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What Is a Standard Pillow Case?

By Alicia Sparks
Updated: May 23, 2024

Probably the most common of all types of pillow cases, a standard pillow case is one that fits a standard pillow. In the United States, the standard pillow case size has a height of 20 inches and a width of 30 inches (about 50.8 centimeters by 76.2 centimeters). This makes them ideal for use with the kind of standard pillows most commonly used with twin-sized beds or as spare pillows, though many people prefer standard pillows and cases for use with larger beds. Standard pillow cases are available as part of a complete bed sheet set, a two-part pillow case set, or separately. Similar to complete bed sheet sets, standard pillow cases are available in an assortment of colors and thread counts.

Generally, a standard pillow case works best with the kinds of pillows made for use with twin-sized beds. Since queen- and king-sized beds usually require larger pillows, manufacturers make pillow cases larger than the standard size for use with them. Yet, some people use standard-sized pillows with queen- and king-sized beds. These people must purchase standard pillow cases to avoid having cases much larger than the pillows they use. Since people often purchase sheet sets with pillow cases included, those who have queen- and king-sized beds who want to use standard pillows usually have to purchase separate standard pillow cases.

Usually, a standard pillow case is designed so the pillow can easily slide into the case. Some standard pillow cases have zippers, but this isn’t the norm. Similar to other types of pillow cases, standard pillow cases are available in a variety of colors, patterns, and styles, and manufacturers make standard pillow cases in varying thread counts. Typically, standard cases included in sheet sets match the sheets in the set. Yet, people who use standard pillows with queen- or king-sized beds, or use more than one or two pillows on their beds, must find separate cases to match their sheets.

On that note, a person can purchase a standard pillow case separately or as part of a sheet set or pillow case set. Typically, sets include one or two pillow cases, a fitted sheet for the mattress, and a flat sheet for cover. Sets for twin-sized beds usually include only one standard pillow case. Although some sets for queen-sized beds include cases larger than the standard size, it’s not uncommon to find standard pillow cases with queen-sized sheet sets. Sets for king-sized beds nearly always include two king-sized pillow cases.

PillowGuide is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By donasmrs — On Aug 19, 2014

I use standard pillow cases. I sleep with three pillows and I change the covers once a week. So I need something that's convenient and easy to put on and remove. The pillow cases I use are completely open on one side but there is a flap. So the pillow stays in without buttons or zippers. These are super easy to use.

I also only use 100% cotton pillow cases. Other types of fabric are either not soft enough or make me sweat at night. Cotton is great.

By burcinc — On Aug 19, 2014

@fBoyle-- There is no difference between a standard pillow case and a housewife. They are the same thing, you can use these terms interchangeable. Both simply refer to a pillow case without borders where the pillow fills up the case entirely. Another type of pillow case is the Oxford pillow case which has borders around it.

I think most people prefer the standard pillow case but the Oxford pillow case is also becoming increasingly popular. The standard pillow case is comfortable, easy to use and made from a variety of fabrics. The Oxford pillow case is also made from a different range of fabrics but because of the border it's more decorative. So if you want a decorative touch to your pillow case, you will like the Oxford style.

By fBoyle — On Aug 18, 2014

What is the difference between a standard pillow case and a housewife pillow case? Are there other types of pillow cases? Which type do most prefer?

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