Pillowcases are meant to protect your pillow from stains, spills, or other damage. A good pillowcase will also be breathable and fit your pillow perfectly, allowing you to sleep well without worrying about the pillowcase falling off or bunching up.
In this article, we review the common bed pillow sizes and even discuss the dimensions of specialty pillows. We also go over how to pick the right pillowcase size based on the size of your mattress.
|Pillow Size||Measurements (Inches)||Measurements (CM)|
|Standard||20 inches by 26 inches||51 CM by 56 CM|
|Queen||20 inches by 30 inches||51 CM by 76 CM|
|King||20 inches by 36 inches||51 CM by 92 CM|
|Body||20 inches by 54 inches||51 CM by 137 CM|
Standard Size Pillowcase
Pillow Dimensions: 20 inches by 26 inches
Standard size pillowcases are made to fit standard and queen size pillows. The extra material on one end can cover the longer length of a queen pillow and still look aesthetically pleasing.
The small size makes standard size pillowcases ideal for pillows you can fit on twin and twin XL size mattresses. Two standard pillows can also rest comfortably side by side on a full or queen mattress. Twin, twin XL, and full size bedding sets usually come with one standard pillowcase, but for larger sizes, like queen, king, and California king, the set will come with two.
Another offshoot of the standard size pillowcase is the super standard size. While it’s not as common, the super standard size pillowcase is two inches longer to fit larger pillows. It can fit both standard and super standard pillows, but may be too small for king size pillows.
Queen Size Pillowcase
Pillow Dimensions: 20 inches by 30 inches
Queen pillowcases are four inches longer than the standard size. The longer size allows two queen pillows to stretch perfectly across a queen size mattress. They also fit nicely with a king or a California king bed.
Some queen pillows can fit inside standard pillowcases depending on the brand. The width is the same, but because standard pillowcases tend to be longer, they can adequately fit a queen pillow. If you tend to toss and turn at night, a longer pillow might be a good idea anyway. The extra length keeps your head and neck supported as you switch sleeping positions.
King Size Pillowcase
Pillow Dimensions: 20 inches by 36 inches
King size pillowcases are designed to fit king pillows. They’re 10 inches longer than a standard size and are too big for pillows smaller than a king. Side by side, two king pillows comfortably fit across the 76-inch width of a king size mattress. They can also fit on a California king size bed.
You could use two king sized pillows on a queen mattress, but it may be too tight. The pillows might hang over the edges of the bed. If you’re a combination sleeper and have a queen sized mattress, it may be better to stick with queen pillows.
Body Size Pillowcase
Pillow Dimensions: 20 inches by 54 inches
Body pillowcases are the longest and largest pillowcases available. They’re designed to fit over a body pillow, though the one you need depends on the shape of your body pillow. Some body pillows don’t come with a matching pillowcase, so you may have to do some extra searching for the right pillowcase.
The standard body pillow size is an I-shape or a long standard pillow. To use a body pillow, set the one end beneath your head and neck, and curve the other end around your body to tuck between your legs. The I-shape body pillow usually comes with a pillowcase. However, other body pillow sizes, including C-, U-, and J-shapes, may require more research when looking for a matching pillowcase.
Specialty Pillowcase Sizes
For specialty pillows, you can find matching pillowcases. These custom pillowcases don’t follow common sizing guidelines. Instead, you may need to do further research to find a pillowcase to match the special size, including Euro, orthopedic, travel, and throw pillows.
Euro-style pillowcases are designed to fit Euro pillows (popularized in Europe, hence their name). These large, square pillows measure 26 inches by 26 inches. Euro pillows are popular in America for decoration or to lean against when watching TV or reading a book.
If you use your Euro pillows for decoration, you may not think they need a pillowcase. However, covering the pillows repels dirt and stains (or at least camouflages them), keeping the pillow clean.
Orthopedic pillows come in many different shapes and sizes—there is no orthopedic pillow that can fulfill everyone’s different sleeping needs. Each unique shape follows orthopedic guidelines to encourage healthy alignment during sleep. Some orthopedic pillows are designed to rest under your head and neck, while others lie under your legs.
Finding an orthopedic pillowcase can be tricky because of their uncommon shape. Check with the pillow brand and see if the pillow comes with a case, or if the company sells the corresponding pillowcase separately.
Travel pillows are compact, making them easy to pack with your belongings for trips. Travel pillows come in two different sizes—rectangular or C-shaped. C-shaped travel pillows are more common since the pillow wraps around your neck and provides a place to rest your head comfortably during long trips. C-shaped travel size pillowcases are rare. More often, the cover is built-in, but not removable.
Rectangular travel pillows are also referred to as toddler pillows because they’re essentially smaller versions of the standard size and also meant for toddlers. These pillowcases are much easier to find and usually come in different colors.
Throw pillows vary in size, but most are square-shaped. Throw pillows are strictly decorative pillows, though you can use them to elevate sections of your body. Out of all the pillowcases, throw pillowcases have a greater variety of colors, patterns, and designs. You can easily find throw pillowcases to suit your style and change the appearance of any living space.
Do Pillows Need a Pillowcase?
As a general rule, yes. You should keep your pillow inside a pillowcase to protect its materials. We also recommend pillow protectors, which are often waterproof and act as a barrier against liquids and allergens.
However, some pillows may not need a pillowcase or may include a specialty case. For example, some pillows for neck pain may have a contoured design that keeps you from slipping a traditional pillowcase over it.
Wedge pillows also usually include a cover that fits over the ramp-like fill.
Do queen size pillows fit inside standard cases?
Some queen size pillows can fit inside standard pillowcases, though it depends on the brand.
Pillowcases are generally one to two inches larger than the actual pillow. Most standard size pillowcases are built to cover the four extra inches of a queen pillow.
What is a sham pillow?
A pillow sham fits over a standard pillow and is designed to hide your bed pillows. Sham pillowcases are nice decorative pieces to add style to any bedroom. These pillow cases are completely enclosed—the pillow pops inside the case from the back of the cover. Shams also have extra fabric around the edges for added embellishment.
How often should you wash your pillowcase?
Pillowcases need to be cleaned on a regular basis, especially since your head and face are pressed up against the material at least 7 hours a day. Pillowcases should be washed every week, just like your bed sheets. Cleaning them once a week removes allergens, dust mites, and sweat, leaving the material smelling fresh.
Are pillows machine-washable?
Most pillows can be machine washed, but check the care instructions to be sure. When washing your pillow, set both the washer and the dryer on delicate cycles. Latex and memory foam pillows should be wasted on a delicate cycle that has the least agitation and won’t damage or flatten your pillow. Before transferring the pillow from the washer to the dryer, gently squeeze out excess water.
If your pillow is too big for your washing machine, you can take the pillow to a local laundromat. These establishments have commercial-sized washer and dryer machines, which can better accommodate larger loads.
If your pillow can’t be machine washed, then spot-cleaning can help keep the pillow clean. You can also take the pillow to the local dry cleaners one to two times a year for washing to keep your pillow smelling fresh and clean. Using a pillowcase can protect your pillow from spills and stains, so you won’t have to wash your pillow.
How are pillow sizes measured?
Pillows are either measured by inches or centimeters. Before buying new pillowcases, if you’re unsure which size you need, measure the width and length of your pillows first. That way, you can find the right fit and not end up with too-small or too-big pillowcases.
Pillowcases protect your pillows from allergens and dirt. Finding the right pillow size allows you to fully enjoy your pillow. A pillowcase that’s too small can damage a pillow and cause it to flatten. If the pillow doesn’t have enough room to expand, it can’t be fluffed to the right height.
After you find the right pillowcase size, you can choose colors, patterns, and fabrics to meet your preferences.