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How to Clean and Dry a Buckwheat Pillow: Step by Step Guide


how-to-clean-and-dry-a-buckwheat-pillow
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The buckwheat pillow has been used in Asia for hundreds of years and is gaining popularity in the western world.

While it’s an excellent choice for most people, there are certain things to consider when cleaning your buckwheat pillow.

By the end of this post, you’ll be able to confidently clean your buckwheat pillow without destroying it. 

Quick and To-The-Point Guide

  1. Keep your pillow in a pillowcase. That way you can wash the case more frequently than the pillow itself.
  2. For a quick refresh, leave your pillow (without the case) in the sun for a few hours
  3. For a deeper clean, remove the filling from the fabric case, wash the case and leave the hulls in the sun or a gentle breeze
  4. Every few years, replace the buckwheat hull filling

There’s more to it than just the above general guidelines for washing your buckwheat pillow. The rest of this post will look at how you can keep your buckwheat pillow fresh for years to come. 

Why Can’t I Just Throw my Buckwheat Pillow in The Washing Machine?

In short, the buckwheat hulls inside the pillow will be ruined if they become soaked with water. If you soak your buckwheat pillow in water, like when you put something in the washing machine, the hulls will be ruined. You will have to replace the pillow filling if your pillow gets soaked.

no-washing-machine-for-buckwheat-pillows

At first glance, taking care of your buckwheat pillow might seem like more work than it’s worth. But it’s a small price to pay for the superior comfort and performance that you get from this all natural pillow filling.

To better understand why you need to take special care of your buckwheat pillow, we need to have a closer look at what exactly makes the buckwheat pillow so special.

Is it Worth Getting a Buckwheat Pillow?

These pillows are filled with the hard outer casing found around the buckwheat seed. The seed is what has become known as a highly nutritious and gluten free cereal. It is not a grain or a grass, but a cereal. 

As all the nutrition is found in the seed and the leaves of the plant, the seed hull is often seen as a waste product by the buckwheat farmer. 

Luckily for us, the clever Japanese noticed that these buckwheat hulls made excellent bedding. This quickly progressed to being used in pillows as well.

A few of the characteristics that make buckwheat pillows so popular is the fact that they easily form to the shape of your body, they keep you cool all night long and it is a fantastic natural alternative to all the synthetic pillow filings we see in the world today. 

One drawback with this all natural wonder pillow filler is that they can’t be soaked in water. If you soak your buckwheat pillow in water, like when you put something in the washing machine, the hulls will be ruined. You will have to replace the pillow filling if your pillow gets soaked. 

There are a few things you can do if your pillow gets wet by mistake. We’ll get into those later on. But first, a detailed step-by-step guide on how to wash your buckwheat pillow. 

How to Clean and Wash Your Buckwheat Pillow: Step by Step

washing-and-cleaning-a-buckwheat-pillow

Step 1 – Keep your buckwheat pillow in a pillowcase

The first thing you can do to keep your buckwheat pillow in good condition is a preventative measure. In fact, most of these steps are preventative measures that will make your life easier as well as extending the life of your buckwheat pillow. 

Keep your pillow in a pillowcase. A standard pillowcase that comes with most linen sets will do just fine. 

This will allow you to wash only the cover on a regular basis. When you put your linen through the laundry (regularly I hope) just remove the pillowcase from your pillow and wash like normal. 

I prefer to dry my laundry in the sun. Add a sprig or two of lavender during the drying process for extra brownie points when it’s bed time and for a more restful sleep. 

Step 2 – Place your buckwheat pillow in a sunny and breezy spot outdoors

To refresh the actual pillow itself you can use this free resource and easy trick. In fact, why not just do it when the linen is in the wash? 

Take the pillow, without a cover, and leave it in a sunny and breezy spot outside. This will give your pillow a nice natural refresh. It could help to eliminate any smells that commonly build up in mattresses and pillows as you sleep on them every night. 

Just an hour or two should do the trick, but you could leave it out all day if you’re feeling adventurous. 

For those of you living further away from the equator who don’t have access to plenty of sunlight, the next step is for you. 

Step 3 – Remove the buckwheat hulls from the fabric case then clean them separately

Do-buckwheat-pillows-smell

Mistakes happen. Or rather, life happens. If your buckwheat pillow is in dire need of a proper clean, there are some solutions for you. 

If you happen to spill something on your pillow, or a wet dog jumps on your bed, or your pillow sits unused in a mouldy cupboard for a long time, or anything else that would require a deeper clean, here’s what to do. 

As mentioned above, you can’t just throw it in the washing machine with the rest of your linen. So what to do? 

First of all, remove the filling from the fabric case that the buckwheat hulls are in. Most buckwheat pillows come with a zipper so that this can be done easily. 

Make sure to get all the hulls out of the corners of the case. The best way to do this is by turning the whole case inside out so you can see all those sneaky hulls hiding in the nooks and crannies. 

Once you’re sure all the hulls are out, put this fabric case through the laundry. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to wash this case because you don’t want it to shrink. This would result in a misshapen and ruined pillow. 

Next, lay the buckwheat hulls out in the sun. Put them in a wide, shallow dish so that all the hulls can get access to sunlight and air. Make sure they’re contained in some way so that they don’t blow away. 

If there are any hulls that are particularly wet, soggy, or have started to decay, remove them from the rest of the pile. Leave them out to dry on their own. They might dry out and you could use them again, or they might be ruined forever. 

The good news is that because buckwheat hulls are all natural, you can simply throw them in the compost heap. 

If you’ve found that most of the filling has been ruined, you might have to replace the filling completely. Which brings me to the next step. 

Step 4 – Do you need to replace your buckwheat hulls?

buckwheat-hulls-for-pillows

Due to the all natural component of these pillows, the buckwheat hulls will break down over time. After a few years, you might find that your pillow is not performing the way it used to. 

It might be flatter than usual. It won’t conform to and support your body as much as it used to. And the cooling properties won’t be as effective because the air pockets that are trapped between the hulls, which contributes to the cooling effect, close down and are no longer effective.

When this happens, it’s time to replace your buckwheat pillow. The good news is that the whole pillow does not have to be replaced. You can very easily replace just the filling and this will be just as effective, if not more so, than the replacing the whole pillow. 

Some more positive aspects about this is that it is less wasteful than buying a whole new pillow and it is cheaper as well. Check with the manufacturer of your buckwheat pillow about how to get replacement filling. 

What if my Buckwheat Pillow Get Soaked?

If your pillow gets soaked, soiled, or very dirty for whatever reason, there are a few things you should do. First, immediately remove the filling from the pillow and inspect the buckwheat hulls. 

Remove any that are particularly wet or contaminated in any way. Let them air dry in the sun. If they return to a satisfactory condition, you can return them to the pillow with all the other hulls. 

If they are destroyed, you will have to replace all the hulls in the pillow. This isn’t difficult to do. Check with the manufacturer of your pillow when you buy your pillow regarding replacement filling. 

Wash the fabric case of the pillow like normal. If your pillow gets wet with something like juice, milk, or anything other than water, it might just be easier and less hassle to replace all of the hulls instead of trying to save the ones that weren’t contaminated.

If you follow this step by step guide to keeping your pillow clean, your buckwheat pillow will give you excellent support and a comfortable nights rest for years to come.

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas and I'm the author and content operator at The Bedding Planet. I've always had a big interest in bedding and more specifically sleep. If I find something that makes me sleep better, whether that's a lifestyle change or a better bedding environment, I'm ready to share it with the world!

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