If you’re not already looking for the best organic pillow for your bed, here’s why you should be… In one study, it was discovered that 16 species of fungi could live in your pillow. And most of the stuffing attracts dust mites that are allergy-causing.
But that’s not even the worst part about pillows. Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) are flame-retardant chemicals that are found in many household items, from your TV to your pillows!
Increased exposure of these PBDEs can cause a number of health problems from permanent memory loss to liver damage. Organic pillows are a safer option, both for the individuals using them and the environment they’re made in.
Deciding to live your life in a way that reduces your carbon footprint and makes for healthier breathing is admirable, but it takes time. We can’t get rid of every single toxic item in our homes, especially all at once.
But we can control where we lay our heads at night. Keep reading to uncover some of the best organic pillows for a healthy good night’s sleep.
What Are Some of the Best Organic Pillows Materials and Pillow Makers?
As we move toward healthier and more sustainable living, there are plenty of manufacturers whose products make it easier to do so. There are a plethora of pillow makers and plenty of safe filling materials so we’ll just mention a few to get you started.
11 Best Organic Pillows of 2019
Check out our recommended types of pillows and our picks for the best organic pillows and brands this year.
Kapok is a great material made from trees, and it’s naturally hypoallergenic and dust mite-free. It feels a lot like down and is much lighter than cotton. It’s also water and mold resistant, and it dries quickly.
Bean Products make Kapok filled pillows covered in a washable 100% organic cotton cover. We love that Bean Products pillows are filled with a variety of different organic materials, and available in a plethora of sizes. The company makes GOTS certified pillows for your home.
The SkinnyPillow company boasts an Oragnic Kapok pillow that will boost your sleep no matter what position you prefer. The Kapok filled pillows are made in the USA. They come with an organic cotton cover as well. You can choose between medium and soft firmness- and 4 different sizes.
Organic Buckwheat Pillows
Pinetales has a couple of awesome organic options on our list. Their Ultimate Buckwheat Pillow is made from 100% organic buckwheat hulls, and is covered by a cotton pillowcase. What’s great about Buckwheat pillows are their hypoallergenic qualities since they don’t hold onto dust-mites in quite the same way.
If you want to take things to another level of clean living, we suggest their pillow that features an Unbleached Cotton Twill case. This particular size we feature is Japanese Size (14″ x 20″).
This organic buckwheat pillow is another great option with a natural and unbleached cotton filling. One thing to remember if you’re considering a buckwheat pillow- is that it is a firm and heavy build. However, buckwheat hulls will form nicely to your head, and cool more quickly compared to memory foams.
Organic Wool Pillows
Believe it or not, wool is an excellent pillow material option as it is naturally pest-resistant and flame-resistant. It’s also quite breathable and helps to cool the body down.
White Lotus is one of the “top dogs” when it comes to organic bedding. They use a wool filling in this pillow. It’s encased in Organic sateen with a zipper for easy cleaning. White lotus products are all handmade in the USA. Their buckwheat pillows are a bit heavier but are great for neck support and back sleepers, in particular.
White Lotus Home offers a myriad of options like shredded latex, kapok, buckwheat, and wool. They have a great buckwheat and wool blend that is aptly referred to as Buckwool. The cover is made from 100% cotton.
PureTree makes shredded latex pillows that are non-toxic and chemical-free. They’re also covered in 100% GOTS certified cotton. It’s an extremely eco-friendly organic pillow that’s even machine washable!
If you love memory foam, go with shredded latex. Some of these pillows may have a slight rubbery smell, but there are no harsh chemicals or off-gassing involved. The shredded latex is the best substitute for the memory foam feel.
OrganicTextiles products have achieved two certifications: the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Surrounded by an organic cotton cover, this pillow is as pro-earth as it gets. It’s not going to have any off-gassing problems, and is resistant to dust mites, mold, and bacteria.
Best Organic Down Pillows
OrganicTextiles also makes amazing down pillows, that are filled with non-toxic down that hasn’t been treated with any harsh chemicals. The down has been washed thoroughly with all natural soap. As is what’s typical with our list- it’s covered with a 100% organic cotton pillow cover.
Organic Cotton Pillows
One more White Lotus pillow makes our list- this time filled with 100% organic cotton. One thing that we love about this particular pillow is that it is available in a ton of different sizes and firmness options. You can even get it in a body pillow!
Dust Mites and Allergens and Mold, Oh My!
Before we even talk about the chemicals that are found in pillows, let’s cover the other stuff.
What’s Happening Right Under Your Head
As your pillows get older, they accumulate things like dead skin cells, oil, and dirt. They also accumulate things like bacteria, mold, dust mites, and fungi. These allergens build up over time, especially if you don’t have a pillow protector or wash your pillows on a regular basis.
These accumulations can cause sneezing, wheezing, or other reactions, especially in those who do suffer from asthma or allergies.
Common Pillow Inhabitants
- One of the most common fungi, Aspergillus fumigatus, can cause reactions in people without any respiratory issues. Synthetic pillows tend to have higher concentrations of fungi.
- Mold accumulates fast and creates millions of spores that are harmful when breathed in.
- Dust mites leave droppings. Those droppings have been known to cause hay fever, rhinitis (inflammation of the nose), and eczema. And that’s not even the worst of what you find in pillows.
There are many toxins which generate harmful effects, especially after years of sleeping. If you want to make sure your whole bed setup is free of harmful things, make sure you check out organic bedding, as well.
What Do Flame Retardants Do?
Many pillows contain flame retardants, especially foam ones.
In the 1970s, a California law passed that required things like upholstered furniture to withstand a candle flame for up to 12 seconds.
Manufacturers began putting flame retardants in anything and everything from baby changing tables and mattresses to car seats and pillows! Now, manufacturers have begun removing these harsh flame retardant chemicals because of growing scientific research that shows how harmful these things are.
PBDE in Non-Organic Pillows
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (also known as PBDEs) are non-biodegradable. Over time, they build up significantly in your home. Because memory foam pillows and other foam products are made with polyurethane (which is highly combustible), PBDEs are used to treat the foam and make it much less susceptible to the effects of flames.
PBDEs may disrupt hormones, especially in growing bodies. There are a number of other health risks associated with PBDEs, especially as research continues.
What Other Toxins Are Found in Pillows?
Have you ever opened a new pillow or a mattress, only to be overwhelmed by that “chemical” smell? That’s referred to as “off-gassing.”
Memory foam, in particular, has become infamous for its off-gassing effects. As the chemicals in the foam break down over time, they disperse into the air and are breathed in.
What is that Smell?!
The emissions come from VOCs (volatile organic compounds). You’ll find these compounds in things that transform into gases or vapors. Almost everything emits VOCs in some form or another; even fruit does!
But what’s important to determine is how harmful those particular VOCs are. Some have no known negative effects, whereas some are extremely toxic.
While the odor from a new pillow will dissipate within days or weeks, that doesn’t mean that all the VOCs have left the building. Many of them are odorless and will continue to wreak havoc for as long as the product is being used.
If you’re concerned about off-gassing in your home, look for the best organic pillows or natural pillows that back their claims up with certifications.
Perfumes and deodorizers are more additives that can disrupt the respiratory system and give off harmful odors. Many foam product manufacturers use these products to mask the smell of the foam. So you’re getting the VOCs from the foam and those added perfumes.
What Certifications Should You Look for in Each Material?
Whether you’re looking for a new organic cotton pillow or even foam or down pillow, there are ways to make sure that you’re not buying a product pumped full of chemicals.
Don’t be swayed by something labeled as “natural” or “organic.” While it’s more likely that these options will be chemical-free, you should still check with the manufacturer to be sure.
Memory foam pillows tend to have the highest concentration of chemicals. However, if you absolutely love the feel of these memory foam pillows, there are some manufacturers who are transparent about their use of chemicals.
Some are quite low and use soy-derived foam combined with petroleum-based foam. Check for a CertiPur certification. Or consider Latex as a better option.
Down and Feather
Down and feather pillows are typically clean and free of chemicals. Some fills are treated though, so check with the manufacturer are their process if you want to find something completely hypoallergenic and chemical-free.
Make sure you inquire about the cover as well. Even “organic cotton” fabrics may use cotton that has been treated and sprayed.
Latex pillows are usually made with latex that is certified by OEKO-Tex. Most are a blend of synthetic and natural materials, so be sure to check with manufacturers to see how much of the pillow is natural latex.
Look for third-party certifications like CertiPUR-US, GreenGuard, OEKO-TEX, and GOTS (just to name a few). Third-party ensures that the company which certified the product in question has no affiliation with the product or company.
Now here is a tricky one. We love bamboo products- but bamboo pillows aren’t always what they claim. Typically if you see bamboo advertised as part of a pillow- it is only the cover. The filling is usually made from something else.
When I was browsing Amazon, Wayfair, and a couple of other major retailers- I saw something interesting. Brands are using a form of greenwashing when it comes to Bamboo pillows. They are using the title of “100% Organic Bamboo Pillow” to rope in consumers to buying a pillow that’s only covered in organic bamboo- while the inside of it is filled with regular ol’ harmful filling. It’s a way for these companies to bring in the organic consumer that isn’t as familiar with the market and manufacturing.
Read carefully! Thoroughly vet your options- including the ones we’ve recommended.
What Are Some Tips and Tricks for Great Pillow Health?
Changing your lifestyle takes time, and it can also be expensive. If you aren’t ready to buy all new pillows for your home yet, investing in some excellent organic pillow covers will help protect you from harmful toxins, mold, and pests, even if it’s memory foam you’re sleeping on.
Make sure that you wash your pillows regularly, or at the very least, cover them will pillow protectors for UNDERNEATH your pillowcases.
Take your time to research what you think may work best for you and any other sleepers in your family. Order one at a time so that you make sure you’re still getting something that provides you with the peace and comfort that you need.
Check with manufacturers for certifications and best practices to ensure you’re spending your money in the right place.
Organic Pillows Will Change Your Life
Not only are organic pillows better for the environment, but they’re also better for your health and your sleep.
Many pillows, especially those made with memory foam, contain harmful chemicals that take a toll on your health after years of sleeping. There are many safe and healthy alternatives that are just as comfortable and not too expensive.
Do you want another inexpensive way to start living healthier? Check out the 20 best water bottles and choose one for yourself today.
You’ll reduce your carbon footprint AND eliminate another way in which toxins enter your body.