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How to Choose a Non-Toxic Pillow

Like your mattress, your pillow is something you come into close contact with for nearly one-third of each day. Since you spend so much time glued to your pillow, you should take care to choose a pillow that is safe and healthy, rather than covered in synthetic chemicals.

The best choice you can make when shopping for sleep furniture is to avoid products that contain toxic materials whenever possible. So, if you are in the market for a non-toxic pillow, you should know how to pick the best one for your needs.

What Is a Non-Toxic Pillow?

Non-toxic pillows are pillows made from safe materials that will not cause you harm while you sleep. Since you spend so much time in bed throughout your lifetime, it is important that the pillow you sleep on is made of harmless, high-quality, healthy ingredients.

Many safe-from-chemicals pillows are constructed from organic, natural ingredients. When pillows are 100 percent organic, you can be sure that their ingredients will not secrete toxic chemicals into your skin, hair follicles, and air while you sleep.

Dangers of Toxic Pillows

Unfortunately, many pillows on the market are not made with natural materials. Synthetic pillows are made from chemicals that seep into the air and environment, and you sleep on them nightly.

These pillows emit gasses, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), in an off-gassing process that can cause harmful side effects. That is why it’s so important to choose pillows that are free of chemicals, and are safe for you and your family.

A pillow filled with petrochemicals, toxins, allergens, bacteria, and other unpleasant and downright dangerous matter can affect many things about your day. In other words, toxic pillows are bad for you and your family.

Your Ability to Sleep

You might find that synthetic pillows are not as comfortable as organic pillows. Polyester pillows are common down alternatives, but polyester pillows are known as being lumpy and less comfortable than natural alternatives.

When pillows are uncomfortable, you will have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep.

Your Physical Health

If your pillow off-gasses VOCs, the smell can cause uncomfortable side effects. These include:

  • Headaches
  • Allergic reactions
  • Upper respiratory symptoms
  • Dizziness

If your pillow is made from polyurethane or petroleum-based chemicals, the unnatural emissions could lead to any or all of these negative symptoms.

Your Mental Health

Your mental health is closely dependent on your physical health. Additionally, your mental health will greatly suffer when you cannot get adequate sleep at night.

Work or School Performance

Without plenty of sleep, you can become groggy or drowsy. This will make you more prone to accidents at work or school. If you become ill with allergies or respiratory symptoms, you are more likely to accumulate absences from work or school.

Ability to Operate Machinery

As mentioned above, lack of adequate sleep can cause clumsiness and accidents. Driving a car while drowsy is often thought to be just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

How to Choose a Non-Toxic Pillow

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to identify the pillows that bring the fewest toxins into the picture – unless you know what to look for. When choosing the best non-toxic pillow for you, there are several things to take into account. However, simply making the step to choose a safe pillow over a synthetic pillow is a move in the right direction.

Identify Pillow Preferences

Before you go pillow shopping, you need to understand what you prefer in a pillow. Pillow preferences involve many different aspects of the actual comfort of the pillow. After all, no one is going to get any sleep on a pillow they find uncomfortable.

  • What pillow size do you need?
  • What firmness or softness do you prefer?
  • What pillow height do you want?
  • What pillow shape is best for you?

These do not even include things that affect comfort, like the pillow’s ability to maintain shape throughout the night. The truth is different people like different things about their pillows, and it is important to find a pillow that will make you comfortable, so you can get the good night’s sleep you require.

Take a few minutes before beginning your search for a new organic pillow. It will save you time and money in the pillow-buying process.

Size and Shape

The size of your pillow usually comes down to the size of your bed, and whether or not you sleep alone. If you have a king-size bed, for instance, you can afford a larger pillow than if you have a twin-size bed. Pillows often come in queen and king size for larger beds, and standard size for smaller beds.

Additionally, if you sleep alone at night, you have room for a larger pillow than if you share a bed with another person who also needs a pillow.

Firmness or Softness

If you do not feel comfortable when you lay your head down on your new pillow, it is not the right pillow for you. Your non-toxic organic pillow should offer you comfortable neck support tailored to your preferred sleeping style.

Do you find more comfortable support with soft pillows or with firm pillows? You will find many different support options, so be sure you know which kind helps you sleep best.


A pillow’s loft is how high or “tall” it is. The height of your pillow is largely responsible for keeping your spine properly aligned who you sleep. If you sleep on a pillow with the wrong loft, it will not provide adequate neck support, and can cause neck pain over time.

The material your chemical-free organic pillow is filled with will affect the perfect loft height for you. For instance, two pillows of the same loft might not offer the same neck support if one is firm and the other was more pliant.

How to Care for a Non-Toxic Pillow

Do not forget to give a little nod to the care instructions for pillows before buying them as well. Most people want low-maintenance pillows they are not going to have to spend hours each week caring for. You want a natural and organic pillow that will stand up to the test of time without requiring a ton of upkeep. Keep these things in mind:

  • Pillow protector
  • Pillowcase
  • Spot clean as needed
  • No need to fluff or replace inner material

No matter what pillow you choose, you can use a natural, harmless pillow protector to prolong its lifespan. Pillow protectors will add an extra barrier between you and your pillow, preventing your organic pillow from picking up sweat, saliva, and other moisture while you sleep.

Some organic pillowcases come with organic cotton covers. You can remove your pillow’s organic cotton cover, wash it gently, and let it air-dry.

Additionally, always use a pillowcase when you sleep. Choose bedding materials made from natural, non-toxic ingredients.

What Non-Toxic Pillow Materials Are Available?

People seeking non-toxic pillows do have more than one option in today’s crowded pillow marketplace. Perhaps not as many options as those who are willing to accept a few toxins within their mattresses, but enough to give you choices about the materials, shape, loft, support, firmness, and more concerning the pillow.

Natural Latex Pillows

Latex pillows are often compared to memory foam pillows. The great advantage that latex pillows have, though, is that they are organic and free of toxic materials. Memory foam pillows and mattresses are made from toxic chemicals, and undergo a harmful off-gassing process.

Natural organic latex pillows, on the other hand, are non-toxic. They are harvested from the sap of rubber trees. The process by which natural rubber latex is made is environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly. Natural latex is biodegradable. Always look for GOLS-certified when choosing an organic latex pillow.

Natural latex is breathable and supports airflow, keeping you cool. As with many organic materials, natural latex pillows are naturally hypoallergenic and resist dust mites.

Buckwheat Pillow

Buckwheat pillows are filled with hulls of buckwheat seeds. These pillows are springy but firm and contouring. They are popular for neck support. Similar to latex pillows, buckwheat pillows offer airflow for cooler sleep.

You can typically add or remove buckwheat hulls from a buckwheat pillow to gain more or less loft. This is great for back and side sleepers as well as stomach sleepers, all of which require different pillow heights.

Sleepers do find that buckwheat pillows are strange at first, and take some time getting used to. They also have a distinct earthy odor, but you will find natural odors with many organic materials. The odors are usually not unpleasant.

Organic Wool

Wool is another great organic material for organic pillows. As with other options, it is naturally hypoallergenic, and resistant to dust mites and microbes. It will keep you cool with its breathable nature. In fact, wool is known to be the coolest option.

Wool pillows come in either firm or soft options, depending on the support you prefer while you sleep. Wool is a good alternative to down. 

Organic Cotton

Organic cotton pillows are typically firmer and shorter than other natural and organic pillows. Since some people are allergic to latex or wool, organic cotton pillows are great choices for those who still want natural materials and breathable, cooling pillows. Always look for GOTS-certified cotton when choosing an organic cotton pillow. This way you know it is certified organic, and not covered in pesticides.

Why Choose Natural Latex?

Many people have already made the switch to natural latex mattresses in order to escape the constant exposure to toxins, heavy metals, and chemicals such as:

  • Prohibited phthalates
  • Formaldehyde
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Benzenes
  • Chemical flame retardants
  • Styrene
  • Antimony
  • Boric acid
  • Halogenated flame retardants

They made the switch for the sake of their health and that of their family’s health, only to discover that they were still experiencing symptoms of exposure to these chemicals and toxins. Not because of their mattresses, but because of their pillows. That is why it is so important for families today to choose a non-toxic organic pillow as well.

Memory foam pillows have been popular for years, especially with back and side sleepers. But memory foam pillows and mattresses are not certified organic in any way, and include unnatural materials that can cause respiratory distress and overall unwellness.

Latex for Less’s Pillow

Natural latex pillows offer a surprising array of options for size, firmness, shape, loft, and so much more. In fact, Latex for Less offers two different types of certified organic natural latex pillows to support you while you sleep.

Shredded Natural Latex vs. Solid Natural Latex

Latex for Less organic pillows comes in two types: Shredded natural latex and solid natural latex.

One Latex for Less organic pillow is made with organic shredded latex to offer impressive buoyancy, resilience, and comfort that closely resembles that of a traditional down-filled pillow.

Organic shredded latex is still latex, but it is shredded to create a very different consistency for those who prefer a fluffed pillow, rather than a solid pillow. You can punch, stuff, and fluff this pillow to your heart’s content to make it the perfect choice for your sleep needs.

Some people prefer the Latex for Less solid natural latex pillow. In fact, anyone who needs solid support for the neck and head while sleeping is an ideal candidate for this pillow. Additionally, the solid natural latex pillow from Latex for Less allows abundant airflow through the pillow, so your head can stay nice and cool while you sleep.

About the Latex for Less All-Natural Latex Pillow

The Latex for Less pillow is made from the same GOLS-certified latex as all Latex for Less mattresses. The pillow is also covered by a GOTS-certified cotton cover for added protection and comfort. Additionally, Latex for Less’s pillow is available in queen and king sizes, as well as standard.

How Do You Know You Are Getting What You Expect?

We live in the day and age of “greenwashing.” Greenwashing is a deceptive practice where companies make false claims about the environmental friendliness and health-consciousness nature of their products in an attempt to capitalize on the fact that people are often willing to spend more to safeguard their personal health and that of their families.

However, many of these claims are false, and can lead to people paying more for products that deliver less. It is important to be vigilant when shopping for eco-friendly and non-toxic products. Many companies can claim to sell organic pillows without putting in the work. There are ways you can spot greenwashing in order to avoid falling for it.

  • Be wary of bold claims that have no backup.
  • Double-check claims of certifications and standards.
  • Check on ingredients yourself.
  • Understand that some companies are dishonest.

Certain pillows on the market may be marketed as organic pillows when only their outer layer is made of an organic cotton cover, for instance. Do not fear that companies are out to pull one over on consumers, but be prepared to do your due diligence when choosing the right products for you and your family.

Important Health and Environmental Certifications

In the case of pillows, there are things you can do that will help you identify pillows that do not have the toxins you are hoping to avoid. Look for materials certifications from organizations. These are independent verification agencies that are not beholden to the companies they certify.

Plus, they have stringent requirements for issuing certifications, so consumers can buy with confidence. The certifications listed below have stricter guidelines than national and international regulating agencies.

GreenGuard Gold

This certification is given to all kinds of everyday products that release low amounts of VOCs into the air. Because so many household products release VOCs, the GreenGuard Gold standard certifies products that emit VOCs at very low levels.

Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)

This certification is given to organic pillows and other latex items that are constructed with at least 95 percent certified raw organic latex material.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

This certification is given to organic pillows and other organic items that are constructed with organic materials from the very beginning to the end of the manufacturing process.

Properly certified pillows made with organic wool or cotton are certified organic through independent certifying agencies, assuring buyers they do not contain the harmful, toxic ingredients found in so many other pillows on the market.

OEKO-TEX Standard 100

This certification is given to textile products that are manufactured without harmful pesticides, phthalates, chemicals, and that do not emit high levels of VOCs.

Ratings and Reviews

The other thing you can do to feel certain you are getting a high-quality pillow you can count on is to look for social confirmation in the form of ratings and reviews.

Did you know that Latex for Less’s latex pillows have been given the green light by as their choice for “Best Latex Pillow for Side Sleepers”? Back and side sleepers will love this natural latex pillow.

Best Latex Pillow Award

Not all pillow materials work well for back and side sleepers. Extra firm pillows, for instance, are not always comfortable for back and side sleepers because they do not contour as well.

Company Policies

Finally, do not forget to look for other indicators of quality and craftsmanship, such as warranties. Most pillows have an expected lifespan of six months to one year.

The Latex for Less latex pillow comes with a two-year limited warranty, something that is rare for pillows, and increases the value. You can feel comfortable buying Latex for Less’s pillow, not only for its lack of toxins but also because of how long it lasts.

Choose a Healthy, Non-Toxic Mattress Today

There are all kinds of pillows on the market today. Getting the right pillow for you and your family when toxicity is a concern is easier than you may think, with options like Latex for Less available to help you find the perfect pillow to meet your needs. Now is the time to take matters into your own hands, and get the great night’s sleep you deserve on a Latex for Less natural latex pillow that is practically made for you.

Elizabeth Magill

Elizabeth Magill is a professional freelance writer and editor who holds an MBA. Liz specializes in writing about health news, medical conditions, healthy living, small business, career and work, personal finance, and green-living, including news and trending topics in these specialties. Her clients include Healthline, The Motley Fool, GoBanking Rates,, Big Interview, HealthNews, Intuit Small Business Blog, Intuit Health, American News Report,, IFX Medical, and many others. She’s also a published eBook author and ghost writer for various clients in the health, medical, career, small business, and personal finance niches.