Unlike fiber or down, the buckwheat hulls used to fill these pillows don't collapse beneath the weight of your head. A buckwheat pillow maintains its shape throughout the night to support your neck and head. Buckwheat hulls also don't retain heat, so the pillow stays cooler as you sleep.
As the outer shell of the buckwheat seed, the hulls are a byproduct left after the seeds are processed. The cleaning process varies by company; some are cleaned with air, while others are roasted after being triple cleaned. The hulls are combined with a 100 percent natural cotton or linen casing, creating a pillow that offers an eco-friendly alternative to feather or synthetic pillows. Because these pillows use all natural ingredients, they can provide relief to those allergic to feathers or synthetic materials.
Thanks to their shape, the hulls in the pillow allow increased airflow compared with synthetic or feather pillows. This allows for a more comfortable sleep through the night because the pillows do not get as hot as other pillows and wake you up. Down, foam and fiberfill pillows retain much more heat in comparison to a buckwheat pillow -- and you can reshape the pillow as needed to suit the contours of your head and neck.
Buckwheat pillows can last up to 10 years compared with the alternatives that only last two to three years. At the time of publication, buckwheat pillows average from $20 up to $120 -- about the same as other pillows. But when you spread that cost over 10 years, it represents a substantial savings, especially when a buckwheat pillow lasts three to five times longer than fill or feather pillows. You can save even more when you make your own buckwheat pillows.
Care and Cleaning
You cannot wash buckwheat hull pillows or expose them to water, because it ruins them. Most buckwheat pillows come with a case that unzips so that you can wash the case when needed. Empty the contents into a pillowcase and tie it off with a ribbon. Wash the case the holds the buckwheat hulls in cold water, and hang it outside to dry on the clothesline or on the back of a chair. Because the case is usually 100 percent cotton or linen, it will shrink if you wash it in warm or hot water. Once the case is dry, reinsert the hulls into it and zip it up. Use a pillowcase over the pillow to help protect it.
As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.