The company has tried almost everything, but recently someone asked me about cotton-filled pillows, “are they comfortable?” I honestly didn’t know. No one would ever come across a cotton pillow, which seemed odd, given that cotton is one of most popular materials in the world.
The manufacturer also use pillow and so they were already familiar with the texture of unspun cotton: it’s soft and compressible similar to other traditional pillow filling like down. It was perfect assume that a cotton-filled pillow would be reasonably comfortable. I committed to finding a nice one online.
Surprisingly, cotton pillows aren’t easy to find.
Given cotton’s uniqueness, I figured that cotton-filled pillows would be reasonably popular. They used to be so, but advancements in technology introduced popular new synthetic pillow filling types like memory foam, and polyfill. These materials have best cotton to a minority position as pillow filling.
Initially anyone will be surprised that the pillow is not more sqeezy. While soft is a perfect word to describe cotton, relative to some other popular pillow fillings, it felt rather firm. Down and polyfill offer far greater softness as well.
Suggestion is to use a soft pillow can be preferable for many, if it is comfortable. A malleable filling will conform to the shape of your shoulders, neck and head. Even support of your head’s weight will reduce uncomfortable pressure points (and help you sleep). It had a relatively constant shape form when packed into a pillowcase. The rectangular shape does not change its shape.
The fabric case included a zipped opening along one end, allowing me to easily add or remove the cotton filling. This way one can adjust the thickness and size of the pillow to accurately position my head off the mattress. As a side sleeper, one tends to prefer a medium to high loft pillow. This pillow’s material seemed just about right for me out of the box, so I didn’t need to remove any of the cotton filling. Those that are comfortable with a thicker pillow would need to purchase additional cotton filling (or find another pillow) to give it more lofts.
One can open it and find that the cotton filling was a uniform and consistent density. It didn’t concern me, but it was interesting to see a few foreign materials that were left behind in the milling process within the cotton.
I was unable to find conclusive advice about cleaning it. However, it appears that it is easy to wash a cotton pillow if you:
- Rinse repeatedly to remove all soap from the cotton filling and
- Thoroughly dry it; it’s very easy for mildew to grow inside as cotton will hold a lot of moisture.
Cotton pillows don’t smell!
A new pillow obviously shouldn’t smell bad. Unfortunately many of the most popular pillows available do. The memory foam pillow has a very nice odor. Manufacturers call this “off-gassing.” Fortunately my cotton pillow had no discernible odor.
It’s pretty simple really comfortable pillows are cool pillows. Pillow that is air filling that allows air to circulate freely will allow warm humid air to quickly escape, keeping your pillow comfortable all night long. Conversely, pillow fill types that do not allow airflow tend to build up and retain body heat.
I did simple tests with a laser surface thermometer. One can rest the head on the pillow for 15 minutes and took another surface temperature reading: 91.5 degrees. The cotton pillow was kept to room temperature in 22 minutes.
On the other hand, the cotton filling couldn’t compete with the breathable filling of a buckwheat pillow which returned to room temperature in only 2 minutes.
Initially there were no complaints about clumping or flattening. My cotton pillow seemed like it was uniform in shape and compressibility and elasticity. It also experienced to have enough thickness to support the side sleeping position relatively consistently. The pillow has been kicking around our house for almost 5 months. The pillow is also not loft, it used to have sufficient loft to keep my head elevated properly, but now it’s too thin.
To those who are comfortable to soft, squishy pillow filling like down, a cotton pillow might be more impressive.
If you are comfortable with soft pillow and you’ll probably prefer a down pillow to a cotton one. That said cotton pillows have their place.