How to Fluff a Pillow

5 Min Read | By Sophia Rimmer

Last Modified 1 June 2023   First Added 2 June 2021

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

Fluffing a pillow may seem like a meaningless task to some, but it’s important if you want to improve the overall look of your dressed bed, as well as getting the most amount of comfort from your pillow. Here we’ll go through some simple ways to fluff a pillow to add that finishing, and comfortable, touch to your bed:

1. Fluffing a pillow by hand

Fluffing a pillow by hand is a simple and easy method. However, there are certain pillows that respond best to it. For example, hand fluffing works well on pillows that contain fibres or pieces rather than a solid filling. These include: down and feather pillows, hollow-fibre pillows, and shredded memory foam. Here’s how to fluff a pillow by hand…

Grab the ends of the pillow in each hand

Push the ends of the pillow in and out like an accordion to distribute the fillings.

Give the pillow a thump*

Hit along both sides of the pillow with your fists. Feather pillows are easier to fluff since they have the lightest material. For feather pillows hitting lightly should do the trick. You can also try whacking it against a hard surface such as the bed to help even out the fillings.

Squeeze, shake and slap the pillow*

Hold the pillow at the tip and squeeze it up and down the entire length. Do this around 5 times then shake it out. Put it on the bed and slap it with your hand flat.

*No pillows were harmed in the demonstrations depicted in this article!

Photo by Sana Saidi on Unsplash

2. Fluffing a pillow in the tumble dryer

This method is less strenuous on the arms. If you have a tumble dryer and a tennis ball to hand, try this out…

Put your pillow in the dryer with a tennis ball

First, check your pillow’s care label to see if it’s safe to tumble dry. If it is, set the dryer to a low heat and put both the pillow and tennis ball inside. If the tennis ball is a little dirty, you could place it inside a sock and tie a knot at the end. Turn the dryer on for around 20 minutes to give the pillow a good tumble against the tennis ball – this will help evenly distribute the fillings and bring some bounce back.

3. Fluff your pillow outside

If it’s a nice day, make the most of it by using the sun to give life to your pillow.

Give it some fresh air

Pillows often lose their volume because of the moisture build-up from sweat. The sun helps to dry them out and increase fluffiness. The fresh airflow in and around the pillow’s fibres helps to remove odours too. Leave it outside for a few hours in direct sunlight to help bring it back to life.


Why should I fluff my pillow?

Having a good quality pillow is just as important as having a supportive and comfortable mattress – it has a direct impact on the quality of your sleep. When you sleep on a pillow that’s at the correct height and has ample firmness for your sleeping position, it’ll help to relieve any pressure points and keep your neck and spine aligned. This decreases the chance of you waking up with any stiffness, aches or pains.

Over time, the filling in your pillow can become flattened or compressed. If you don’t fluff your pillow, you could start to experience neck and spinal misalignment.

In this video we explain three ways to fluff a pillow, so it stays comfy, lasts longer and looks great on your bed. Find out how to fluff your pillow by hand, in the tumble dryer or by putting it on a clothes rack or washing line outside.

Should I wash my pillow?

Most pillows are machine washable but it’s always best to check the care label first. For example, some down and feather pillows are not machine washable. Some pillows just have machine washable covers such as certain memory foam designs.

Knowing when to replace a pillow

While most pillows can be restored by fluffing, pillows only have a certain lifespan before they need replacing. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend replacing your pillows at least every 2 years. Some styles need replacing more often than others. For example, synthetic fibre pillows tend to have a shorter lifespan than natural fibres like down and feather pillows.

A sign your pillow needs replacing is that if you’ve repeatedly fluffed and aired it out and the filling is remaining flat, it’s probably time to get a new one.

For more information on pillows, check out our Pillow Buying Guide. You can also watch the podcast below with Dr Pixie McKenna and physiotherapist Sammy Margo. They discuss the pros and cons of memory foam, feather and down, plus microfibre-filled pillows, and how often you should replace them.

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