Bamboo Pillows Demystified - A Detailed Guide

If you haven’t been sleeping well, or have been experiencing neck ache, snoring, headaches, etc. morning after morning, then chances are your pillow is to blame.

Bamboo Pillows Demystified - A Detailed Guide

Of course, you can also inspect your mattress and make sure it isn’t lumpy or dusty, which may be the cause of those aches, pains, and allergies. But, if you truly believe your pillow is the culprit and you’ve done your research on firm, adjustable, and supportive pillows that never go flat, then you must have come across what we’ll be talking about in this article: bamboo pillows.

Bamboo pillows – as the name indicates – consist of pillows made from memory foam or other filling and a cover made from the processed pulp of bamboo.

More and more people are switching to these pillows as they are naturally antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, and also remain cool to the touch. This makes them a great option for warmer months, and certainly for people who sweat while sleeping. Perhaps the best feature about bamboo pillows is their adjustability – you can add or remove the foam filling based on the level of firmness you desire in your pillows.

In this guide, we will discuss everything there is to know about bamboo pillows, their benefits, disadvantages if any, how to select them, use them, and some FAQs.

What Are Bamboo Pillows?

Bamboo Pillows Demystified - A Detailed Guide

Bamboo pillows consist of rayon or viscose materials that are processed from leftover bamboo pulp. Additionally, manufacturers also add memory foam to the rayon/viscose filling which guarantees that the pillow will never go flat! You can also add or remove the filling based on the thickness, firmness, and support you desire. Most manufacturers also use natural and synthetic fibers with the bamboo pulp filling, making it uniquely soft and firm.

What Are The Benefits Of Bamboo Pillows?

Bamboo Pillows Demystified - A Detailed Guide


The feature that makes bamboo pillows oh-so-popular is the fact they can be “adjusted.” Bamboo pillows come with removable foam and poly-filling shreds that you can remove or add based on your sleeping preferences. This is very easily accomplished, as the filling comes in a zippered pouch. Simply open the zipper and add or remove the filling based on the firmness/softness level you desire.

You can opt for a softer poly-fill that can mimic down and feather-filled pillows. Alternatively, you could go for memory foam bamboo filling which offers superior pressure-point reduction and also the firm support that some users desire.

Sustainable, ecofriendly, and economical

Bamboo filling is easy to grow and also very economical. Manufacturers of top-rated bamboo pillows always use sustainably grown bamboo trees from countries where bamboo is a native crop.

The fast-growing bamboo is readily available all year-round. Moreover, it’s the pulp that goes into the making of these pillow fillings, and that makes them very sustainable as well.

Bamboo also degrades naturally, which reduces the strain on our already overtaxed landfills. All these features make bamboo pillows the most sustainable, environmentally friendly option out there.

Antibacterial and hypoallergenic Bamboo pillows contain a lignin material, which is present in pulped bamboos, and this naturally repels microbes and allergens. Resultantly, bamboo pillows are a great option for people who are sensitive to allergens, dust, dander, bacterial, mold, etc. They could, to an extent, prevent nasal allergies, itchy and watery eyes, and even congestion and headaches.

Since our eyes, mouths, and nose are very close to the pillow’s surface while sleeping, we really must ensure that it is clean and free from pathogens, fungi, bacteria, dust, mites, etc. When these allergens enter your system, they tend to make breathing more labored, resulting in snoring. With their antibacterial and hypoallergenic properties, bamboo pillows are an excellent fix for this problem as well!

Minimally processed

Another great feature of bamboo pillows is that the materials used in them undergo minimal processing. We won’t say there is absolutely no processing – but, compared to pillows made from silk, cotton, polyester, satin, etc., a bamboo pillow is certainly processed a lot less.

This makes it a great option for people who like organic or semi-organic materials and those who want to minimize their exposure to chemicals. Bamboo pillows are also devoid of flame retardants, formaldehyde, and other chemicals.

Breathable and cool

Perhaps the most popular feature of bamboo pillows is the fact that their natural fibers always remain cool and they also ensure better breathability. The bamboo fibers absorb moisture and that keeps them cooler than other materials. This feature prevents excess sweating and keeps you from overheating or experiencing discomfort on summer nights as well as in winters when central heating is on. Most people prefer cool and breathable sheets and pillows, and bamboo pillows make an excellent choice.

Supports all sleeping positions

You can sleep on your back, sideways, or on your belly – the firm bamboo pillow supports all sleeping positions.

Many people who have switched to these pillows report fewer neck back, and headaches. The pillow’s firm support could also contribute to preventing twisting of the spine and improve sleep posture. This is better for the joints and can have long-term benefits like a stronger back and neck in the years to come.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Bamboo Pillows?

Bamboo Pillows Demystified - A Detailed Guide

While the advantages of bamboo pillows far outweigh their cons, nevertheless, you should know about them, as they could be deal-breakers.

Here are some cons of bamboo pillows:

Strong scent

Most users complain about the strong chemical scent of the pillows. This takes a while to go away and it comes from the unique processes that are used in making their pulp and cover. For a quick fix, you can toss the pillow in the dryer with fragrant dryer sheets.

Tight packaging could render them shapeless in the beginning

Bamboo pillow manufacturers often use a vacuum-packaging technique that could, depending on the length of time the pillow remained packed, render it shapeless. That’s why many users complain that the pillow is not as supportive as it ought to be. With regular use, though, the memory foam can spring back to the desired shape.

Some users take time getting used to it

Depending on the position you sleep in, it could take you a few nights to get used to the pillow and also remove/add the precise amount of filling for optimal firmness.

Filling attracts hair and dust

You can place the filling in a plastic bag in a clean and dry place. However, you might have to remove it often to adjust your pillow. Its unique nature makes it static-filled which attracts pet hair, human hair, dust, etc. This can be messy to clean if you aren’t careful.

Regular maintenance

Bamboo pillows need regular maintenance such as weekly drying/fluffing to help retain their shape and firmness.

How To Use A Bamboo Pillow

Bamboo Pillows Demystified - A Detailed Guide

The key to using a bamboo pillow is to fluff it up regularly (at least 2-3 times a week) so that it can retain its shape and optimum levels of firmness.

Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions

Always follow the instructions that the manufacturer may have provided, since every pillow is different.  Manufacturers may ask you to let the pillow ‘sit’ for 30 minutes outside its packaging when you first buy it. In cold weather, the pillow may need more time to restore its fluffiness.

Instructions are also particularly important when washing the pillow. Some pillows are washable – cover and filling – while others may ask you to only wash the cover. Some manufacturers specify that you can fluff the pillow in the dryer, while others might recommend hand-fluffing.

How to Fluff a Bamboo Pillow

An important aspect of using a bamboo pillow is to fluff it from time to time. You can fluff the pillow by hand or in the dryer (as recommended by the manufacturer).

Fluffing by hand

To fluff the pillow by hand:

  • Shake and loosen the foam filling inside the pillow. This will allow more air to incorporate inside the soft fiber blend.
  • You can also punch the pillow a couple of times from all sides. This will allow more air to mix in with the filling and fluff it up.
  • Hold the shorter ends of the pillow and push the corners vigorously back and forth several times. This will loosen the fiber filling inside and allow the pillow to spring back to its optimal shape.

Fluffing in the dryer

You can skip this step if you fluff by hand. However, it is recommended fluffing in the dryer during cold weather. Dry the pillow on the lowest setting for 20 minutes. Once dry, remove the pillow from the dryer and plump it by hand as described above.

Eliminate factory/chemical smell

When you first buy a bamboo pillow, it is likely to have a strong chemical scent. You can eliminate this factory/chemical smell by tossing it into the dryer with a dryer sheet. This will impart a pleasant fragrance to your pillow.

You can also add dryer balls for quicker and more thorough drying. Dryer balls also reduce the static cling of the memory foam filling.

Weekly maintenance

Bamboo pillows absorb sweat and body fluids which, over time, can flatten them. Place the pillows on the lowest setting in the dryer for 10-15 minutes once every week or two weeks. This will dry out the moisture and help fluff the pillows up.

FAQs On Bamboo Pillows

How long should I wait for my bamboo pillow to expand?

In cold weather, you can ‘expand’ the pillow in the dryer as this will speed up the fluffing process. Follow the instructions above or as recommended by your manufacturer for fluffing the pillow in the dryer.

Most pillows take about 30 minutes to expand. In colder weather, it can take about 1-2 hours for the pillow to expand fully. You can also place your bamboo pillow in the sun to expand it quicker.

How can I “activate” my bamboo pillow?

To activate a bamboo pillow, place it in the dryer for about 20 minutes on its lowest setting. You can also add some dryer balls or fragrant dryer sheets to reduce the strong chemical odor these pillows tend to have.

Does my bamboo pillow need a separate pillow cover?

It all depends on you. You can use a separate pillow cover of your choice, although the pillows have a removable cover on them. This removable cover is hypoallergenic and cool to the touch. You can use it directly without any issues. It is also washable.

What are some of the dangers of bamboo pillows?

Some manufacturers use carbon disulfide during the processing of bamboo pulp into viscose. This is a possible carcinogen.

Can bamboo pillows reduce snoring?

Yes, some people have noticed reduced snoring thanks to these pillows. You can also adjust their firmness, which can help elevate the neck without causing any pain. Also, some bamboo pillows come in S-shaped wedges which may be beneficial in reducing snoring for side/back sleepers. Additionally, the cover is hypoallergenic and reduces dust mites and allergens, which could prevent congestion, allergies, and snoring caused by these issues.

How much do bamboo pillows cost?

Bamboo pillows can cost anywhere between $30 and $150. The cost of the pillow varies from manufacturer to manufacturer based on the features, filling used, their size and shape, etc.


Bamboo pillows provide firm support to your head and neck, retain their firmness and shape, and also offer numerous other benefits. They are naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic. They remain cool and breathable. Bamboo pillows are also biodegradable, eco-friendly, and manufactured using sustainable methods.

However, they do need weekly maintenance such as fluffing in the dryer or plumping by hand. This is important to do so that the pillow can retain its firmness and shape to give you the desired support you need.

We hope this brief guide sways you to use a bamboo pillow for optimum comfort.

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