Can a buckwheat pillow be washed? Yes.
Buckwheat pillows can last can last many years with proper care. The first and most important thing you can do to keep your buckwheat pillow in good shape is keep it protected inside a standard pillowcase just like any other type of pillow. This will allow you to wash just the pillowcase intermittently, so that the pillow itself doesn’t need cleaning so frequently.
Eventually all pillows get stained, sullied, soiled or even sometimes stinky 🙁
When your buckwheat pillow’s better days seem to have passed, refresh it with a wash:
- Remove the buckwheat hulls by pouring them into a larger container. A large paper grocery bag works better than plastic as it will hold its shape, making pouring much easier.
- Turn the fabric case inside-out and make sure to remove all of the buckwheat hulls out of the nooks and crannies so that they don’t get into your washing machine. Careful not to spill!
- Toss the case into the washing machine. Don’t forget, cotton can shrink! To avoid shrinkage and wear, wash it in cold water (75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit) and keep it out of the dryer (air dry).
- Replace the buckwheat hulls. ProTip: ask a friend to pour while you hold the fabric case.
What about cleaning the buckwheat hull fill?
Keep the outside of your pillow laundered occasionally and you will not need to worry about the buckwheat hulls inside. Accidents do happen though. If you’ve soiled your buckwheat hulls somehow, you can try letting them sit indoors under gently circulating air, preferably in sunlight, to remove any moisture or odors. Spread them out evenly on a flat surface, or better yet, in a shallow container like this one (keep the lid off).
*Note* If you’ve spilled water on your pillow remove the wet hulls immediately. As long as you dry them quickly, they’ll be good as new. A beer or soda spill is can be more trouble than it’s worth. For these situations we recommend replacement buckwheat hulls.
Buckwheat hulls will slowly break down or flatten out over time with use.
You might notice when you open your pillow to clean it that the buckwheat hulls look a little different. Buckwheat hulls will slowly break down into smaller pieces over time. Clean or not, they should be replaced periodically. It generally is a matter of years before you’ll notice any real degradation, but flattened hulls can cause a couple (small) problems:
- The buckwheat hulls have lost some of their loft. Your pillow may feel flatter and not provide the support it once did.
- The buckwheat hulls have lost some of their malleable character. Your pillow won’t hold its shape as well as it could. The flattened hulls have lost much of their rough edges; they do not grip one another as well as intact ones do. They also have less “give” or softness.
- There’s less space between the buckwheat hulls when they’ve been crushed flat. The benefit of air circulation (and a cool pillow) is diminished.
If your pillow feels a little flatter than it used to, it might be worth replacing them to restore some of the pillow’s original quality. We sell the best pillow-grade buckwheat hulls in 10 and 20 lb. quantities. This handy buckwheat filling calculator will help you determine how much filling you need.
If you follow these simple steps for how to clean buckwheat pillows, you should enjoy many years of good sleep with it.