3 expert-approved tricks for ultra-fluffy pillows

A pair of hands fluff a pillow on a bed
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dream of sinking back into a fluffy pillow but the reality is closer to sad pancake? Even the best pillows will eventually start to lose their oomph if they aren't cared for, and you might find your sporadic fluffing attempts have failed to stop the pillow sink. Don't worry, I'm here to help you fix it – but first, grab your tennis balls. 

No, perfecting your serve isn't the key to pillow perfection. Instead, Martin Seeley, sleep expert and CEO of MattressNextDay, recommends placing your pillow in the dryer with a tennis ball or two. The tennis ball should beat out the lumps, returning your pillow to its plumped-up best. And he has some more advice on transforming your home sleep setup into a luxury hotel bed. Follow these tips for finishing your best mattress with the fluffiest five-star pillows.

3 steps for the fluffiest hotel-like pillows

To be clear, I'm mainly talking about pillows that are filled with either down or synthetic fiber stuffing here. Memory foam pillows that contain a solid block of foam are impossible to plump (and don't lose their shape overnight anyway, so it's a moot point). Some of these tips will apply to the kind of pillow that contains shredded or cubed foam stuffing, but not all. 

Another quick bit of housekeeping: to keep it in the best condition for the longest time, don't forget to clean your pillow – this can stop your pillow turning yellow. And consider investing in a pillow protector (it's like a mattress protector, but for your pillow). Now, let's get into how to create unbeatable fluffiness.

1. Fluff your pillows daily

Every morning when you make your bed, make sure to pick up your pillows and give them a quick fluff. Simply hold the pillow at each end and quickly compress and decompress. Do this a few times, until you have the level of plumpness you desire.

A woman sleeps wrapped in a blanket with her head flat on a pillow

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As well as giving you that hotel-like feel and appearance, I can recommend this tip for your overall sleep happiness. A few seconds of fluffing gives the pillow its shape back, so your head doesn't settle into the groove you left the night before, and your neck feels more supported.

2. Wash with a tennis ball and sock

When the lumps and bumps have got so bad that even hours of manual fluffing won't make a difference, it's time to break out the big guns: a tennis ball and a sock. Place a tennis ball or two inside your sock and put them into the dryer with your pillow. Then use the dryer on the lowest setting for around 30 minutes. At the end of the cycle, your pillows will be back to top fluffiness. 

The tennis ball will thump around with the pillow, knocking out those lumps, loosening the filling, and bringing back the fluffiness. The sock serves a simpler purpose – it stops the dye from the tennis ball leaking onto your pillows. 

Before you start, make sure your pillow is suitable for tumble-drying, by checking the care label. Not all stuffing types can be tumble-dried, and you don't want to wreck your pillow in the process. And while it probably goes without saying, I'll say it just in case. Make sure you're using a clean tennis ball and clean socks. 

3. Use three pillows

This tip is all about the appearances, but that doesn't mean it's frivolous. A well-made, luxurious-looking bed is much more enticing than a mattress with flat pillows and sheets all over the place. So you'll be more tempted to keep to your bedtime routine and get to sleep on schedule. Three pillows will give your bed that sumptuous and indulgent feel of a five-star hotel room. 

A young couple place frozen bed sheets on their mattress during the summer to help them sleep cooler

(Image credit: Getty)

And what do you do with those pillows once you're tucked up in bed? Don't just leave them underneath your head, as you might find this props your neck at an uncomfortable angle. Instead, try tucking a pillow between your knees and hugging one to your chest, to keep you in the best position for sleeping in

3 of our favorite pillows for hotel-like comfort

Casper Down Pillow

<a href="https://casper.pxf.io/c/221109/396851/7235?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fcasper.com%2Fpillows%2Fdown-pillow.html" data-link-merchant="casper.com"" target="_blank" rel="sponsored">Casper Down Pillow
Filled with ethically sourced duck feathers, the Casper Down Pillow uses different chambers to create a pillow with just the right balance of weight, support, and comfort. It's also highly responsive, adapting to gently cradle your head as you move in the night. Learn more with our <a href="https://www.techradar.com/reviews/casper-down-pillow" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"" data-link-merchant="casper.com"">Casper Down Pillow review.

Parachute Down Pillow

<a href="https://parachutehome.sjv.io/c/221109/1110616/14093?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.parachutehome.com%2Fproducts%2Fdown-pillow%3Foptions%3Dsize_standard" data-link-merchant="parachutehome.com"" target="_blank" rel="sponsored">Parachute Down Pillow
The Parachute Down Pillow isn't cheap, but it does deliver the five-star luxury you expect from all the best hotel beds. Our tester described it as "thick, luxurious, and fluffy" during our <a href="https://www.techradar.com/health-fitness/mattresses/parachute-down-pillow" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"" data-link-merchant="parachutehome.com"">Parachute Down Pillow review and it comes in three firmness levels, so you can pick a feel that suits your sleep style.

Brooklinen Down Pillow

<a href="https://brooklinen.pxf.io/c/221109/971323/12856?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.brooklinen.com%2Fproducts%2Fdown-pillow%3Fvariant%3D8364503043%26pack-size%3D1" data-link-merchant="brooklinen.com"" target="_blank" rel="sponsored">Brooklinen Down Pillow
Our tester described sleeping on the Brooklinen Pillow as a "luxurious experience" in our <a href="https://www.techradar.com/health-fitness/mattresses/brooklinen-plush-down-pillow" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"" data-link-merchant="brooklinen.com"">Brooklinen Down Pillow review. You can choose between your support levels, with the fill changing slightly depending on whether you want a plush, mid-plush, or firm experience. Whatever you opt for, expect a sumptuous night's sleep.

Ruth Jones
Staff Writer

Ruth is TechRadar’s Sleep Writer. She’s here to help you find the perfect sleep setup for your budget and personal preferences. As well as keeping a keen eye on everything that’s going on in the world of mattresses, she regularly speaks to experts to help you learn how to improve your sleep habits, whether that’s by debunking sleep myths or explaining the science behind it all. Prior to joining the TechRadar team, she wrote features and product guides for new parents hoping to get a decent night's sleep, as well as writing for a variety of online spaces.