Buckwheat pillows are usually a little more expensive than other popular pillow types, so it’s reasonable to ask, “how long do buckwheat pillows last?” After all, the longer it’s around, the more cost effective your purchase will be.
My first buckwheat hull pillow’s manufacturer claimed it would last 10 years or more.
Being a buckwheat pillow newbie, I was a little skeptical when I placed my order. I wasn’t so sure it’d work out, so I purchased one of the cheapest available. It turned out to be great!
Unfortunately, it ripped open and dumped its hulls all over my bed after a few years of loyal service. Despite the hull explosion, I really wasn’t too disappointed. It was the best pillow I’d ever owned.
Lesson learned. High-quality materials and construction matter!
My first buckwheat pillow didn’t last forever because the seams split. The construction and materials used went largely unnoticed until it failed, but it was now obvious that it wasn’t very well made. Buckwheat hulls are pretty hefty, so the case containing it needs to be tough. A standard size (20×26″) buckwheat pillow can weigh between 7 and 10 lbs. It is very important that the pillow be constructed from durable materials including:
- a medium weight breathable cotton fabric that will stand up to continued use and washing.
- a zipper that will not break or separate.
- an extra-strong thread that won’t snap under pressure.
A well-made case with a zipper will last indefinitely, but…
A buckwheat hull pillow’s filling doesn’t last forever.
Buckwheat hulls do slowly break down and flatten out over time depending on use and humidity. It generally is a matter of years before you’ll notice any substantial degradation, but flattened or crushed buckwheat hulls can cause a couple (small) problems:
- The buckwheat hulls will lose some of their volume. Your pillow may feel flatter and not provide the support it once did.
- The crushed buckwheat hulls will not be as malleable as they once were. They will not grip one another like intact hulls do. As a result, your pillow won’t hold its shape as well as it could.
- There’s less space between the buckwheat hulls when they’ve been crushed flat. Consequently, the benefit of air circulation (and a cool pillow) is diminished.
Fortunately it’s easy to replace buckwheat hulls.
If you feel like your pillow would be better with new buckwheat hulls, just dump the old ones out (they make terrific mulch) and replace them with new pillow-grade buckwheat hulls. Good as new 🙂
“But my depression-era buckwheat pillow from Grandma is still awesome,” you say. That’s totally reasonable. The degradation of the filling isn’t very obvious. It happens slowly and subtly over time. A ten year old buckwheat pillow with crushed buckwheat hulls can feel awesome compared to the soft squishy pillows you used to sleep on, but it isn’t going to be quite as effective as it once was.
Keep your pillow clean and it’ll last longer!
Nobody likes to sleep on a dirty, sweat-stained pillow. It should go without saying: keep your pillow clean. Smells and appearances aside, the oils, dirt and organic matter that can build up on any pillow’s fabric case will shorten its lifespan. Keep your pillow inside a traditional sham or pillowcase and wash it periodically. This will protect your pillow, keeping it safe from stains and abrasive surfaces.
Eventually the fabric case containing the buckwheat hulls will need a wash too. When you’ve determined it’s time, remove the buckwheat hulls and toss the fabric case into the washing machine. Check out this step-by-step guide to washing your buckwheat pillow.
How long do buckwheat hull pillows last? (really)
I think that saying buckwheat pillows last 10 years is a bit of an overstatement because most of the products I’ve seen aren’t tough enough to hold up. Subpar construction and materials won’t last under the weight of buckwheat hulls.
Additionally, a discerning and observant buckwheat pillow user (a sleep nerd like myself) will notice the difference between a new buckwheat pillow and one that’s rolled around on a bed for ten years. They’ll feel that the buckwheat hull filling, after prolonged use, has become less effective at supporting their head and neck.
Now, I’ll take a ten year old buckwheat pillow over a traditional squishy pillow any day. For me, it’s always going to be superior to the alternatives. With just a little maintenance, however, it can be as exceptional as it was new. A buckwheat pillow will last a REALLY long time provided:
- the fabric case containing the buckwheat hulls is durable,
- the fabric edges are surged and seams are double-stitched,
- you keep it clean
- and replace the buckwheat hulls when needed.
It’s safe to say that you can expect a well-made buckwheat pillow to last significantly longer than most traditional pillows. Your milage will vary depending on use, care and maintenance.
Designed for comfort, made to last.
If you’ve decided a buckwheat pillow is worth giving a shot, please consider our product, Hullo™. We think it’s the best buckwheat pillow available, but don’t take our word for it, check out these customer reviews.