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You’ve heard of memory foam pillows, feather pillows, and that strange Purple pillow, but bamboo? What do you know about that? If all you know about bamboo is that it looks like large grass, you may be in for a treat.
You may not know this, but material made from sustainable bamboo can be a revolution for your sleep, but you’ve got to figure out if it’s the right one for you. You probably recognize the bamboo plant, but how do they turn that into a soft, supportive pillow?
We’ve got answers for your questions, and we’ve put together a list of our five favorite bamboo pillows to help get you started. Let’s take a look.
What Is A Bamboo Pillow Exactly?
Bamboo feels a lot like a resilient down. It uses a soft fiber from the inner part of bamboo to create a moldable, supportive pillow. They often contain an inner memory foam shell or blends of shredded memory foam to alter the feeling and support of the pillow itself.
It’s naturally breathable and hypoallergenic. It holds its shape well, so you don’t have to flip or fluff your pillow as you move through the night.
What Type Of Bamboo Is Available?
There are two common types of materials when you see “bamboo.”
All Natural Bamboo
Natural Bamboo pulp is the eco-friendly version of this material. It creates a spongy feeling in your pillow and stays cooler overall. You don’t need to readjust your pillow through the night because it’s responsive and retains its own shape well.
Viscose is the synthetic version of this pillow. As bamboo pulp is being processed, a range of chemicals treats the pulp and helps shape it into your pillow material. Because it’s so highly processed, it can’t be called natural anymore. Semi-synthetic viscose is harder but overall cheaper than natural bamboo.
What Are The Benefits Of Bamboo?
Natural bamboo fibers are very cool. If you have trouble with temperature regulation during the night, this can be an excellent option to keep you cooler. Because air circulation is so good, they also help keep moisture down by allowing it to dry quickly (which creates an even more cooling pillow surface).
Bamboo is also naturally hypoallergenic. If you can’t handle feathers or down, and you don’t like the smell of memory foam, natural bamboo can offer an alternative that’s dust mite and allergen free. They’re also much easier to clean so you can keep surface allergens at bay as well.
In fact, nearly all bamboo pillows are machine washable, making them durable and easy to care for. The ones that aren’t can tolerate hand washing, so you never have to drop your pillows at the dry cleaner’s again.
They’re also eco-friendly. Bamboo is one of the most sustainable materials on the planet to grow and harvest. Unlike memory foam, which is a petroleum-based product, and down, which sometimes uses animal cruelty to harvest, bamboo is straightforward to harvest and easy to grow back.
It grows year-round in many locations and is ready for another harvest once cut in as little as a few weeks. It’s kind of amazing.
Bamboo pillows are very durable. They can be more expensive, but you won’t be replacing them every three months like you would one of those cheap polyfill pillows from other stores. They regulate heat and moisture so effectively that they just don’t break down the way cheap pillows do.
What Are The Downsides Of Bamboo?
Finding 100% all-natural bamboo can be tough. Most are combined with other materials to create the pillow. Be sure you know what you’re getting when you purchase one.
They can also be more expensive than other pillows. Granted, you can find bamboo pillows to fit a variety of price ranges, the most common ones are going to be a more significant investment for you.
Because bamboo is often combined with memory foam, it may have a smell. Memory foam can off-gas for a while especially if the pillow has been in packaging materials for a long time. Bamboo itself is less likely to irritate your respiratory allergies, but you might lose that benefit if you combine it with memory foam.
Most bamboo pillows are adjustable, but if yours isn’t, there’s not as much room for error. It doesn’t compress as much as other types of fillings, so if you order the wrong size, you could be stuck with a pillow that’s way too firm.
How Do I Care For My Bamboo Pillow?
Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your pillow.
When your pillow first arrives, make sure you allow it to air out. This is especially true if your pillow is mixed with any type of memory foam. Those gasses can cause respiratory irritation and poor sleep if it isn’t allowed to air out before you use it.
You may also have to fluff your bamboo pillow right after you remove the packaging. It can come compressed in the box and may need time to inflate again fully. Allow it time to do so, and then allow a few weeks for the pillow materials to break in before you make a judgment about if you like it.
Washing Your Pillow
You should wash your bamboo pillow once every few months to keep it smelling and looking fresh. It also helps wash away any surface mites or other allergens that can accumulate on the cover materials.
Some are machine washable, but the best way to wash the pillow is usually by hand. You can fill up your sink or bathtub and allow the pillow to soak in lukewarm water with mild laundry detergent.
Gently agitate the water and massage the soap through the pillow. Dump the dirty water and rinse the pillow by massaging clean water through it until the water runs clear and clean.
The best way to dry the pillow is by giving it time to air dry. However, if you’re in a rush, you can tumble some of the water out on the mildest setting on your dryer for 20 to 30 minutes.
Use A Pillowcase
The cover material may be very soft, but having an extra layer between your face and the pillow can help prevent some kinds of oils and allergens from contaminating the surface of the pillow. Pillowcases are much easier to clean than the pillows themselves, so it’s essential that you find one you like and use it. You could also use a pillow protector if you want to get really serious about keeping your pillow clean.
The Best Bamboo Pillows
Here are our favorite bamboo pillows to get you started.
Snuggle-Pedic’s combination of shredded memory foam and bamboo creates a soft pillow that still manages to retain its shape. It’s 43% viscose bamboo and features a cooling cover material with micro-vents.
It’s CertiPur-US certified and machine washable to help remove surface allergens. The cover itself is also hypoallergenic and helps reduce the number of surface contaminants that make it to the interior of your pillow. It conforms to your head and neck thoroughly and comes in three different sizes, standard, king, and queen.
It comes with a 90-day sleep trial, so you should have plenty of time to figure out if you like it. Also, Snuggle-Pedic guarantees their pillows for a period of 20 years, so you’ll never worry about premature defects or your pillow falling apart.
It’s on the softer side, so if you need a really firm pillow, this one may not work. However, for most sleepers, it should do the trick.
- excellent warranty and sleep trial
- CertiPur-US certified
- machine washable cover
- on the softer side
This one uses 100% viscose for the filling and a natural bamboo cover material. If you don’t want anything mixed in with your pillow, this is the one. It has an adjustable thickness for your specific sleep preference and requires much less fluffing than standard pillows. You unzip the inner lining and take out or put back in the filling until it feels like exactly the right thing for you. It’s easy to store the materials, and the pillow can change with you as your own sleep preferences and habits change.
It’s very cool and highly breathable. The material quickly wicks heat and moisture away so that the surface of the pillow remains refreshing. It’s naturally allergen and dust mite resistant. The cover is machine washable to remove surface allergens.
The pillow comes in three different sizes, standard, king, and queen. Plus, you have a 30-day money back guarantee if you decide that the pillow isn’t the right one for you. It’s affordable and should suit most sleep positions.
- adjustable filling levels
- naturally hypoallergenic
- 100% bamboo inside and out
- can get lumpy if you take any of the filling out
Coop Home Goods Adjustable Cooling Pillow – Best Bamboo Cover
Coop Home Goods’ pillow is a shredded memory foam blend with a bamboo cover. It’s ultra cooling and super plush with good height. It uses a quilted cover for durability and strength.
It’s highly moldable, but air pockets within the shredded foam are breathable. It keeps cool air continually running through the pillow and allows any moisture to evaporate quickly. The result is a really refreshing pillow that should satisfy combination sleepers.
You’ll have to fluff the pillow some, but it does maintain a lot of its shape in spite of its malleability. The cover can come unzipped to machine wash as well as to adjust the foam inside. It’s good for people who have specific sleep preferences because you can add or remove the foam until it feels exactly right.
The pillow can change with as your needs change. It’s also good for those on the heavier side because memory foam doesn’t suffer from as much compression as other types of materials. It comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, so you’re covered if it just isn’t your thing.
- shredded memory foam resists compression
- adjusts to all sleep positions
- washable cover
- has a slight off-gassing odor
Langria Luxury Bamboo Pillow – Best Budget Option
Langria’s pillow is also premium memory foam with a bamboo cover. It’s a good alternative for those on a strict budget, but it won’t lose its shape, and you don’t sacrifice durability.
Shredded memory foam pieces encourage airflow and breathability, wicking away heat and allowing moisture to evaporate quickly. It’s low odor and VOC while the outer bamboo cover is naturally hypoallergenic. The surface is soft and conforms to your head and neck for proper support.
You can unzip the inner cotton pouch to adjust the amount of filling you have in the pillow. You can keep filling around just in case your needs change, and you can have something that changes with you. It’s suitable for multiple types of sleep positions because of this ability.
The cover is machine washable, and the pillow comes with a cotton pouch for saving memory foam just in case you want to use it later.
- includes a pouch to store unused memory foam filling
- excellent budget option
- machine washable cover
- not 100% bamboo in the filling or the cover
Clara Clark Adjustable Loft Pillow – Best Multiple Pack
Our last pillow uses hypoallergenic memory foam for a high loft that molds well to your neck and shoulders. The cover uses 40% bamboo for proper air flow. It quickly wicks heat away from your head and neck and allows moisture to evaporate quickly for a refreshing surface.
It’s machine washable, helping to reduce surface contaminants. It comes with a free carrying case for when you’re traveling. The embroidery on the front could almost stand by itself. It’s dust mite resistant and doesn’t usually gather mold.
It’s good for side and back sleepers who need a bit more loft, but stomach sleepers may have some trouble keeping their spines straight. Otherwise, it’s suitable for many types of sleep preferences and positions.
It’s lightweight, and you shouldn’t need to fluff it as you sleep. It also comes with a guarantee and a refund if you hate it.
- comes in a two or four pack
- reasonable price
- suitable for many sleep positions and preferences
- stomach sleepers may find it too thick
Bamboo pillows are an excellent alternative to some more environmentally caustic materials, but keep in mind that to keep cost down, you’ll probably have to find bamboo blends. That’s not a big deal. The cover itself can help shield you from the effects of memory foam or other synthetic materials. It’s naturally hypoallergenic and usually straightforward to clean.
Bamboo is naturally cooler than traditional pillows, so if you find yourself sleeping hotter than the average person, this could be a good alternative. It’s breathable and allows moisture to evaporate more quickly.
It’s sometimes more expensive, but since bamboo can last a lot longer than other types of materials, you wouldn’t have to replace your pillow nearly as often. We’d definitely trade some cost for durability, and we don’t have a problem at all spending a little more for our health and wellbeing. With bamboo, we can do that without worrying about the environmental cost. It’s just one more perk with this interesting material.