WHAT IS A BAMBOO PILLOW?

man going to sleep on a bamboo pillow

Have you ever wondered – what is a bamboo pillow? Well, a bamboo pillow is a type of pillow that’s made using an outer weave of bamboo material. It is the outside casing of the pillow that is made from bamboo. The pillow interior can be made from any type of material – with shredded memory foam being the most popular.

Bamboo is a sustainable material and comes with a range of benefits. The pillows are made using natural material and are hypoallergenic, anti-microbial, and eco-friendly. They also have a cooling and moisture-wicking effect. See below for everything you need to know about bamboo pillows.


BAMBOO PILLOW GUIDE

What Is Bamboo?

How Are They Made

Bamboo Pillow Filling

The Pros & Cons

How To Wash

Frequently Asked Questions


WHAT IS BAMBOO?

bamboo stalks in a forest

Although bamboo looks like a tall tree it is actually a type of grass. There are over 1,400 species of bamboo and it is most commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions such as Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the Indian and Pacific oceans.

It is an incredibly fast-growing plant and some species grow as much as one foot (30 centimeters) per day. And, it can reach heights of over 130 feet (40 meters). This means it is a highly sustainable and eco-friendly natural material. In comparison, trees take decades to mature before they can be harvested.


HOW ARE THEY MADE?

stack of bamboo pillows on a bed

How are bamboo pillows made? Bamboo pillows are made by processing bamboo pulp to create a smooth and soft fiber known as rayon. The stalk of a bamboo plant contains a substance called cellulose that makes the grass firm and tough.

To create a soft material this cellulose needs to be broken down and processed. This is done by dissolving the cellulose so that it loses its rigid structure. The result is a fine pulp that is woven into a thread called rayon.

Bamboo rayon fibers are one of the softest materials available and it is often referred to as artificial silk. It is this ultra-smooth rayon thread that is used to create the bamboo pillow casing.


BAMBOO PILLOW FILLING

woman sleeping on a bamboo pillow

What is a bamboo pillow filled with?  They can be filled with any type of material. However, the most common type of filling is memory foam. The foam can be either shredded or a single molded block of foam.

A bamboo pillow casing and a memory foam filling are a match made in heaven. Memory foam has a supportive and cradling feel. However, the material tends to trap heat and begin to feel warm while you sleep.

Bamboo on the other hand has a natural cooling and moisture-wicking effect. When you put the two together you get the best of both worlds – an incredibly comfortable supportive pillow that doesn’t overheat during the night.


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WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS & DISADVANTAGES OF A BAMBOO PILLOW?

lady asleep on ta bamboo pillow

What are the pros and cons of a bamboo pillow? See below, we cover everything you need to know about the advantages and disadvantages of using a bamboo pillow.

THE BENEFITS

SUPER SOFT FEEL

One of the most popular qualities of a bamboo pillow is its super soft feel. Resting your face on the surface of natural bamboo pillow casing is a comforting and reassuring experience. The rayon fibers used to make bamboo material have an incredibly smooth feel and are often referred to as artificial silk.

COOLING EFFECT

Bamboo is a naturally cooling fabric. It facilitates airflow and allows heat to escape from the pillow surface. This feature will help keep you feeling cool and comfortable while you sleep. The casing material of a bamboo pillow is made using natural rayon fibers. These fibers contain micro gaps and holes that allow air to pass through.

The ability to allow hot air to move freely acts as a natural ventilation system. If you are a hot sleeper and are looking for a fabric that will help keep your pillow cool throughout the night – try a bamboo pillow.

HYPOALLERGENIC

Bamboo pillows are naturally hypoallergenic. This means they are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction compared to other types of pillows. The bamboo rayon threads used to make the casing material are naturally mildew and dust mite resistant. This is welcome news for people that suffer from allergic reactions.

MOISTURE WICKING

Bamboo is a moisture-wicking material. The rayon threads found in bamboo pillows contain tiny holes and gaps. These gaps are great for soaking up moisture as well as facilitating airflow.

This means the pillow surface will absorb sweat while you sleep and help keep you feeling fresh and dry. Its wicking ability makes the material a popular choice for the manufacture of towels and reusable diapers.

ANTI-MICROBIAL

Manufacturers of bamboo pillows claim they are anti-microbial. This means they may resist the growth of microbes. It is believed they are less likely to be home to unpleasant nasties such as bacteria and mildew compared to other pillow types. And, your bamboo pillow will smell fresher for longer.

ECO-FRIENDLY CHOICE

Bamboo is an eco-friendly choice of material. In fact, it is a type of grass and grows much more rapidly compared to trees. This makes it a sustainable source that can be quickly and easily replaced. It is also a natural material, although chemicals are often used to process the raw material and produce the rayon threads.

EASY TO WASH

Bamboo pillows are easy to wash and keep clean. Just remove the bamboo pillow casing and wash it as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. Most bamboo pillowcases can be washed by hand. Once the casing is clean and dry you can pop it back on the pillow interior.

ADJUSTABLE FILLING

Most bamboo pillows have an adjustable filling. While the casing of the pillow is made from natural bamboo materials, the pillow interior can be filled using any material you choose. The most popular is memory foam. The memory foam inside a bamboo pillow is often shredded, meaning you can open it up and add or remove foam until you achieve the ideal feel for you.

STATIC-FREE

Bamboo pillows are soft-to-touch and naturally anti-static. This means your hair will not cling to the pillow surface as you move and change position while you sleep. Some other pillow types, especially cheaper varieties, can create a static charge and a clingy feel.

MAY HELP EASE SNORING

There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that bamboo pillows help reduce snoring. These pillows are often filled with memory foam which provides the support needed to promote proper head and neck alignment – and keep the airways open, unobstructed, and snore-free.

THE CONS

lady holding out hand and smiling

OFF-GASSING

Most bamboo pillows are filled using memory foam. And, memory foam tends to produce off-gassing when it is first unpacked. This is caused by the accumulation of volatile chemicals in the air-tight packaging the pillow is stored in.

When you first unpack a bamboo pillow you notice an unpleasant synthetic odor. However, don’t worry, off-gassing is temporary and the synthetic odors will pass in a day or two.

MEMORY FOAM IS DIFFICULT TO WASH

Most bamboo pillows are filled with memory foam. And, memory foam is difficult to wash. While you’ll have no problem cleaning the bamboo pillow case, the memory foam filling will be more of a challenge.

Memory foam doesn’t react well when exposed to moisture and is often damaged when it becomes wet. This means most pillow fillings will have to stay well clear of the washing machine.

CAN FEEL HEAVY

Many people are surprised when they feel the weight of a memory foam pillow. It is a dense foam and carries a significant weight compared to other pillow-filling materials. However, the material has excellent comfort and support qualities that allow it to contour around the shape of your head.

ADJUSTABLE FILLING

Many bamboo pillows contain an adjustable filling – such as shredded memory foam. This allows you to add or remove material until you reach your ideal level of comfort and support.

While this is largely a positive feature, it can take quite some time to determine your preferred level of filling. Prepare yourself for some time spent trying to remove and reapply foam until you find your sweet spot.

SHREDDED MEMORY FOAM

Shredded memory foam can be messy. Although it is a great choice of material in terms of cradling comfort and support – it can cause a right mess if you begin removing it from your pillow. It tends to create a static charge and clings to almost anything. Your best bet is to use a zip lock bag for storing any foam you remove from your pillow.

STORAGE & PACKING

Unfortunately, bamboo pillows can be negatively affected by the way they are packaged and stored during warehousing. Bamboo pillows are usually filled with memory foam. And, the pillows are rolled up and vacuum packed to reduce the size and make for easy storage.

If memory foam is rolled up tightly during storage it can take time to roll back to its original shape when you first unpack it. The foam will gradually bounce back to its original shape and regain its soft cushioning ability.


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HOW TO WASH A BAMBOO PILLOW?

picture of a washing machine

How do you clean a bamboo pillow? Bamboo pillows are easy to clean. All you have to do is carefully remove the bamboo pillow casing and wash it as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Most bamboo pillow casings can be hand washed in warm water.

The interior cushion of a bamboo pillow can be made using any material. However, the majority of pillows use a memory foam interior. Memory foam is difficult to clean.

It cannot be put through the washing machine and doesn’t do well when exposed to water. Your best bet is to keep the interior clean by regularly removing and washing the bamboo pillow casing.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

woman smiling and pointing direction

DO YOU USE A PILLOWCASE ON A BAMBOO PILLOW?

Bamboo pillows can be used with or without a pillowcase. You can add a pillowcase if you want to keep your bamboo pillow clean. A pillowcase can be easily removed and cleaned in a regular washing machine.

ARE BAMBOO PILLOWS GOOD?

Yes, bamboo pillows are good. They deliver a range of benefits including a cooling, hypoallergenic, and moisture-wicking sleeping surface. They are super soft, easy to wash, and eco-friendly. For more see the advantages of a bamboo pillow.

ARE BAMBOO PILLOWS GOOD FOR SIDE SLEEPERS?

Bamboo pillows are great for side sleepers. Many bamboo pillows have an adjustable filling that allows you to add or remove shredded foam. This will help you find your ideal level of support and positioning for comfortable side sleeping.

ARE BAMBOO PILLOWS FIRM?

Bamboo pillows can be filled with any material type. It is just the exterior casing that is made from bamboo. This means you can get bamboo pillows in all levels of firmness, from soft to medium, to firm.

ARE BAMBOO PILLOWS FILLED WITH MEMORY FOAM?

Most bamboo pillows are filled with memory foam. However, a bamboo pillow can be filled with any type of pillow filler, such as down, polyester, wool, and gel.

WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT BAMBOO PILLOWS?

Bamboo pillows are special because they are super soft, breathable, help keep you cool during the night, and are an eco-friendly choice. Bamboo is a sustainable resource thanks to the fact that it is made from a plant that grows rapidly and can be easily replaced.

ARE BAMBOO PILLOWS COMFORTABLE?

Yes, bamboo pillows are very comfortable. They provide a super-soft sleeping surface that is breathable and will help keep your face cool during the night. They can be filled using any material – so you can choose your preferred material for a comfortable night’s sleep.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JOSH HARDY – Senior Editor

Josh is senior editor at Mattress Comfort Guide. He is an industry expert with over 30 years of experience in the bed and mattress industry. Josh is a native of Albuquerque and is a graduate of the University of New Mexico. He holds an M.S. in Project Management and a B.S. in Earth & Planetary Sciences.

He has worked in both the retail and manufacturing industries where he has held consultancy roles on mattress design and technologies. Josh has a particular interest in how different mattress types complement body size and sleeping position, and deliver optimal lumbar support. Josh is a keen sports fan and when he’s away from the office he likes to play basketball and catch the New Mexico Lobos games with his two sons at the Pit.


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