Your Guide to Buying the Perfect Pillow Case Sizes

Last Updated April 25, 2024

It wouldn’t be a far-fetched estimation if we were to assume very few know about the diverse pillow case sizes. However, buying significant pieces of bedding like mattresses and pillows is a serious affair! We think and rethink our choices even while getting new bed sheets and comforters.

But we tend to buy a pillow case very casually - we eyeball the pillow size and then pick a case that matches the pillow. Then, without knowing how an oversized or tight-fitting pillow case can affect sleep health, we carry on, oblivious that a pillow case is an essential piece of bedding.

pillow case sizes

Why do you need a pillow case?

When we sleep, pillows get laced with oil, sweat, and dust on our skin and hair. Most pillows need pillow protectors and pillow covers as they don’t come with protection.

Without a protective barrier, exposure to such materials will quickly spoil the pillow, and we might have to throw it away - since washing a pillow is the last resort.

More specifically, pillow cases made of different materials have different functions. For example, a cotton pillow case soaks up sweat and oil from our skin - it is an excellent choice for cover in temperate and hot regions.

Silk is a good material if you are not concerned about temperature. It doesn’t expose the hair to friction and breakage during sleep nor leaves creases on the skin.

Moreover, the fit of a pillow ensures whether your pillow is puffy or evenly laid out.

By now, you know a good pillowcase directly impacts your skin and sleep health. However, there is a fun aspect to pillow cases as well.

Pillow cases come in all sizes, patterns, and prints - so it’s a great way to spruce up your interiors and bring color, aesthetics, and energy to your rooms.

natural and organic pillows

Dimensions of the pillow case sizes

Take a look at the general pillows and pillowcase sizes. While it’s true that pillow cases will be most compatible with their types of bed pillow sizes, you can sometimes mix and match pillow cases according to your sleeping convenience.

The following section will tell you more about the different pillowcases and their compatibility.

Pillow case Dimensions Compatible mattress
Standard 20 inches x 26 inches Twin, twin XL, double bed, queen
Queen 20 inches x 30 inches Queen, king, california king, olympic queen
King 20 inches x 36 inches King, California kIng, all king variants
Body 20 inches x 54 inches all mattresses

Pillows and their corresponding pillow case sizes

First, we will discuss the most common pillowcases compatible with standard mattresses like the king, queen, California king, twin, and twin XL.

Then we will move on to more unique pillows that serve distinct purposes.

Standard size pillow case

standard size pillow case

Measuring 20 inches x 26 inches, the standard size pillow case is designed to encase the standard size pillow, which comes in tow with the twin or the twin XL mattress. But you can buy a standard size pillow anytime you like, for a standard size pillow is versatile.

One standard size pillow works great with a twin bed or twin XL bed; college kids are used to a standard pillow that comes with the twin XL beds in their dorms.

However, a couple of standard size pillows are great with the full and queen mattresses. You can add a couple of standard pillows to furnish the jumbo-sized king or California king beds.

The standard pillowcase also has an older sibling - it is called the super standard case. This one is 2 inches longer than the standard, which means it is 20 x 28 inches - thus, a super standard pillow case can easily fit a standard pillow and will hold a queen pillow too snugly.

We mention super standard in this list to inform you of this style, even though it is a rare size and stores seldom have it in stock.


A queen size pillow cover fits a queen pillow most properly. Since queen size pillow cover is 4 inches longer than the standard pillow cover, the queen case is also eligible to act as a pillow cover for standard size pillows.

Queen pillowcases measures 20 inches x 30 inches - the same as the measurement of the queen pillows.

Queen pillows are long enough to cover the width of a queen or a king mattress and have some added health benefits for sleepers who turn and toss. The length of the queen pillows ensure that the head and neck are safe and well-rested, even though the sleeper shifts sides frequently.

Long pillows such as the queen are good for side and combination sleepers.

King size pillow case

king size pillow case

The king-size pillowcases is the most commonly sought pillow case in the US, along with the standard pillowcase.

People who want versatility generally go with the standard pillow, irrespective of the mattress they have. And people who like the feel of the broad surface of the pillow tend to go for the king pillows, even if they don’t own a jumbo mattress like the king.

The king-size pillowcases are 20 inches x 36 inches in size - this means that it is the largest pillow cover out there - 10 inches longer than the standard and 6 inches longer than the queen. So, the king-size pillows make the best fit on a king mattress.

A couple of king size pillows are enough to cover the width of a king-sized bed or a California king size bed. King pillows are also compatible with the bigger variants of king mattresses like Texas, Vermont, Alaskan king, and Wyoming king.

latex mattress

You can also use the standard pillow on these jumbo mattresses, but generally, people use smaller pillows to cozy up the jumbo mattresses. In comparison, they use bigger pillows for headrests.

Specialty pillows and their pillowcases

Apart from the typical pillows and cases, there are a few more varieties of pillows called specialty pillows. In this segment, we will explain their characteristics, use, and the specialty pillowcase sizes they are compatible with.

Body Pillow

body pillow

The body pillowcases are compatible with the ‘I’ shaped body pillows. However, the size of the pillowcase doesn’t make it versatile. Body pillowcases are 20 inches wide x 54 inches long, meaning it is a little less than 5 ft long. The body size is the longest and largest pillowcase that is industrially manufactured; hence it is useful only as a covering for the body type pillow.

Now, there are a few more variants of the body pillow sizes - the ‘C,’ ‘J,’ and ‘U’ shapes. Even though not all body size pillows come with covers, it is relatively easy to find the pillowcase size of the ‘I’ type compared to the other types.

Euro size pillow

euro size pillow

The Euro size pillowcase is compatible with a square-shaped Euro pillow, which measures 26 inches x 26 inches. However, the Euro pillow is not used as bed pillow; instead, they are decorative ones mainly used to lean against while lounging.

Finding euro sham pillows or pillowcases can be difficult, so don’t lose hope if you don’t see a cover at the first store you visit.

Orthopedic Pillow

orthopedic pillow

Orthopedic pillows help relieve medical conditions and come in different variants whose objective is to provide knee, neck, shoulder, and spine support. Depending on the area of focus, orthopedic pillows come in distinct shapes and sizes. So, orthopedic pillow cases will be difficult to find due to their unusual shape and limited popularity among users.

In fact, you may also consider the possibility that you won’t find the covers in any store near you, and you may have to custom-make them.

Travel Pillow

travel size pillow

While traveling, have you ever noticed how some people are dozing off with a c-shaped cushion wrapped around their necks? Or you may have wondered at the c-shaped cushion hanging off the bag or dangling on the arms of some fellow passengers.

The C-shaped travel pillows are the most popular travel pillows by far. You won’t go crazy looking for covers for the travel pillows - since they are relatively popular, stores selling them will also have their covers.

Pregnancy Pillow

pregnancy pillow

Pregnancy pillow is as large as a standard body pillow size; one sleeps with them just as they would with body pillows - by tucking the pillow under the neck and hugging it between the legs. Pregnancy pillows have additional cushioning that comforts a growing belly.

In fact, to accommodate the different growing stages of the body, pregnancy pillows come in diverse styles. However, getting hold of a good quality pregnancy pillowcase is difficult.

Throw Pillow

throw pillow

Throw pillow is a square sized decor pillow. They are smaller than standard pillows, and their pillow cases are the most widely available. The pillowcases and shams for throw pillows happen to be some of the most vibrant, tasteful, and aesthetic ones you can find among all the generic and specialty pillowcase sizes. 

natural and organic latex mattress topper

What are Shams?

Sham, also known as the pillow sham or the bed sham, are fancy names for decorative pillow covers. The shams, with their eye-catching styles, serve as decor catalysts. They can change the look and feel of a pillow - this is something the average pillowcase cannot do.

Shams come in generic sizes of pillow cases - the standard, queen, king, and body sizes. Due to the frontal decoration, shams are somewhat complex and laborious to wash compared to regular pillow cases.

Why and how to wash your pillowcase?

Depending on the material of the pillow case, you have to decide how to wash it. For example, if your pillowcase is made of cotton, you can machine wash it or hand wash it. On the other hand, if you have a silk or satin pillow case, you have to machine wash it using the delicate cycle option on the machine.

And it is best to use mild liquid detergent while washing - else usage of harsh chemicals will erode the fiber of the cases, and that will harm our skin and induce damage in hair tips due to increased friction.

Ideally, it’s best to send pillowcases to wash after only 2 - 3 days of use. This needs doing because, at night, we might drool or sweat on the pillows; additionally, dead cells, oil, and grime will all be smeared on the pillows regularly. As the pillow cases act as reservoirs of our micro filth, they become much more prone to developing bacterial growth and triggering our allergies.

At the very least, pillowcases should be mandatorily changed and washed once every week.


How are pillow case sizes measured?

To measure a pillow case, it has to be stripped away from the pillow and laid bare. If you are working with an unutilized pillowcase, then the work becomes more manageable.

The next step is to turn it inside out and lay it out evenly. Then the pillow cover is to be measured from seam to seam - that’s it. Just ignore the flaps and wings of the cover, if any, and follow only the stitch lines.

Should pillow cases be bigger than the pillow?

Contrary to the notion that a pillow style will be only compatible with its standard pillowcases, every pillow case can accommodate a variety of pillow sizes.

Getting a pillowcase at least 2 inches bigger than the pillow is advisable because the pillow has to be tried for fitting once it is put inside a pillowcase. Also, a good pillowcase will leave room to flatten out the pillow and adjust the pillow loft once the pillow is inside.

Pillowcases of the same size as the pillow or smaller don’t leave room for adjustment. Instead, it tightens the pillows and makes them spill out on the sides. Unfortunately, a tight pillow also brings bad news for neck and shoulder comfort; using stiff pillows for too long will induce muscle soreness and general discomfort in the neck and shoulders.

What size of pillows do hotels use?

Generally, hotels maintain an inventory of standard size pillows. In addition, they furnish all the variants of mattresses - twin, double, queen, and king with standard pillows; however, the number of pillows vary with the size of the mattress.

A twin bed gets one pillow, while a king bed gets around four pillows (but guests can always ask for more pillows if needed).

Low-tier hotels have ample storage of standard pillows because they are easy to maintain and furnish. Every bedding store will undoubtedly have stocks of standard pillows and standard pillowcases.

5-star hotels, on the other hand, are dedicated to providing distinct comfort to their guests. They do not compromise on style and quality - every room and suite is furnished with pillows compatible with the mattresses in those rooms.

How many styles of pillowcases are there?

The housewife, bag type, oxford, and mock oxford are the most common styles of pillowcases. The housewife style is the common one that can be seen in almost every household.

The bag type is a unique pillowcase style, while the oxford and mock oxford are primarily considered decorative covers.

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The gist:

A pillow case is a protective layer that your pillow needs, and so do you if you care for your hygiene. Toddler pillows are extra sensitive, and it’s mandatory to cover and clean them regularly. Adults with skin issues, allergies, and asthma must also sleep on clean pillow cases.

A pillow case may appear as an embellishment to some, but it is a crucial element whose job is to keep you healthy. Furthermore, a standard size pillowcase compatible with your pillow makes sleeping an enjoyable affair; not to mention, when you pick a pillowcase of choice, it can light up your room and mood.

Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.