How to Fluff a Pillow: 3 Strategies That Work

If your pillow is made of materials such as down or shredded foam, periodic fluffing may be required to reintroduce air into the filling and ensure comfortable sleep. You can fluff a pillow by hand or even hang it outdoors to air out. If fluffing by hand doesn’t work, placing it in a dryer with a tennis ball or a piece of clothing rolled into a ball can help break up any lumps and help air flow into the pillow. A good pillow can last a few years, but it may be time for a new one if it’s flat despite fluffing.

Have you purchased a new pillow, had a couple of blissful months of pain-free quality sleep, and now your neck pain is back again? Or maybe its general feel and firmness level have changed? Are you worried you just wasted your money on a faulty product? Not so fast. Most quality pillows should last you for a couple of years at least. If your relatively new pillow has lost its shape, it might just need some re-fluffing.

It may sound like one of those unnecessary activities you used to watch your grandma do on lazy weekend mornings, but fluffing a pillow can really make a big difference, especially if you do it right.

Any pillow whose filling is made up of pieces (e.g., down, down alternative fibers, or shredded foam) as opposed to one chunk of material (e.g., a one-piece memory foam or latex pillow) can benefit from periodic fluffing. This simple process reintroduces air into the pillow filling, which can help you experience more comfortable sleep and a happier neck in the morning.

If you’re wondering just how to fluff a pillow, read on. There are several ways to do it.

How to fluff a pillow by hand

The simplest way to fluff a pillow is by hand, following a few simple steps.

  1. ​Grab the pillow on both sides, hold it in the air, and quickly compress and decompress it. Do this several more times, continuing for about 30 seconds.
  2. ​Rotate the pillow 90 degrees, grabbing it now on the longer sides, and repeat this process for 30 more seconds to evenly redistribute the fluff.
  3. Put your pillow down and simply knead it a little bit as if it were a ball of dough. This will help break up any lumps and introduce more air into the filling.

How to fluff a pillow in the dryer

If you’ve tried fluffing your pillow by hand but the fluffiness doesn’t last, then you might want to try the dryer. First, check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure that your pillow can be put in the dryer. Then, follow these steps.

  1. Toss the pillow in the dryer and throw a tennis ball inside a tube sock along with it. The tennis ball will pound against the pillow, helping break up any lumps and helping it get more airflow. If you don’t have a tennis ball, you can just use a piece of clothing rolled into a ball and stuffed into a tube sock, a stuffed animal, or virtually anything that’s the same size as a tennis ball.
  2. In most cases, you’ll have to use a low temperature to avoid damaging the filling. Also, you might not need a full dryer cycle to fluff the pillow.
  3. You might have to repeat this process several times to see the results.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to wash the pillow first to be able to use the dryer method. In fact, it’s better not to. If your pillow is damp when you put it in the dryer, this process may just compress the filling more.

How to fluff a pillow in the fresh air

Believe it or not, leaving your pillow outside for a few hours can help reintroduce some air into the filling, potentially making it fluffier. Plus, this can also help eliminate any accumulated odors. This method is most effective if used in addition to or after the other fluffing methods. Here’s how to do it.

  1. ​Simply hang your pillow from the clothesline (check the forecast first to make sure it’s not going to rain!) or place it on a clean surface and leave it outside for a few hours.
  2. ​Enjoy the fresh scent of nature the next time you go to sleep on it!

Fluffing a pillow: why you should do it

A pillow that’s used every day flattens over time simply because you’re putting repeated pressure on it for (hopefully at least) seven hours straight, eventually pressing all the air out of it.

A flattened pillow isn’t great at supporting your head and the natural curvature of your neck—and without proper support, you may wake up with neck pain.

In fact, there are several telltale signs your pillow desperately needs fluffing. If you wake up with neck or shoulder pain every morning (when you didn’t use to), or if your arms and hands fall “asleep” during the night, that could mean your spine is out of alignment, your head droops too much, and/or the blood flow to your arms and hands is restricted.

Or perhaps you’re simply not as comfortable as you used to be and have started stacking several pillows to compensate for the discomfort. If any of these ring the bell, try fluffing your pillow. Chances are it’ll return to its original shape and you’ll start waking up pain-free again.

Time for a new pillow? Check out what Saatva offers

Latex Pillow

A core of shredded natural latex, wrapped in a breathable organic cotton cover. Plush and responsive for the perfect head and neck support.

Down Alternative Pillow

Made from two types of hypoallergenic down alternative fibers, wrapped in 100% organic cotton. Soft, plush, and breathable for cool, comfortable sleep.


How do I make my pillows fluffy again?

The simplest way to fluff your pillow is by hand. Compress and decompress the pillow a few times or knead it like dough. If this doesn’t make it fluffy again, you can also toss it in the dryer with a tennis ball.

Can you fluff pillows in the dryer?

Yes, if the care instructions allow it, you can fluff your pillow in the dryer. Simply toss it in there along with a tennis ball wrapped in a tube sock and tumble dry at low temperature.

Find the best pillow at Saatva

Maybe you’ve tried everything to re-fluff your pillow but it’s still flat. In that case, it may be time for a new one. Remember, a good pillow can last you a few years—but it won’t last you forever.

Saatva offers a wide range of pillows to suit every sleep style. From

saatva latex pillow
Latex Pillow

Hotel-quality comfort with responsive & ultra-breathable support


memory foam
saatva cloud memory foam pillow
Graphite Memory Foam Pillow

Cooling comfort and contouring support ideal for side sleepers


down alternative pillows
saatva down alternative pillow
Down Alternative Pillow

Hypoallergenic with a plush and airy feel that’s perfect for cuddling

, all of our options are made with high-quality materials and offer excellent head and neck support for comfortable sleep.

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