Often made from synthetic materials, down-alternative pillows are an ideal option for anyone who craves the plush texture and superior loft of a down pillow at a less expensive price point. These pillows are also a good choice for people who are allergic to genuine down or prefer to use a product that isn't derived from animals. Some popular fillers used in down-alternative pillows include latex, memory foam, and gel memory foam. Each of these materials is hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and supportive. Down-alternative fillers also experience less compression than down or feather pillows and are available in various support types to promote restful sleep and suit your individual preferences. Overstock carries an extensive inventory of down-alternative pillows and protectors from brands you already know and trust, including Simmons Beautyrest, Sealy Posturepedic, Serta, and Laura Ashley. Keep reading to learn about down-alternative pillows and how to care for them.
Down-alternative Pillows and Protectors Fillers and Fabrics
Memory Foam Filler
Memory foam is one of the most popular pillow fillers on the market. It's designed to conform to the shape of your head, neck, and shoulders, helping relieve painful pressure points. Memory foam also helps keep your neck aligned with the rest of your spinal column to prevent muscle spasms and neck pain. Pillows made from memory foam are firm and supportive, and since the smooth filler doesn't clump, you never have to worry about fluffing your pillow. Memory foam pillows are an excellent option for back or side sleepers.
Offering a similar feel to memory foam, natural latex pillow filler comes from the sap of rubber trees. Featuring antimicrobial properties, natural latex offers a good option for sleepers who want an organic filler but are sensitive to real down. Pillows filled with latex have a springier surface than memory foam. Latex also helps dissipate perspiration and body heat while you sleep, keeping you cool and comfortable.
Gel Memory Foam Filler
Gel memory foam filler is typically created by infusing conventional memory foam with very small gel beads. The result is a foam with soft texture that rivals down and has outstanding cooling properties. As another option, some traditional memory foam pillows are constructed with regular memory foam on one side and a layer of gel material on the reverse side. This allows you to flip the pillow to its cooler side if you begin to feel warm during the night.
Pillow Protector Fabrics
Some down-alternative pillows come with removable zippered protectors that you can easily take off and toss into the wash. Pillow protector fabrics are typically made from breathable materials such as cotton to enhance air flow through your pillow. The fabrics often feature tight weaves to prevent pet dander, dust, household pests, and other potential allergy triggers from finding their way into your pillow. Pillow protectors can be used in combination with a regular pillowcase to provide a double layer of protection that keeps your down-alternative pillow clean and smelling fresh.
Down-alternative Pillows and Protectors FAQ
How do you clean a down-alternative pillow?
The natural latex or synthetic foam fillers in down-alternative pillows are usually easy to wash, either by hand or in your home washing machine. Prior to washing your pillow, remove the pillow protector. To prepare for handwashing, fill your bathtub with several inches of cool water and add a small amount of a mild detergent. Submerge the pillow in the soapy water for a few minutes. Drain the tub, and gently press the pillow to remove the suds. Do not squeeze or twist the pillow as this can damage the filler and affect the pillow's shape. Refill your tub with clean water and rinse the pillow. Press out excess water before removing the pillow from the tub. A front-loading washing machine offers another convenient mode for washing most down-alternative pillows using the gentle cycle. Check the product label to determine which method the manufacturer advises for drying your pillow. Many down-alternative pillows can be safely run through the dryer on a low heat setting.
How long do down-alternative pillows last?
The durability of your down-alternative pillow depends on its filler material and fabrication. On average, quality down-alternative pillows retain their plushness and loft for one to two years, although some may last up to three years. When your pillow begins to feel flat or hard, it's probably time to purchase a new one.
What pillow shapes and sizes are available in down alternative pillows?
While standard bed pillows designed to fit twin, full, queen, or king beds are the most common types of down-alternative pillows, they can also come in many different shapes and sizes to suit your needs. A down-alternative body pillow can make sleeping more comfortable for anyone recovering from a shoulder, upper back, or knee injury. The huggable shape also provides a terrific way to support the expanding bellies of pregnant women. Large, square Euro pillows filled with a down alternative can be lined up against your headboard to provide height and decorative interest, or they can be used in lieu of a traditional rectangular bed pillow. Down-alternative wedge pillows keep the upper body elevated while you sleep, which can make it easier to breath, and they offer a supportive surface if you like to sit up and read or watch television from the comfort of your bed. You can also find down-alternative pillows designed specifically for stomach, back, or side sleepers. Gusseted pillows feature a panel of fabric that extends on all sides of the pillow forming a shallow box shape. A firm pillow with a wide gusset is an excellent option for side sleepers, since the added height helps maintain the correct distance between your ear and shoulder, promoting proper spinal alignment.
Why do you need to use a pillow protector with a down-alternative pillow?
Using a pillow protector can help extend the lifespan of your down-alternative pillow while ensuring a hygienic sleeping surface. Pillow protectors provide a barrier against perspiration and other liquids that can seep into the interior of your pillow, and they help prevent airborne allergens such as pet dander from permeating the pillow. Pillow protectors are also easier to wash than the entire down-alternative pillow.