Homemade Pillow Covers

Olivia Miller | Wednesday, June 28, 2023

In today's world, where environmental concerns are at the forefront of our minds, it's important to consider the impact of our daily choices on the planet. From the food we eat to the products we use, every decision we make can have a significant effect on the environment. One area that often goes overlooked is our home decor, specifically our pillow covers.

Pillow covers may seem like a small and insignificant item, but the truth is, they can have a big impact on the environment. In this article, we'll explore why traditional pillow covers are bad for the environment and how making your own can be a more sustainable and eco-friendly option. We'll also provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to make your own homemade pillow covers.

Why Traditional Pillow Covers are Bad for the Environment

  1. Made from Synthetic Materials: Most pillow covers on the market are made from synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, or acrylic. These materials are derived from non-renewable resources and require a significant amount of energy to produce. They also release harmful chemicals into the environment during the manufacturing process.

  2. Non-Biodegradable: Synthetic materials are not biodegradable, meaning they do not break down naturally in the environment. When these pillow covers are disposed of, they end up in landfills where they can take hundreds of years to decompose, releasing toxic chemicals into the soil and water.

  3. Harmful Dyes and Chemicals: The dyes and chemicals used to color and treat traditional pillow covers can be harmful to the environment. These chemicals can leach into the soil and water, polluting our ecosystems and harming wildlife.

  4. Fast Fashion: The fast fashion industry has a significant impact on the environment, and pillow covers are no exception. With the rise of cheap, disposable home decor, many people are constantly buying new pillow covers to keep up with the latest trends. This leads to a cycle of overconsumption and waste, putting a strain on the planet's resources.


Why Making Your Own Pillow Covers is Better for the Environment

  1. Use Sustainable Materials: By making your own pillow covers, you have control over the materials you use. You can opt for sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics such as organic cotton, linen, or bamboo. These materials are renewable, biodegradable, and require less energy to produce.

  2. Reduce Waste: Making your own pillow covers means you can reuse and repurpose materials you already have at home. This reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and helps to conserve resources.

  3. Avoid Harmful Chemicals: When you make your own pillow covers, you have control over the dyes and chemicals used. You can opt for natural, non-toxic dyes or choose to leave your covers undyed. This helps to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals released into the environment.

  4. Longevity: Homemade pillow covers are often of higher quality and can last longer than store-bought ones. This means you won't need to constantly replace them, reducing your overall environmental impact.

What You'll Need to Make Homemade Pillow Covers

  • Fabric of your choice (organic cotton, linen, or bamboo are recommended)
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Optional: natural dyes, buttons, zippers, or other embellishments

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Homemade Pillow Covers

  1. Measure your pillow: Use a measuring tape to determine the dimensions of your pillow. Add an extra inch to each side for seam allowance.

  2. Cut your fabric: Using your measurements, cut two pieces of fabric to the desired size for your pillow cover.

  3. Hem the edges: On one of the fabric pieces, fold over the edges by ½ inch and iron them down. Then fold them over again by ½ inch and iron again. This will create a clean hem on all four sides of your pillow cover. Repeat on the other fabric piece.

  4. Pin the fabric pieces together: Place the two fabric pieces together with the right sides facing each other. Pin them together along three sides, leaving one side open for inserting the pillow.

  5. Sew the edges: Using a sewing machine or needle and thread, sew along the three pinned sides, leaving a ½ inch seam allowance. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end to secure the stitches.

  6. Turn the cover right side out: Carefully turn the cover right side out through the open side.

  7. Insert the pillow: Insert your pillow into the cover through the open side.

  8. Close the cover: Fold in the edges of the open side and pin them together. Sew along the edge, leaving a ½ inch seam allowance. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end to secure the stitches.

  9. Optional: Add embellishments: If desired, you can add buttons, zippers, or other embellishments to your pillow cover for added style.

Congratulations, you've just made your own homemade pillow cover! Not only is it a more sustainable option, but it's also a unique and personalized addition to your home decor.

Responsible Disposal of Old Pillow Covers

If you have old pillow covers that you no longer need, it's important to dispose of them responsibly. Here are a few options for eco-friendly disposal:

  • Upcycle: Get creative and repurpose your old pillow covers into something new. You can use them to make tote bags, cushion covers, or even reusable produce bags.
  • Donate: If your pillow covers are still in good condition, consider donating them to a local charity or thrift store.
  • Recycle: Some fabrics, such as cotton and linen, can be recycled. Check with your local recycling center to see if they accept fabric for recycling.
  • Compost: If your pillow covers are made from natural materials, you can compost them at home. Just be sure to remove any zippers or buttons first.


Making your own homemade pillow covers is a simple and effective way to reduce your environmental impact and create a more sustainable home. By using sustainable materials, reducing waste, and avoiding harmful chemicals, you can make a positive impact on the planet. So next time you need a new pillow cover, consider making your own instead of buying a traditional one. Your wallet and the planet will thank you.

© 2020 EthicalShift, Inc