Why Do Some Pillows Get Lumpy and How to Fix Them?

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Why do pillows get lumpy

Nothing is more irksome than finding out that your favorite pillow has gone lumpy. Your head resting at awkward angles isn’t a nice feeling. Thankfully, you can revive it. 

With just a few easy at-home tactics like rubs, bulk-washing, tennis balls, and air-drying, anyone can de-clump their lumpy pillows and substantially prolong their life.

Top 4 Reasons Some Pillows Get Lumpy

What causes this problem and why do pillows lump up in the first place? More importantly, how do you get rid of the lumps? Read on to know more.

Pillow’s Age

Pillows become lumpy as they are used. Every night, you rest your head on your pillow, which causes the material inside to shift and adjust to its shape. Eventually, it will get lumpy in some areas as time passes.

Some pillows can maintain their shape for a longer time, but most low-cost pillows will become lumpy over time. Whether or not you have the best-quality bed pillows, lumps will appear somehow or other.

Are your pillow old? Check out where to buy a new one here.

Hard Wash

Finding the right pillow can take a long time. It’s reasonable that you wouldn’t want to fear losing its quality in the wash. 

However, considering the germs, allergens, dust mites, and dead skin cells that accumulate in pillows over time, it’s critical for your wellbeing that you wash them on a routine basis.

However, washing your pillow with another pillow is important to perfectly balance the machine. 

It’s also important to dry the pillows fully in a dryer on low to medium heat. If you have a down pillow, stop the machine every thirty minutes to fluff it gently with both hands.

Read more about how to wash a pillow here

Sweat and Moisture

Moisture can also contribute to pillows becoming lumpy. After all, everyone sweats while sleeping. 

Even if you’re using a pillow cover, the sweat will seep inside your pillow. Moisture might cause your pillow to weigh a little more in some areas over time.

This may affect the stuffing, causing it to shift. You’ll notice more lumpy areas over time, which is partially attributable to moisture absorption. 

Dust Mite Infestation

Dust mite infestations might also contribute to the lumpiness of your pillows. If your pillow attracts dust mites, its weight and size will increase.

Did you know that 10% of the weight of a 2-year-old pillow can be composed of dead mites and their droppings?

Furthermore, dust mites might aggravate allergy symptoms for some individuals. This is why cleaning your pillows regularly is vital. 

Do All Pillows Get Lumpy?

Sooner or later, all pillows become lumpy. The ones that are the most likely to form lumps are stuffed with shredded fibers. 

The normal contour pillow, for example, has a one-piece texture that tends to stay smooth for a longer time. It doesn’t mean that shredded fillings aren’t beneficial. 

Due to wear and tear, memory foam and latex pillows also have high chances of acquiring lumps. The essential differentiator is that foams take far longer to become lumpy than other stuffing, and lumpy foam is impossible to cure. 

Are Cotton Pillows More Prone to Getting Lumpy?

Yes. Cotton pillows are infamous for lumpiness, especially when not properly cared for. Pillow lumps signal that the cotton has degraded. Lying on it will be uncomfortable. 

To prevent headaches and physical pain, toss away your cotton pillow when you see it is forming lumps. 

If you still want to keep it, make sure you air-dry your pillow after washing. This fluffs it up and creates more air pockets, allowing it to dry faster. Less water means fewer lumps. Different types of pillows benefit from this process as well; otherwise, the pillow acquires small cracks in certain sections and lumps in others over time.

How to Prevent Pillows From Getting Lumpy in the Washer?

To prevent your pillow from becoming lumpy in the washer, add two pillows with some linens or a towel to distribute the load. 

Use a moderate cycle and optimal temperature for washing. Dry the pillows naturally or with a tennis ball in the dryer.

Here are some special points to keep in mind while washing:

Cotton Pillows: Pillows filled with cotton and synthetic stuffing can be washed and dried on gentle heat and washed with ordinary detergent. 

Foam Pillows: Foam and feathers should never be washed in a bathtub or washer. They’re not allowed to get wet. When it comes to foam filling, either spot or dry-cleaning is required.

Down Pillows: To avoid hurting down pillows, soak them in a tub or wash them in a machine without an agitator. You must also use specialized dish soap instead of standard detergent. 

Don’t forget to read our detailed article on how to wash pillows.

How to Fix a Lumpy Pillow?

There are numerous methods for de-lumping a pillow. The appropriate course of action is determined by the pillow’s fill material and the cause of clumping. 

The dry-heat trick: Wash your lumpy pillows thoroughly and dry them on low heat. Dry heat might sometimes be sufficient to remove clumps from your pillow’s filling. 

The tennis ball trick: Put a tennis ball folded in a cloth or sock in the machine to help the pillows dry without lumps. The pillow may require more than a  single drying round to be completely dry. At this point, most pillows are no longer lumpy.

The punching trick: Spread the lumps from your pillow using both your hands. Put it flat and punch the pillow filling, seeking the thickest clumps. Some pillows simply need to be pounded. 

Note: This trick doesn’t work on down pillows


Although there are a few steps you can take to protect your pillows from becoming lumpy, they may need to be replaced at times. If your pillow is more than two years old, soiled, entangled, or lumpy, it’s probably time to replace it. 

However, before you go out to get a new one, use some of the techniques discussed in the article to revive it first!

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