In Depth Bedding Information

Buying a Bamboo Pillow: Top 5 Questions

Written by Natalie Wilson

If you are trying to decide whether buying bamboo pillows is the right choice for your bedroom, you’ve definitely got some questions you want answered before making your final decision. This blog post is here to answer the five biggest questions people have before they buy their first bamboo pillows.

Before we get to answering the questions, a quick overview for the uninitiated of what a bamboo pillow actually is since it isn’t totally clear from the name. A bamboo pillow is actually composed mostly of memory foam (a material developed by NASA in the 1960s) with a cover that is made of viscose bamboo. If you want to know more about viscose bamboo you can check out this blog post on the difference between various fabrics referred to by that name. So, the “bamboo” part of the name is really only referring to the super-soft outer cover of the pillow, while the actual filling is memory foam.

Okay, with that of the way, on to the five most common questions we get about bamboo pillows!

1. Can I wash a bamboo pillow?

Absolutely! Keeping your bamboo pillow clean by regularly washing it is definitely recommended.

To wash your bamboo pillow, you first remove the outer bamboo cover. This part can be washed just like you’d wash any pillowcase. Since it is bamboo fabric, you probably want to wash it with cold water, and dry it on the gentle cycle. It’s probably also a good idea not to mix it in with rough fabrics, particularly denim, as this can damage the bamboo fabric.

To wash the actual memory foam interior of the pillow, you can place the whole pillow in the washer. Try to make sure that the pillow is well-balanced in the washer since the memory foam absorbs water making it very heavy. If the pillow is all on one side of the washer the weight of the wet memory foam can make the washer load very unbalanced and damage the machine. You can also definitely hand wash the pillow.

If necessary, you can tumble dry the pillow on the lowest heat setting. Do check on the pillow while it is drying though to make sure it is not overheating. Every dryer is different in terms of its heat output, and too much heat can damage the memory foam.

We definitely recommend putting the pillow in the dryer every so often since this can help fluff up the pillow and prevent clumping of the memory foam.

2. Should I use a pillowcase?

It’s up to you. The bamboo covers on most bamboo pillows are really fantastic, and I just love how soft and plush they are. Since they are machine washable (see question 1), you don’t need to worry too much about protecting it from getting dirty. However, I can definitely understand wanting a pillowcase in order to match your bedroom decor.

The only recommendation I have is that you should go with bamboo pillowcases! It would defeat the purpose of a bamboo pillow if you then put a regular cotton pillowcase on it.

3. Does a bamboo pillow sleep cooler than other pillows?

In my opinion: yes. It’s hard to measure in an objective way how much cooler one pillow is compared to another, but as part of our testing for our comprehensive bamboo pillow buying guide, I tried out a ton of pillows. I think the shredded memory foam was cooler than other pillow materials that I’ve tried.

However, a lot of the shredded memory foam pillows out there tout the fact that their memory foam is “gel-infused” or something like that. They claim, and some customers agree, that this helps keep the pillow even cooler. While that might be true for some people, I really wasn’t able to tell the difference. Unless you are obsessive about getting a cooler pillow, I don’t think “gel-infused” memory foam should be a top priority.

4. Can I adjust the amount of foam in the pillow?

Yes, for our top recommendations. For instance both the Snuggle-Pedic and the coop home goods pillows have a zipper enclosed interior. All you need to do to remove some memory foam is unzip that interior lining and take out as much memory foam as you like. Coop home goods also sells extra 1/2 pound packages of memory foam on Amazon, so you can add as much as you like to get to optimal comfort. This was one of the reasons we recommended the coop home goods pillows so highly.

The first thing you see when opening the Coop Home Goods pillow box is a package of extra memory foam to fluff up your bamboo pillow!

5. How long will a bamboo pillow last?

About 2-3 years. This is how long any pillow should last. After that, it is really time to replace the pillow since the interior filling (whether it is memory foam or some other material) begins to wear out and there can be a buildup of oil and sweat from your body as well as dead skin cells. If you don’t want to take my word for it, you can rely on the advice of sleep expert Michael Breus, Ph.D., and author of the book Good Night:

If you have a plain-old, inexpensive polyester pillow, you should be replacing it every six months. But if you have a memory foam pillow or any one with structural integrity, it’ll last you anywhere from 18 to 36 months.

So there you have the answers to the most frequently asked bamboo pillow questions. If you still have more questions feel free to use the comment area below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can!

About the author

Natalie Wilson

When I'm not studying up on the latest eco-friendly ways to produce everyday items (particularly using bamboo), you can find me playing trivia at a local bar, or hanging out at the beach.

I love the idea of using an abundant resource like bamboo to make a huge varieties of items we use everyday.  Particularly when those are currently being made with plastic, or plants that require pesticides and a huge amount of water to grow.

Hopefully this site will inspire people to think about ways they can improve their sleep, decrease the strain they put on the environment, and generally get better, long-lasting products that are also sustainable and of higher quality than the products they are used to.

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