If you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, you should consider using a natural pillow.
Natural pillows are made with materials like latex, organic wool, or down feathers, which allow your head and neck to rest in a neutral position.
This can help reduce the amount of pain you experience in the morning and improve your overall health by reducing the number of toxins you breathe in at night.
But what exactly is a natural pillow? And which one is the best?
Read on, and I’ll reveal all…and help you avoid the greenwashing pitfalls!
They Say The plushness of a traditional pillow with the resilient bounce of latex. Mold and shape it endlessly. The latex fill is soft and pliable, conforming to your comfort needs. Covered in cool, breathable organic cotton, this pillow promotes naturally healthy sleep.
We Say: PlushBeds is one of my favorite sleep brands. I’ve used/recommended them in the past for mattress protectors, cotton comforters, mattresses, furniture, bamboo sheets, wool comforters, and bed frames.
It’s the brand we use the most in our bedrooms at home. It’s also the brand I’ve made my overall winner the most.
And now they’ve knocked it out of the park again with this organic shredded latex pillow.
I find solid latex pillows a little too hard for my liking. But this shredded offering is sublime! It’s the perfect level of support and comfort for me.
The Standard size has a 4” loft. The Queen and King sizes have a loft of 5”.
It’s rated as a medium-firm pillow, making it perfect for side sleepers and back sleepers.
The organic cotton cover is breathable, cool, and silky soft to the touch.
The eco-credentials of this pillow are beyond reproach. The latex fill is certified organic by GOLS, and the organic cotton cover is certified by GOTS (the gold standard certification program for organic pillows).
This pillow comes with a three-year warranty and free shipping within the contiguous U.S.
Returns are not accepted due to sanitary reasons. However, if your pillow develops a fault in the first three years, PlushBeds will replace it for free and ask you to dispose of the faulty one responsibly.
Not that I expect you to have an issue. We’ve had these pillows for a long time, and they’re still as comfortable as the day they arrived.
They Say: Featuring a solid core of extra-soft organic latex, this pillow is exceptionally comfortable and supportive while cradling your head for proper spinal alignment. The core is wrapped in our signature organic cotton stretch-knit fabric for a luxurious finish. Sleeps cool and never goes flat!
We Say: This is another incredible organic pillow from a returning brand here on TheRoundup. I’ve used/recommended Naturepedic in the past for mattress protectors, mattresses, bedding, crib mattresses, and mattress toppers.
There was nothing much between this pillow and my overall winner from PlushBeds. It all came down to firmness preference.
This pillow is firmer than the PlushBeds one. Not massively. But enough to be noticeable.
So, if you like a firmer pillow, this is the one for you.
My sister-in-law suffers from neck pain, and she swears by this pillow. It helps her get a full eight hours of sleep and wake up fully refreshed and pain-free.
This Naturepedic pillow matches the PlushBed one stride for stride when it comes to eco-credentials.
It’s one seriously impressive organic pillow. The latex is GOLS certified, and the cotton cover is GOTS certified. It’s also certified non-toxic by MADE SAFE.
Talking about the cover, it’s a thing of beauty. The stretch-knit fabric of the organic cotton cover is so soft you might find yourself slowly stroking it as you drift off to sleep.
I also love that Naturepedic is a member of 1% For The Planet and also Rain Forest Alliance and GREENGUARD certified.
You only get a one-year warranty with this pillow (compared with three years with PlushBeds), but you do get free returns and a 30-night sleep trial (something that PlushBeds don’t offer).
There are no shipping costs to pay if you live within the contiguous U.S.
They Say: Our lovable non-toxic pillow has an adjustable fill, made from GOLS certified organic latex and GOTS certified organic kapok. The fill is stuffed within an inner organic jersey cotton liner. The liner lives inside a machine-washable, zippered GOTS organic certified quilted cotton cover. Our Green Pillow delivers a natural, fresh, medium-plush feel. GREENGUARD Gold certified, vegan, and handmade in Los Angeles.
We Say: Another sleep-related article, another mention of snoozy powerhouse Avocado!
So it probably comes as no surprise that I also recommend this pillow.
Not that it made it onto the list solely by the brand’s strength. It’s here totally on merit.
The Avocado Green Pillow is, hands down, the best kapok pillow option I tested. The rest felt stiff and uncomfortable. But the Avocado Green Pillow is different. The mix of latex and kapok gives a softer, fluffier feel that’s exactly like down while still maintaining excellent levels of support.
I also love the customizability of this pillow. You can add or remove filling to get the perfect loft for your sleep style.
The pillow is made with GOLS certified organic latex and GOTS certified organic kapok filling, and the cover is GOTS certified organic cotton. It’s also GREENGUARD Gold certified, vegan, and handmade in Los Angeles. IMPRESSIVE!
You get 100 nights to try this pillow in the comfort of your own home, and a one-year warranty covers your purchase.
In terms of shipping, not only is it free of cost…it’s also free of any carbon emissions.
They Say: With our Organic Cotton Pillow and Organic Cotton Filling our Body Pillow, you can find the perfect support and comfort level while sleeping on your side. Whether you have back pain, you can sleep in comfort knowing your organic cotton bed pillow is natural and unsurpassed for comfort.
We Say: Mrs. M suffered terribly from backache when pregnant with both of our daughters. A body pillow helped manage the pain at night and eventually stop it altogether.
I tested a handful of body pillows, and this one from The Futon Shop was my favorite.
Sleeping with a body pillow took some getting used to for me. But once I got the technique right (with a bit of help from Mrs. M), I started to see the appeal.
The organic credentials of this body pillow are excellent (organic cotton cover and fill), and I’d highly recommend it to anyone wanting to try a body pillow.
The $20 shipping fee is a little on the steep side. However, if you live close to a store, you can order for free in-store pick-up.
You’ll find Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in most bedding products, including pillows.
When these VOCs break down, they can break down into harmful toxins. These toxins can off-gas into the air and be inhaled, causing health problems.
Some of the potential health problems associated with exposure to these toxins include:
You can read more about VOCs, and some of the other toxins mentioned below, in my What Is CertiPUR-US Certified And Why Does It Matter? article.
One of the most toxic chemicals found in conventional pillows is formaldehyde. This chemical is used to treat the fill material and cover material and can be released into the air over time.
Another concern with conventional pillows is the synthetic fibers they are made with. These fibers can irritate the skin and cause allergies.
Synthetic fibers are also more damaging to the environment than natural fibers and sustainable fabrics.
Ethylene glycol is a potentially toxic chemical found in most polyester pillows. It’s inhaled during sleep and has been linked with kidney damage.
PVC is a type of plastic used to construct some of the cheaper conventional pillows.
PVC is made from petroleum and is not eco-friendly at all. It can also off-gas petroleum-based chemicals while you sleep.
Many conventional pillows are treated with fire retardants. These chemicals can be released into the air and reduce air quality.
Memory foam pillows made with CertiPUR-US certified foam are guaranteed not to contain the following toxic flame retardants:
There is no fire retardant regulation in uncertified foam.
Terms like ’natural’ and ’eco-friendly’ are thrown around by manufacturers all the time.
However, they’re pretty meaningless without certifications and accreditations to back them up.
Organic pillows are made from organic materials, grown using organic farming techniques, and manufactured in organic and sustainable supply chains.
This means they’re free from harmful chemicals, pesticides, and other toxins and made in a way that doesn’t damage the environment (by using renewable energy or recycled materials, for example).
Your pillow should be high enough to support your head and neck but not so high that it causes pain or discomfort.
There are a few different types of fill material used in organic pillows:
The cover of your organic pillow is just as important as the fill material. You want a breathable cover that will wick away moisture. The most popular materials for organic pillow covers (and eco-friendly bedding in general) are:
When shopping for an organic pillow, look for certifications from respected and well-known organizations. This will give you valuable assurances that you’re buying a product as organic as the marketing material claims.
Some key certifications to look out for include:
There are some other certifications that, while not explicitly related to organic products, are also good to look out for:
Your pillow should support your head and neck, regardless of your sleep position.
If you sleep on your side, look for a pillow that’s soft and squishy. This will help fill the space between your ear and shoulder.
If you sleep on your stomach, look for a flatter pillow. This will help keep your spine in alignment.
If you sleep on your back, look for a pillow that’s firm and supportive. This will help keep your head and neck in line with your spine.
Organic pillows come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Choose the one that best fits your support needs, as mentioned above.
Organic pillows come in different firmness levels, so choose carefully.
A pillow that’s too firm could potentially cause painful pressure points. A pillow that’s too soft might not provide enough support.
The best way to find the perfect firmness level is to try out a few different pillows in person. But if that’s not possible, maybe start with a pillow with a ’medium-firm’ or ’medium’ rating.
The pressure relief offered by your pillow is usually a combination of size, shape, support, and firmness, so it might take a few trial runs to find your perfect organic pillow.
However, there are pillows available that are actively marketed as being suitable for relieving neck and back pressure/pain.
Organic pillows are one product where I firmly believe you get what you pay for.
When shopping for an organic pillow, pay attention to the quality of the materials and try to stretch your budget as far as you can afford.
If you want the ultimate comfort and support, look for a pillow that you can mold into different shapes.
Organic and sustainable products are usually more expensive.
This is because it costs more to produce the raw materials and pay everyone a fair wage in the supply chain.
Organic pillows are more expensive than conventional pillows. But they’re worth the investment.
There are plenty of benefits to using an organic pillow:
It’s not all plain sailing, though. There are a few downsides to organically produced pillows:
But, the pros far outweigh the cons.
Spot clean spills immediately to prevent them from soaking into the pillow.
If the pillow has a removable machine washable cover, I’d recommend washing at a low temperature using eco-friendly laundry detergent.
Always check the care label to ensure you don’t do anything that will damage your pillow.
Organic pillows are made with natural materials that have been certified as organic. This means they’re free from harmful chemicals and toxins. Because of this, they shouldn’t have any odors.
However, some organic latex might have a slight smell straight out of the wrapper. Simply leave it in a well-ventilated room for a few hours, and the smell should disappear.
Most organic pillows are vegan as they’re usually made with latex and organic cotton. However, some use down and organic wool, which is not vegan.
Always check the product description or contact customer support to be 100% certain. If you like the feel of down, you should try kapok.
Yes. To help prolong the life of your pillow, I recommend using a pillowcase.
Dunlop latex is made from rubber tree sap that’s whipped into a froth, poured into a mold, and then baked.
Talalay latex is also made from rubber tree sap, but it’s first whipped into a froth and then flash frozen. The frozen mixture is then placed in a mold and baked.
Some say Talalay latex is bouncier and has a more uniform cell structure than Dunlop latex. However, both types of latex are excellent choices for pillows.
The yellow stains on your pillow are from the sweat from your face and the grease from your hair.
Cheap and poorly made pillows don’t usually last as long as high-quality pillows. There is no real set time here.
Once your pillow starts to lose its shape and supporting qualities, it might be time to look to replace it. If you look after your organic pillow, it should last you many years.
The Birch Organic Pillow is a decent pillow but not good enough to make it onto a small and competitive list of recommendations for this article.
Check out my Top 4 Eco-Friendly Bed Bug Sprays (No Harsh Chemicals) article for tips on dealing with dust mites and bed bugs.
We spend around 33 years of our life in bed, so it’s crucial to ensure that our sleeping environment is as comfortable, relaxing, and healthy as possible.
One simple and relatively cost-effective way to improve your sleep is by using a natural pillow and avoiding conventional pillows that are potentially off-gassing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) all night while you sleep.
As mentioned in my bamboo mattresses article, you need to be careful and avoid manufacturers wrapping non-organic and potentially harmful (uncertified, cheap, off-gassing memory foam, for example) in an organic cotton pillow case and calling it an organic pillow.
I hope you’ve found this article useful. I’ve tried to cover everything you need to know and help you make a more informed decision when it comes to purchasing your next pillow.
Where do you buy your organic cotton pillows? Do you feel reassured when you see the global organic textile standard and global organic latex standard logos on your pillows?
Which brand do you feel makes the best organic pillows? Drop me a line and let me know.