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Does Goodwill Take Pillows?

A collage of goodwill building and pillows.

Do you have pillows you are no longer using? You may think that Goodwill is the perfect place to donate your used pillows, but this may not be the case. 

Goodwill actually has very strict rules on what they will and will not take. They do take some pillows, but not others. 

Does Goodwill Take Pillows? 

Goodwill accepts decorative pillows. The throw pillows that are just taking up space on your couch are perfectly acceptable. However, they do not take pillows designed for sleeping. 

You may wonder why. Goodwill refuses sleeping pillows for the same reason they won’t take mattresses. They can harbor bugs, like bed bugs. 

However, pillows, unlike mattresses, can be washed. They happily take sheets and comforters, so the restriction isn’t the most logical. 

Related: What To Do With Old Pillows | Pillow Alternatives

The Goodwill Process 

Goodwill bricks walling.

Goodwill is a non-profit retailer. They take donations, and then sell them at their stores. They sell everything from appliances to clothes, and everything in between. 

Step 1: Retail 

The process is surprisingly complicated, however. It starts when donations are dropped off at a store, or a donation center. From there, workers will go through the items. 

Anything that isn’t sellable is thrown away. If your items aren’t in good shape, it’s best to avoid taking them to Goodwill. It’s just more work for them, and they will be disposed of. 

Once they have been sorted, they will be placed in a store. Most stores will leave items on the floor for a set amount of time, often one month. Then, they will send any items that aren’t sold to a Goodwill Outlet.   

Step 2: Outlets 

Goodwill outlets work in one of two ways. Items are either sold for a low price, typically $0.99, or they are sold by the pound. This encourages people to buy the items, due to the low price tag. 

Step 3: Auctions

If items aren’t bought at the outlet, they are sent to outlets. Items are placed into bins, and bids are placed. The bidders don’t know what’s in the bins. These can be a great deal. 

Step 4: Recyclers 

If items aren’t sold at auctions, they move to the last stage in the process. They are given to recyclers. Textiles, for example, are typically sent back into the second hand market, or shipped to other countries. These countries have a higher demand for used clothing and other textiles than the U.S. 

Goodwill Community Action 

Goodwill is a nonprofit organization. They have lots of programs to help local communities and use the profits from donations and sales to fund these programs. 

They vary from region to region, but there are some common programs. Goodwill focuses on providing employment and job training for those in need. This includes those with a physical or mental disability, lack of job history, or lack of education. 

Some people will become employed by Goodwill itself. However, many workers undergo education or job training and then get jobs outside of Goodwill. Goodwill works with local companies to place those in their programs into jobs or careers. 

What Can You Donate to Goodwill? 

Goodwill donation boxes.

As mentioned earlier, Goodwill has some strict donation guidelines. Before you gather a donation, it’s a good idea to know what Goodwill does and doesn’t accept. 

The Basics 

Goodwill takes many second-hand items, as long as they are in usable condition. Items that are broken or soiled will be disposed of. Items that are considered dangerous, like weapons or flammable materials, are rejected. 

Now that we know the basics let’s take a look at some of the specifics. 

TVs and Electronics 

Goodwill accepts most electronics, as long as they are in good condition. However, they will not take tube TVs. If you have a TV that’s not a flat screen, Goodwill isn’t an option. 

Clothing and Textiles 

Clothing and textiles are accepted as long as they aren’t soiled or stained. This includes older items and new items. 

Clothing and outerwear of all sizes are always welcome. Bedspreads, curtains, and blankets are popular donations as well. 

Area rugs are welcome, but wall-to-wall carpeting or flooring isn’t. 


Housewares are also popular. They range from decor items to pots and pans to Tupperware. As long as it’s in good condition, you can donate it to your local Goodwill. 

Large Items 

Goodwill accepts some large items but not others. As mentioned earlier, they will not accept mattresses. However, they do accept bed frames. 

Most accept furniture. However, furniture that is dirty or damaged isn’t accepted. A scratched coffee table is probably acceptable. A sofa with a hole in the cushion probably isn’t. 

Goodwill typically doesn’t accept large appliances, like refrigerators or washing machines. 

What To Do With Unwanted Pillows?

Old pillows on a box.

You can take your decorative or throw pillows to Goodwill, but what do you do with your old sleeping pillows? Do you stick them in the back of your closet and pretend they aren’t there? Toss them in the trash can? There has to be a better way, right? 

Reuse or Repurpose 

Just because you no longer want to sleep on your old pillow doesn’t mean it’s useless. If you have pets, old pillows make a great pet bed. 

If you have a child, you can make a nap mat from several old pillows. All you need is some fabric, old pillows, and basic sewing skills. 

You can also use them as floor pillows if you enjoy sitting on the floor from time to time. 

You may even be able to use them as throw pillows. Simply reupholster them to match your decor, and place them on your couch. 

Lastly, you can use them for packing fragile items. They are a great way to keep breakables safe. Consider this if you are moving or have some valuables you need to store. 

I know. Goodwill won’t take your pillows. However, they aren’t the only organization looking for donations. There are many options. 

Animal shelters can use pillows as pet beds. Daycare facilities sometimes accept old pillows. Homeless shelters may be thrilled to receive your old pillows. 

You can also check other thrift stores or charity organizations. There are some shops and organizations that accept pillows. Just contact them and ask! 


Are your pillows so worn you wouldn’t want a dog sleeping on them? Like every other product, pillows do have a shelf life. If your pillow has reached the end of the road, you still have options. 

One way to properly dispose of old pillows is to contact the American Textile Recycling Service. They deconstruct and recycle textiles. You can find a drop-off location near you, and rest easy knowing your pillows are being disposed of properly. 

You can also use a service like Terracycle. This service is expensive, at $130 for a box. However, it allows you to recycle many household items that aren’t typically recyclable. 

If your pillow is made from organic material, you can use it as compost. Feathers and other organic materials can be composted, and the outside of the pillow can be used for cleaning rags. 

When to Replace Pillows?

White dirty pillows.

Pillows are such a personal item. They give us comfort in our most vulnerable moments. It can be difficult to say goodbye to them. 

However, pillows don’t last forever. Over time, they lose their shape and support. They may be lumpy. They can cause head and neck pain because they don’t provide proper support, particularly when you wake up in the morning. 

If your pillow smells less than fresh, particularly after washing, it’s time to say goodbye. You should also replace it if it’s torn or excessively stained. Pillows typically last about two years, so if you’ve had your pillow for longer than that, you may want to consider changing it. 

Does Goodwill Take Pillows FAQs

Does Goodwill have a pick up service? 

Each Goodwill has its own services and rules, but most offer a pickup service. However, they may only pick up items that are large or difficult to transport. You’ll need to contact your local Goodwill to be sure. 

What are alternatives to Goodwill? 

Goodwill’s biggest competitor is the Salvation Army. Habitat for Humanity also has stores and accepts large items and appliances not accepted by Goodwill. 

Of course, thrift stores are an option as well. You can make a small amount of money by selling items to thrift or second-hand stores. 

Are donations tax deductible? 

Yes, your donations to Goodwill or other charitable organizations are tax-deductible. This is true whether you are donating unwanted items or money. When it comes to items donated, you can deduct the fair market value of the items. 

Can I put pillows in the recycling bin? 

No. Unless your area has a textile recycling service, you can’t place pillows in the recycling.