If you are looking for a hypoallergenic pillow, you may be wondering if latex pillows fit the bill. Latex is often touted as a natural material that is less likely to cause allergic reactions than other materials used in pillows, such as down and feathers.
But is this really true? In this article, we will take a look at the evidence to see if latex pillows can truly be called hypoallergenic.
So, are latex pillows hypoallergenic?
A lot of people are allergic to dust mites, which are tiny creatures that thrive in all sorts of household environments, including pillows. If you’re like most people who are allergic to dust mites, you might be wondering whether latex pillows are a good option for you.
After all, latex is a natural material that comes from rubber trees. Latex pillows are naturally hypoallergenic, which means they are resistant to bacteria, mold, and other allergens.
Unfortunately, many latex pillows on the market today are actually made with synthetic latex, which can contain potentially harmful substances, including polyurethane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
While these substances are typically found in levels safe for human use, some people might still be sensitive to them and experience headaches, nausea, respiratory irritation, and other symptoms when exposed for prolonged periods.
So if you’re looking for a truly hypoallergenic pillow, your best bet is to choose one made with 100% natural latex (unless you’re allergic to latex, of course).
What’s the Difference Between Synthetic and Natural Latex?
The difference between natural and synthetic latex is pretty self-explanatory. Natural latex is made from the sap of rubber trees and is usually of higher quality than its synthetic counterpart.
Synthetic latex, on the other hand, is made from petroleum-based products and often contains chemicals that can be irritating to the skin and respiratory system in rare cases. Synthetic latex pillows typically have a stronger smell than natural latex pillows, which is due to the chemical processes used to make them.
They also differ in how comfortable and durable they are. Generally speaking, synthetic latex pillows are less springy, softer, and less durable than natural latex pillows. Natural latex pillows, on the other hand, will be soft yet supportive and will last much longer.
They don’t tear as easily as synthetic latex and, therefore, can handle more of a beating if you happen to be a heavy sleeper who tosses and turns throughout the night. So if you’re looking for a pillow that will give you the best night’s sleep possible, natural latex is definitely worth considering.
Are Synthetic Latex Pillows Hypoallergenic?
It’s important to keep in mind that the chances of experiencing an allergic reaction to a synthetic latex pillow are very small. It is uncommon to experience symptoms such as headaches, nausea, irritated eyes, runny nose, and more from synthetic latex foam—but it does happen.
If you’re worried about the possibility of an allergic reaction, your best bet is to choose a natural latex pillow instead.
However, in the vast majority of cases, synthetic latex pillows do just as good a job at preventing mold and dust mites as natural latex pillows.
If you are using a synthetic latex pillow and are experiencing any allergy symptoms, try switching to a different type of pillow to see if your symptoms subside. If they don’t, then the allergens may be coming from somewhere else in your bed.
Are Synthetic Latex Pillows Safe?
Synthetic latex pillows may contain harmful substances such as formaldehyde and other chemical additives. They are used to make the production process less expensive and ultimately more profitable.
While levels of these chemicals may fall below a threshold that’s considered safe for humans, you should seriously consider whether or not it is worth the risk.
Besides, you may end up having to replace a synthetic latex pillow sooner rather than later anyway—so why not spend a little more now and invest in a natural latex pillow which is both safer and more durable?
If you already own a synthetic latex pillow, don’t worry. There are still ways to make it safe without having to purchase a new pillow. The best way to ensure you aren’t inhaling VOC off-gasses during your sleep is to keep your pillow inside a plastic pillowcase.
This will not only contain any off-gassing (including the strong smell), but it will also prevent things like oils from your skin, dead skin cells, and dust from sticking to the surface. That means you won’t have to wash your latex pillow nearly as often.
Using a plastic pillow case (inside a regular pillow case) will also help to extend the life of your synthetic latex pillow. So if you already have one, make sure to follow these tips to make it as safe and hypoallergenic as possible.
How Often Should You Clean a Latex Pillow?
It’s recommended that you clean your latex pillows no less than once per year—or more often if you spill food or beverages on them. To clean these pillows, simply dust the surface with baking soda and allow the pillow to sit for at least one hour to remove any odors. Then use a vacuum to remove the baking soda.
For deeper cleaning, it’s best to use cold water and mild laundry detergent. Never put your latex pillows in the dryer, as the heat will cause them to melt. Too much direct sunlight will also cause them to dry out more quickly and begin to crumble. So as you allow it to air dry, make sure it is out of direct sunlight.
Hypoallergenic Alternatives to Latex Pillows
Latex pillows are hypoallergenic, but they may not be comfortable for everyone. You can also consider wool, cotton, or buckwheat hulls if that’s you. These are organic materials made with sustainable production methods and can be just as effective at keeping your allergies at bay.
If you’re looking for a hypoallergenic pillow, latex is a great option, and you’ll likely be much more satisfied with natural latex over synthetic.
You can also consider wool, cotton, or buckwheat hull as alternatives. Just remember to clean your pillows regularly (no less than once per year), and they will last for many nights of allergy-free sleep.