Over the last few months, I’ve made a lot of changes to my flat. I’ve switched to natural cleaners, replaced disposable items with biodegradable options and I’m trying to learn how to cook everything from scratch. There has been a lot of trial and error – especially in the cooking department – but one of the changes I’ve made the most recently and which I’m still over the moon about was switching our pillow (and mattress, but I’ll talk about that later) to a buckwheat alternative. The main thing which spurred this decision was when I came across this post, and then did some more research to confirm was in my mattress and pillows. Long story short, there was a tone of pretty toxic stuff in them, so I decided to look for non-toxic and biodegradable alternatives in the UK.
Since my husband and I want to eventually own our own land, our intention is to avoid – as much as possible – having anything in the house which we couldn’t just throw into the compost pile. We don’t have our land yet, but our thinking is that the more we change our lifestyle and mindset now, the better. Better for us, and better for the land which we will be living on.
Unfortunately, the whole process was a complete minefield of outrageously expensive brands, brands which claimed to be “organic” and they weren’t, and a lot of brands which were based in the US with eye-watering import tax fees. Just looking at the shipping costs made my wallet hyperventilate. I considered trying to find a traditional Japanese shikibuton, but even those were a struggle to find one which would completely biodegrade. In general, my rule is that I don’t mind paying for something well made, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay a couple of hundred pounds for shipping on top of an already £500-£700 mattress. My bargain hunter side would never let me get away with it and neither would my wallet.
I eventually found a UK based company which made buckwheat pillows and mattress. The mattress especially reminded me of a shikibuton, and it’s made with buckwheat hull filling and a tough cotton casing, but I’ll talk about the mattress another day. For today, let’s just talk about how I got on with the pillows.
Why I Liked The Idea of Buckwheat
I’d originally considered getting a pure wool pillow, but I was intrigued by the idea of buckwheat since it was a lot more affordable, less likely to collect dust, and it’s mite resistant. Not to mention I could fill it up or empty it of Buckwheat depending on how soft or firm I wanted the pillow to be. Hey, I like having options.
It did occur to me that it would also be really simple to make my own, but since I don’t have a sewing machine for the moment – and my hand stitching is the stuff of nightmares – I wanted to buy one and try it out.
How it Went
I love it! The first thing I noticed is that for the first time in years I would wake up and not feel congested, and my face wouldn’t be puffy. Normally it would take me about an hour in the morning before my face would de-puff, looking back at it I can’t believe I didn’t see that as a warning sign that my skin was not happy. I can also mold the pillow exactly how I want to before I go to sleep, it’s basically a natural bean bag.
Normal Pillow vs. Buckwheat Pillow?
They are very different to normal pillows, heavier, with a slight rustle each time you move them and, at first, the faint smell of buckwheat. If you’re a very, very light sleeper I think you might find the rustling a little distracting. Personally, it doesn’t bother me at all, but it might for some people.
My husband is the type who will normally sleep with two pillows, but since switching to these, one is more than enough since they’re quite thick. Like I said before, you can take the buckwheat out if you want (it has a zip down the side so that you can access the stuffing) and you have complete control over how firm or soft you want it.
Now that I’ve bought it I think I’ll make any future pillows, but I’m not expecting to have to throw these out for a good decade, and hopefully, by then I’ll have a sewing matching and can have a go at making my own.
I bought mine here