What Type of Pillow Filling Is Best

Down or Feather Pillow: Most down pillows can be put in the washing machine. But use cool water and a mild detergent, then dry on low heat. (High temperatures can damage the down.)

The undercoating of a bird’s feathers is called down. More specifically, it’s the bottom, fluffy part of a bird’s feather. Down holds its loft up to 3 times longer than synthetic alternatives and is very soft.

Advantages of Down Pillow Filling:
moldable/malleable – a down pillow tends to hold its shape well, offering good support for your head and neck
light and cuddly – down pillows are very light (heavy feathers don’t work very well for flying after all!) and soft
durable – with proper care, a down pillow can last for several years
sustainable – down is a renewable resource that is biodegradable and recyclable

Disadvantages of Down Pillow Filling:
absorbs and retains body heat which can make your pillow feel warm and uncomfortable
consistent refluffing is required to prevent them from flattening out
difficult to clean
can be too soft for some, resulting in inconsistent support that elevates your head too high or low
some consider the harvesting of down to be inhumane

Memory Foam or Latex Pillow: Washer agitation can break up foam, so these pillows will probably need to be hand-washed. Vacuum dust off of the pillow, then spot clean with a damp cloth and a small amount of mild detergent. Lay the pillow flat to air dry.

Most mass-produced memory foam pillows consist of a single piece of box-shaped memory foam. Some consumers swear by them. But for most, the simple fact that most memory foam pillows are not moldable is a deal-breaker. No matter how you squish or sculpt it, the memory foam bounces back to its original rectangular shape. Because of this limitation, most prefer “shredded” memory foam. As the name implies, it’s memory foam that’s been torn into tiny pieces. The individual pieces of foam move independently, allowing your pillow to be moldable.

Advantages of Shredded Memory Foam Pillow Fill:
doesn’t clump
offers good support

Disadvantages of Shredded Memory Foam Pillow Fill:
chemical odor
potentially dangerous “off-gassing”
can soften and become too thin when body heat is absorbed, resulting in inconsistent support that doesn’t elevate your head high enough

Polyester Pillow: Wash with warm water on the gentle cycle, preferably a few pillows at a time to balance the load. Be sparing with the detergent—use about 1 tablespoon of liquid soap.

Polyester fiberfill, also referred to by it’s trademarked name, Poly-Fil, is a popular option thanks to its low price. It’s lightweight, easy to clean, and did I mention it’s CHEAP? Fiberfill isn’t very breathable, so it can make your pillow fill warm; it will absorb and retain your body heat. Additionally, the fibers tend to clump which can quickly make your pillow feel flat and lumpy. Avoid polyester pillow filling unless you’re specifically looking for the most cost-effective option.

Polyester Pillow Filling Advantages:
dirt cheap
easy to clean

Polyester Pillow Filling Disadvantages:
clumps easily requiring frequent readjustment and a lumpy pillow
short life span due to the clumping issue
potentially hazardous to your health and the environment — the production of polyester fibers involves the use of nasty chemical ingredients like formaldehyde, benzene, toluene and other toxins
not moldable/malleable
not breathable — can feel warm

Buckwheat Hulls Pillow: Empty the buckwheat filling onto a large cookie sheet or wide, shallow bowl. Set the buckwheat out in the sun, which will eliminate odors, and wash the shell casing using cold water and a mild detergent.

Buckwheat hulls are firm yet highly malleable and breathable, which makes them ideal pillow fill.Full disclosure: we sell buckwheat pillows. We love these things! We’ve tried a lot of different types of pillow filling, and we think nothing beats all-natural, old-fashioned buckwheat hulls. We started manufacturing buckwheat pillows because we thought they were simply the best.

Advantages of Buckwheat Hull Pillow Filling:
superior support to all other pillow filling — buckwheat hulls will conform perfectly to the shape of your head and neck
breathable/promotes air flow keeping you cool
long life-span
moldable/malleable – it holds its shape and offers terrific support

Disadvantages of Buckwheat Hull Pillow Filling:
buckwheat hulls make a rustling noise when shifted
heavy — a 20×26″ buckwheat pillow weighs around 8 pounds
too firm for some — buckwheat hull filling does not collapse under pressure, which can feel “hard” to those acclimated to soft pillow types