Why Are Bamboo Pillows So Hard And Heavy? 🛏️

If you’ve been shopping for bedding accessories lately, you might have noticed several bamboo pillows on the shelves or pictured on a retail website. Although they have many impressive features, one aspect might cause some confusion among first-time buyers.

Compared to many other options, bamboo pillows are notably heavier and can feel much harder to the touch. I wondered what caused this phenomenon and decided to look into the matter a bit. As it turns out, there are some important reasons for these attributes.

More importantly, consumers can take a few simple steps to make their bamboo pillows significantly softer while preserving all of the other benefits of this unique and increasingly popular product.

What makes bamboo pillows so hard and heavy? These characteristics are directly tied to the fact that most bamboo pillows are filled with memory foam, a dense material that provides ample support and a cushioning feel for individuals regardless of their sleeping position. Nevertheless, it can cause uninitiated users to find the pillows substantially heavier and a bit firmer than they are used to feeling.

Of course, the distinct characteristics of bamboo pillows will vary based on the manufacturing style and the type of material used to create them.

Nevertheless, most of these pillows will have similar attributes. Once you get past the surprising feeling of your new bamboo pillow, however, you’ll soon start to recognize the many beneficial features found only in this intriguing product. 

How Do You Soften a Bamboo Pillow?

As I mentioned above, you can easily overcome the somewhat alarming firmness of a bamboo pillow. Even though there is a clear benefit to using memory foam to support your head throughout the night, there’s no reason to settle for a product that is simply too hard to enjoy.

To create a softer feeling without losing any of the foam’s cushioning qualities, experts recommend several simple steps upon purchasing a new bamboo pillow.

  • Shake the pillow well to loosen up the chunks of foam inside
  • Gently heat the pillow in a dryer for a few minutes
  • Keep the pillow under an electric blanket for a while
  • Sleep on the pillow for a few nights to loosen up the foam
  • Let off some steam by punching the pillow with your fists
  • Plump the pillow by hand on a regular basis

Since it’s so easy to break in a bamboo pillow and get past the initial shock of such a hard surface, individuals with all sorts of sleeping issues find that it is truly worth the minimal time and effort it takes to soften one up and place it on their bed.

If you are struggling with insomnia, frequently feel neck and back pain in the morning, or simply get tired of a pillow that sags and gets misshapen every night, you’ll probably benefit from checking out a high-quality bamboo pillow. 

Following the steps outlined above, taking precautions against potentially damaging the pillow is crucial. Even though these products are generally built to last and will withstand even the toughest sleep cycles, there are some actions to steer clear of in order to ensure the pillow retains its shape and comfort for as long as possible.

For example, be sure not to leave the pillow in the dryer for too long or at a high temperature because the material can become damaged with too much exposure to such conditions.

Another factor to remember when unpacking your bamboo pillow for the first time is the slightly gaseous odor that can emanate from within the product.

This is a natural reaction from the manufacturing process, but it might be a bit strong at first if you’re thinking about sleeping on the pillow right away. To avoid this smell, leave it out of the bag for as long as possible and allow the fumes to disperse into the surrounding air. 

How Do You Wash a Bamboo Pillow?

Although some other types of pillows might be a bit easier to toss in the washing machine and tumble dry, some relatively simple techniques are available to keep your bamboo pillow clean and comfortable for a long time.

For starters, most of these bamboo products come with a removable cover that is strong, durable, and machine washable. This part of the cleaning process should be no trouble at all. Just toss it in for a gentle cycle with some laundry detergent designed for sensitive skin and let the machine run its course.

From there, you can decide whether to allow the cover to air dry or place it in the dryer with some unscented dryer balls or sheets and ensure it is completely free of moisture before reinserting the pillow. 

You might also find that it is easier to wash the bamboo pillow liner by hand in the sink. No matter which method you choose, be sure to use a gentle detergent.

Furthermore, lukewarm water works best. If the water is too hot or too cold, it could compromise the integrity of the fabric or make it somewhat less soft and luxurious than it otherwise would be to your skin.

Now let’s get to the part of the process that can make it a bit trickier to care for a bamboo pillow than some other popular products. In order to wash the pillow cover, you’ll need to remove the filling.

Unlike memory foam pillows created from a single piece of foam, almost all bamboo pillows contain shredded chunks of foam that must be taken out before washing the liner. Fortunately, manufacturers tend to make it easy to remove and refill the foam by use of a zipper or some other secure fabric fastener.

The only real issue can arise when planning a way to keep the foam chunks safe and secure while the liner is being laundered. Since the filling is in many small pieces instead of one large piece, it can be difficult to keep up with them.

For that reason, you should set out a large container to store all the foam so that it will be ready to reinsert when the case is clean and dry.

Failure to replace all of the foam will mean that the pillow won’t have as much support as it was intended to provide. Furthermore, small children or pets in the home could potentially gain access to the pieces, which might present a choking hazard. 

Make sure all of the soap has been removed from the case before letting it dry. Some experts recommend leaving the liner outside in the sun to let nature take its course. This is a perfectly acceptable solution, though a short cycle in the dryer can work just as well.

In any case, be sure it is free of soap and completely dry before putting the filling back inside and tossing it back on your bed.

Who Can Benefit from Using a Bamboo Pillow?

When purchasing a bamboo pillow, your first thoughts might go toward whether it will be comfortable and how much it costs compared to other options. Although it is a very supportive and soft product that offers plenty of value for its price, there are many other factors to consider.

Many people could find themselves more well-rested and even healthier after using a bamboo pillow for a few nights. While people of all types stand to benefit from the unique characteristics of a bamboo pillow, anyone who identifies with the following traits is sure to find something to love about this compelling product. 

  • Allergies
  • Acne-prone skin
  • Unmanageable hair
  • Insomnia
  • Neck and back pain
  • Tossing and turning
  • Snoring
  • Respiratory problems
  • Nighttime sweats

Let’s break down a few of the unique ways a bamboo pillow can help people deal with any or all of the issues described above.

For starters, bamboo is naturally hypoallergenic. This means that people who suffer from a wide range of allergies can find some relief throughout the night simply by changing their pillow to one made with bamboo.

Unlike cotton and many other types of filling that can be negatively impacted by dust mites, mold, or other allergy triggers, the bamboo fiber and foam interior act as barriers preventing those allergens from surviving and entering your mouth or nose as you sleep. 

Another great advantage of using the natural properties of bamboo in a pillow is that it can positively affect your hair and skin.

Although it might not take care of all your issues overnight, countless people have raved about the improvement they have seen in the health and appearance of their skin and hair after consistently sleeping on a bamboo pillow.

It also provides rejuvenation and added comfort based on the way air can move in and out of the porous cover and through the pieces of foam inside. This creates a breathable fabric that stays much cooler than ordinary memory foam pillows.

It also absorbs moisture, meaning anyone who sweats or even drools a bit in their sleep will wake up feeling much cleaner than sleeping on an ordinary pillow after a night.

Finally, the way that the shredded foam can be endlessly adjusted to meet the needs of individual sleepers can lead to countless benefits.

Most notably, it provides ample support for your head and neck, which means it makes a great choice for people regardless of whether they sleep on their back, stomach, or side. It’s also an excellent option for those who tend to move around a bit before finding the perfect position.

Once you get comfortable on a bamboo pillow, you’ll probably notice that you sleep more soundly and toss around in bed less frequently than you did on your old pillow.

Since everything is lined up appropriately and supported during the night, people who have mild respiratory issues or snore a lot while they sleep could also see these problems become a thing of the past simply by replacing their pillow with a bamboo alternative. 

Related Questions

What are some of the negative attributes of bamboo pillows?

Even if you don’t consider the heaviness and initial firmness of your bamboo pillow to be disadvantages, there are a few other characteristics to consider. For starters, the chemicals used to create the memory foam can result in a specific odor.

Although the smell tends to dissipate over time, some users might find it off-putting. Additionally, the shredded foam filling tends to become compressed after a period of prolonged use, though this issue is easily remedied with a quick fluff.

How much should you pay for a bamboo pillow?

Although some inferior products are on the market, it pays to spend enough to acquire a high-quality bamboo pillow that will last for a long time.

In addition to saving time and eliminating waste, it will cost less in the long run to spend a little bit more upfront and avoid having to replace a lesser bamboo pillow prematurely.

When shopping for a new pillow, the low end of the price range tends to start at about $30, while high-end products can cost well over $150. Just remember, like everything else, you typically get what you pay for with bamboo pillows. 

Are bamboo pillows good or bad for the environment?

While it is easy to assume that bamboo pillows are good for the environment because the plant is a sustainable and renewable resource, there is more to the story than that.

Some people say bamboo pillows can harm the environment since they involve chemicals in the manufacturing process that can escape into the atmosphere. Furthermore, creating these pillows tends to require more energy than many other types of pillows.

Factories have created a process that reduces the number of pollutants created in the process, so even eco-conscious consumers can sleep easily and know that their choice of pillow will not have a deleterious impact on the environment.


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Team SafeSleep

Hi! We're a team of scientists, doctors, teachers, and coaches experienced in helping people with special needs. We hope you like our research and share it with others who might find it helpful too :)

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