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What To Do With Old Pillows: List of Options

what to do with old pillows

Table of Contents

For old pillows, consider recycling, donating, or repurposing them to avoid landfill waste. Options for recycling include using them for pet beds or packing material. Check local recycling guidelines or consult services like Earth911 for disposal. 

Continue reading to explore what to do with old pillows.

Eco-Friendly Disposal Options for Old Pillows

Recycling pillows can be tricky, as most curbside programs don’t accept them. However, different types of pillows have various recycling options. For instance, pillows filled with cotton, polyester, or memory foam are generally recyclable. The fabric, usually cotton or polyester, can be taken to textile recycling programs. 

You can use services like Earth911 to find local recycling options​​. The American Textile Recycling Service (ATRS) provides drop-off bins for textiles like pillows ​​in select states. Remember, down pillows cannot be recycled, but their feathers can be composted​​.

old pillows for disposal

Local Waste Management Guidelines for Pillow Disposal

Local guidelines vary for pillow disposal. It’s important to check with your municipal waste department for specific regulations. Some areas might have special collection days for bulky items or designated disposal methods. 

If recycling isn’t an option, consider donation or upcycling. For instance, old pillows can be transformed into pet beds, draft stoppers, or used as packing material. 

Professional Services for Eco-Conscious Disposal

If managing disposal yourself seems difficult, professional services offer convenient solutions. Companies like ATRS offer pillow drop-off options and ensure they are disposed of or recycled responsibly​​. 

For larger quantities or bulk items, contacting a local junk removal service like EZ CleanUp for scheduled pickups if you’re in Philly or surrounding areas might be the best thing to do. This ensures your old pillows are disposed of in an eco-friendly manner, in line with local regulations and guidelines.

Creative Reuse Ideas for Old Pillows

Old pillows offer numerous DIY opportunities, which include the following: 

  • Transform them into floor cushions for a unique look in your living space or children’s play area​​. 
  • Create cage cushions for small pets like guinea pigs or hamsters, using the pillow stuffing for a comfortable lining​​. 
  • Old pillows can also be packing material when moving and protect fragile items and furniture​​. 
  • You can also stuff sagging bean bag chairs with an old pillow or create a homemade weighted blanket for sleep comfort​​.

Donation Opportunities for Old Pillows

Donating old pillows is a great way to give back. Animal shelters often accept pillow donations for bedding. It’s important, however, to ensure they are clean before donating​​. 

Additionally, consider contacting local shelters, community centers, and charitable organizations. These places may accept pillows for people in need, though it’s best to inquire about their specific requirements beforehand​​.

Repurposing Pillows in Gardens and Workshops

In gardens, old pillows can be repurposed as knee pads, providing comfort during gardening activities​​. For workshops, you can convert old memory foam pillows into sponges for cleaning cars or other surfaces, as the foam is excellent at absorbing liquids​​. 

Other creative uses include making oven mitts using the thermal-efficient filling​​, crafting draft protectors for windows and doors​​, or even weaving rag rugs from pillow covers for floor cleaning​​.

when to dispose of old pillows

When to Dispose of Old Pillows for Health Reasons

Health experts recommend changing your pillows every one to two years. Prolonged use can turn them into hotbeds for bacteria, dead skin, and sweat. These can lead to health issues, especially if you’re prone to allergies or respiratory problems. Old pillows can also become infested with dust mites, causing itches and rashes and potentially exacerbating asthma or rhinitis​​.

Cleaning and Sanitizing Pillows Before Reuse

Regularly cleaning and sanitizing pillows are essential to maintain hygiene and prolong their lifespan. For down or feather pillows, machine wash with a mild detergent on a gentle cycle and dry with tennis balls or dryer balls to fluff the filling. 

Synthetic fiber pillows can also be machine-washed. Memory foam pillows should be spot-cleaned with a mild detergent and air-dried. If machine washing isn’t an option or you prefer hand washing, ensure thorough rinsing and drying to prevent mold growth and deterioration​​.

Signs Your Old Pillow is No Longer Usable

Key indicators that it’s time to replace your pillow include: 

  • Pillow being flat as a pancake
  • Emitting a bad odor even after washing
  • Causing neck or head pain due to lack of support
  • Having visible stains from body oils or makeup
  • Being lumpy, which affects sleep quality

Additionally, the fold test (if the pillow doesn’t spring back to shape when folded) is a quick way to check if your pillow has lost its efficacy​​​​​​.

Assessing the Condition of Old Pillows for Reuse vs. Disposal

Before disposing of your old pillows, consider if they can still be used. Repair any rips or tears and wash them if they are machine washable. You can add firmness to a sagging pillow by using a smaller pillowcase, redistributing the filling, or refilling and resewing the cover. 

If your pillow has lost too much loft and is not easily adjustable, it may be better to repurpose or recycle it rather than continue using it for sleep​​.

proper disposal of old pillows

Guidelines for Eco-Friendly Pillow Disposal

Recycling options for pillows depend on their composition. Pillows made of synthetic materials and toxic chemicals are challenging to recycle due to the combination of different materials. On the other hand, natural, organic pillows are easier to recycle or compost. You can donate natural pillows to local artists or craftspeople for their projects. 

Remember to clean the pillow according to care instructions before recycling. Contact your local environment department, environmental charities, or the pillow’s manufacturer to find recycling options in your area. Companies like TerraCycle offer specific recycling services for pillows​​.

Tips for Junk Owners and DIY Enthusiasts

When deciding whether to keep or discard a pillow, consider its potential for reuse. Upcycling and repurposing are viable options if the pillow is still in good condition. For those purchasing new pillows, consider the material and its recyclability. 

Avoid pillows made of polyfoam, polyester, and semi-synthetic textiles like bamboo and eucalyptus, as they are harder to recycle. Instead, choose materials that are easier to recycle or biodegrade. Additionally, using a pillow protector can extend the life of your new pillow, reducing the need for frequent replacements and contributing to waste reduction​​​​.

old pillow and other junk

The Common Challenges with Old Pillows

Pillows, crucial for our sleep comfort, eventually wear out. They lose shape, become lumpy, and less supportive over time. Identifying when to replace them is important. 

Disposing of old pillows isn’t as simple as tossing them in the trash. Many are made from polyester fibers treated with flame retardants, not biodegradable or sustainable. Toxins from these materials can harm the environment if they leach into soil and waterways​​. 

Hence, eco-friendly disposal is crucial. It’s about making choices that don’t add to landfills and are gentle on the environment. Whether recycling, donating, or repurposing, every effort counts towards a more sustainable planet.

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EZ CleanUp: Your Go-To for Responsible Junk Disposal and More

Deciding what to do with old pillows can be a hassle, but EZ CleanUp makes it easy and eco-friendly. Based in Philadelphia, we’re not just another junk removal service; we’re your local ally in decluttering with a conscience. 

Our services are perfect for those in the midst of a major cleanout, whether it’s kitchenware like pots and pans, a book collection, old mattresses, or old pillows. With our budget-friendly rates and commitment to environmental protection, every item we haul away is assessed for recycling or donation.

We understand that speed is of the essence when it’s time to declutter. Our experienced professionals promptly handle all types of junk and ensure a swift and safe clearing-out. Plus, we offer a unique pricing model where we credit you back for any resale or recycling value recovered from your items. Flexibility is key in our service; we cater to your schedule with same-day options to swiftly clear your space. 

Beyond junk hauling, we also offer comprehensive services like dumpster rentals, demolition, and paying cash for junk cars

Choose EZ CleanUp for a hassle-free, environmentally responsible solution to declutter your space. Contact us today for a free on-site estimate and experience the difference in professional junk removal.

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