This post is a part of the complete buckwheat pillow buyers guide
When you want a new pillow, there are many things you should consider ranging from the pillow material, price, and the type of sleeper you are.
People who buy buckwheat pillows do so because the pillows are suitable for keeping you cool, especially during warm nights.
During cold seasons, buckwheat pillows might not be enjoyed as much. They might be too cold and you will feel uncomfortable using them.
Many other pillow types can be heated up in the microwave, dryer, or oven. Filling materials like cotton, polyester, and down can easily retain heat from your body alone for a very long time. When it comes to buckwheat pillows, there’s another story entirely.
Buckwheat pillows should not be heated up. When the buckwheat hulls are exposed to high temperatures they dry up, making them brittle and weak. This leads to poor cooling effects (for warmer seasons), and a flatter pillow with less support. On top of this, a warmed up buckwheat pillow will only retain the heat for a very short time anyways.
Read on to learn more about buckwheat pillows and why heating them isn’t the best idea.
What is Special About The Buckwheat Pillow?
Buckwheat pillows are also called sobakawa and are popular because of their Japanese origin. Today, these pillows are used in almost every corner of the globe.
The pillow is unique because of its buckwheat hulls. When buckwheat seeds are harvested, the outer casings are removed and discarded as waste.
However, the benefits of using these “waste” hulls in bedding pillows were discovered around 600 years ago.
The hulls are firm and small, making them easily conform to the human body. This has been a bedding option for many people since these pillows started retailing outside Japan hundreds of years ago.
Buckwheat hull pillows are fully adjustable because they have a zip on the side. You can remove or add hulls into the pillow insert to achieve your desired level of loft and support. The hulls are long-lasting, and you can buy extra hulls in case you wish to renew your pillow.
Being among the top cooling pillows out there, buckwheat pillows have good temperature regulation. The hulls facilitate airflow through the pillow, making them breathable and cool on the surface. The pillow covers are also made of breathable material like cotton to make them entirely dependable.
Why do People Heat Their Pillows?
One of the main reasons people heat their pillows is because they want them to be warm. Sleeping on a warm pillow helps a lot of people fall asleep faster and more comfortable. Heated pillows and cushions enhance blood circulation and loosen tight body muscles.
Most pillows are designed to control temperatures and keep you cool at night. This means that if you need something warmer for the cold night, you have to warm your pillow.
Should You Heat a Buckwheat Pillow?
Most people transitioning to buckwheat pillows from synthetic ones wonder whether they can microwave their new pillow. This happens mostly during cool seasons when the pillow surface is too cold to sleep on.
Many other pillows can easily be tossed into the microwave or oven, but not grain pillows, such as buckwheat.
Buckwheat pillows should not be heated up because the hulls are ineffective in conducting and retaining heat. You, therefore, have no reason to bring it closer to a source of heat.The hulls may get warmer when done moderately, but they will not keep you warm. The pillow’s breathability quickly dissipates the warmth as air circulates within the hulls.
What Happens if You Heat a Buckwheat Pillow?
The moment you microwave your buckwheat pillows is when you ultimately damage them. When the pillows are exposed to higher temperatures, the more the hulls lose their moisture.
This results in hulls drying, which makes them brittle and easily crushed. When this happens, your pillow loses its value and its cooling benefits. Some of the damage you will note include;
- The volume of the buckwheat pillow reduces, and the pillow will get flat and unsupportive than before.
- Once the dry buckwheat hulls are crushed, the pillow will not be malleable at all. They provide less grip like firm hulls. As a result, the pillow will not maintain its shape effectively.
- When you take out the buckwheat pillow from the over, pour out the hulls and take a look at them. You will notice that the burned ones are darker than before. If you dare sleep on such a pillow, you cannot withstand the kind of odor it produces.
- Buckwheat pillows should not be placed in the microwave because they have metal zippers. The moment you set your timer, it will not take long before you hear explosions and see fireworks.
What Should You do if You Want to Heat a Buckwheat Pillow?
If you are sure that you want to heat your buckwheat pillow, you need to take the necessary precautionary measures. The moment you ruin the fabric or buckwheat hulls, you void your warranty and return period.
Using a conventional oven to heat your buckwheat pillows is preferable, but this is also not recommended. If you are willing to take the risk;
- Wrap a towel around your pillow.
- Set your oven on medium heat
- Place your pillow in the oven for three minutes.
Three minutes is enough to get the hulls warm without causing too much damage. The towel also prevents direct contact with heat.
Although buckwheat pillows are not flammable, you will notice some smoke if you leave them in the oven for long at high temperatures. You will not appreciate the smell the pillow produces when the hulls are charred.
What to do if You Notice That The Hulls Are Burnt?
When you notice any foul smells from the oven, dryer, or microwave, you should first turn it off. This ensures that the pillow does not burn further or that the fabric catch fire.
You should then set the pillow on a flat surface in an aerated room or outside your house. Leave it out for a while until the hulls cool down.
Once the pillow gets cooler, open the zipper on the pillow to access the buckwheat filling. Lay a towel or bedsheet on a flat surface and pour out the buckwheat hulls. If they look darker or have a burned odor, you should discard them and get new ones.
You can easily find a bedding outlet that sells dry hulls for your pillow.
Instead of heating your buckwheat pillows to keep you warm, do this instead;
- Use a space heater if you do not have a central heating source. It allows you to set specific temperatures for your room. Your room and beddings will stay warm while other parts of the house remain cool.
- Cover yourself with a layer of comforters or blankets to keep your body warm without controlling the room temperature. Buckwheat pillows are suitable for cooling, so ensure you have enough layers to keep you warm.
- Drink a hot cup of chamomile tea to warm your body and keep you relaxed as you sleep.
- Wear socks on your feet to keep you warm and help you sleep better. When blood vessels in your feet undergo vasodilation, it informs your brain that it is time to sleep.
- Before bedtime, check whether all windows are closed to prevent cold from creeping into your room. You can install thick curtains or materials that do not get cold quickly to keep your room at optimal temperatures.
How to Take Care of Your Buckwheat Pillow
Buckwheat pillows are durable, and you can use them for many years before they lose their support. Some sobakawa buckwheat pillows have been said to last longer than a decade.
You can do many other things to take care of your pillow besides not heating it. They include;
- Place a pillowcase over your pillow to prevent wear and tear. If you use your pillow as it is, the cotton cover may tear and expose the hulls to moisture and dust. It may start spilling out buckwheat hulls if the cover gets worn out.
- You should not wash your pillow directly in the machine or water. Use a damp cloth to spot was the pillow and remove any visible stains. Also, dry the pillow in direct sunlight to keep the buckwheat hulls dry and compact.
- Try and aerate your pillow once in a while to eradicate excess moisture. The buckwheat hulls are moist, making them soft enough to sleep on. Excessive moisture weakens the pillow making it get softer.
- Buy new buckwheat hulls and store them in a cool and dry place. You can use these to replenish your pillow and restore its firmness and supportive structure.
- Cover it with a clean pillowcase and store it in a well-ventilated dry area if you are not using your buckwheat pillow. This prevents excessive absorption of moisture and other funny smells.
Like all pillows, buckwheat pillows can also serve you for a long time if you take good care of them. These pillows are pretty delicate despite having a firm and supportive hulls.
You can do many things to your pillow, but heating them is where you should draw the line. If you want to sleep warm, try getting a heating pad or heated blanket and place it over the pillow.
If you try to warm your pillow and it burns the buckwheat hulls, dispose of the pillow and get a new one. Sleeping on a pillow filled with burn smells can expose you to respiratory problems.
Buckwheat Pillows: A Complete Buyers Guide – Parts:
1. Why Use a Buckwheat Pillow? The Benefits & Drawbacks
2. How Long Do Buckwheat Pillows Last? (How to Make Them Last Longer)
3. Do Buckwheat Pillows Attract Bugs And Dust Mites?
4. How to Sleep on a Buckwheat Pillow
5. Can Buckwheat Pillows be Heated up?
6. Best Buckwheat Pillows of 2022 – Compete Review
7. What Does a Buckwheat Pillow Feel Like? (Comfortable, Weird?)
8. Can Buckwheat Pillows Cause Allergies?
9. How to Clean and Dry a Buckwheat Pillow: Step by Step Guide
10. Do Buckwheat Pillows Stay Cool All Night?
11. Do Buckwheat Pillows Smell?