just need a gentle shake to redistribute the contents. You can air them outside as needed to get rid of odors and keep them dry, but make sure they’re not in direct sunlight.

• Memory foam and latex pillows can’t handle traditional fluffing. Keep these pillow fresh with the outdoor airing method but make sure they’re not in direct sunlight since UV rays and excessive heat can damage them.

Should You Chop Pillows?

Chopping pillows is a popular trend right now, but it’s not just about aesthetics. Chopping helps break up lumps in the pillow filling, so it’s evenly distributed.

To chop a pillow, you stand it on one edge and push the center down or whack it with the side of your hand to create a V.

Pro Tip

Not all pillows benefit from chopping. Skip this extra touch with memory foam, latex, and contour pillows that might lose their intended shape.

What if Your Pillow Stays Flat?

If your pillow is still flat or lumpy after fluffing, it’s time for a new one. Another way to check if your pillow’s due for replacement is with the bounce-back test: fold your pillow in half, press down on it for 30 seconds and let go.

If it bounces back to shape, it’s still got life in it. Pillows that stay folded or are slow to bounce back have reached the end of their time.

So, now that you know how to fluff your pillows, let’s talk about how to wash them!

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