How to Clean Buckwheat Pillows (Without Destroying Them)
November 27, 2012 • By
Buckwheat pillows can last can last 5 or more years with proper care. The first and most important thing you can do to keep your buckwheat pillow in good shape is keep it covered with a standard pillowcase just like any other type of pillow. This will allow you to wash just the pillowcase intermittently, so that the pillow’s shell (containing the buckwheat hull fill) doesn’t need cleaning so frequently.
Eventually everything needs a wash, including your pillow’s fabric case!
When it does, remove the buckwheat hulls by pouring them into a larger container. A paper trash bag works better than plastic as it will hold its shape, making pouring much easier. Turn the shell inside-out and make sure to get 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!
Don’t forget, cotton will shrink.
Most buckwheat pillows’ cases are constructed from cotton and can shrink in size up to a couple inches in each dimension. To avoid shrinkage:
- wash it in cold water (75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit).
- keep it out of the dryer; allow it to air dry.
What about cleaning the buckwheat hull fill?
If you have kept your pillow’s shell clean, you do not need to worry too much about cleaning the hulls. If you feel it’s necessary, you can let them sit in the sun for a few hours, which can remove any odor or impurities that might exist.
If you’ve spilled water on your pillow, dump the hulls out onto a flat surface and let them dry, preferably in the sun. As long as you dry them immediately, they’ll be good as new. If you dumped a soda or something similar into your pillow, you’re going to have some sticky problems. For these instances we recommend replacement buckwheat hulls.
Buckwheat hulls do slowly break down or flatten out over time depending on use and humidity and might need to be replaced. It generally is a 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 buckwheat hulls look crushed and dusty, 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.
If you follow these simple steps for how to clean buckwheat pillows, you should enjoy many years of good sleep with it.