Hello everyone. I thought I’d write a little blog post about our stuffing and the different kinds of stuffing that are available, their merits, and why we use what we use.
Pillow stuffing can broadly be characterised as either natural or synthetic. As with everything in life, both have their pros and cons and there is no right or wrong answer as to which is best, both being situational and a matter of taste and context.
This stuffing is ubiquitous. As at home in a stuffed toy as it is in bedding items. It’s hypo-allergenic, washable, odourless and has a similar consistency to feather down, if of high enough quality.
We initially used hollowfibre in our pillows and it was perfectly satisfactory for a long time. However we found that over time the thin hair-like strands of fibre would compress, compact and ultimately require plumping on a somewhat regular basis.
We then moved on to “ball-fibre” which is made especially for us by a company here in England. This has all the qualities of hollowfibre with almost none of the drawbacks. Because the strands are coiled they resist compression and are much easier to break apart when it comes time to “refresh” the pillow. The coiled nature also allows for a lot of air-permeability which allows for air-flow which makes for a cooler ear-well that in turn aids in the healing process.
Pellets and microbeads:
These are all small and very light beads of various plastics. They flow like water and can conform to any required shape however they are quite dense en masse. They’re great for when you need firmness and structure, as required in a neck pillow or hardwearing floor cushions but are not suitable for an ear pillow.
Memory foam is a solid mass of foam with what can be described as air bubbles throughout. This gives it a medium density. The main plus-point of memory foam is that even after compression, it will fluff itself back into shape.
The downsides are two-fold. One is that it is not hypoallergenic, being comprised of many chemicals, many of which off-gas for some time after manufacture. The second is it is not air-permeable and therefore it traps a lot of heat. This is not ideal in an ear-well.
Feathers & Down:
The feathers used for pillows are those from the soft under-feathers of ducks or geese. Feather down has remained a popular choice over the years. However, we will not use it for two reasons.
First and foremost; it is cruel. Either the feathers are gained from the meat and foie gras industry or are plucked from the birds every six weeks until they too are slaughtered. Both are enduringly cruel and we will not contribute to it. Especially when synthetic ball fibre performs better and is hypo-allergenic, unlike feather down.
Wool is a better animal-based alternative to down as there is little to no cruelty involved. Wool is hard-wearing and besides the methane emissions of the sheep and the feed required, it is more eco-friendly than petroleum based synthetic fibres. However, wool can be quite heavy and compacts quite easily. That being said, we may consider offering a premium wool filled version of The Original P.W.A.H if we can find a suitable supplier and it performs well enough after testing.
Buckwheat has been used in therapeutic pillows for years. It is natural, plentiful and eco-friendly. It gives very firm support to small pillows. For this reason it is great in neck pillows and floor coverings requiring durability and firmness. A natural alternative to microbeads but unfortunately not suitable for an ear pillow. Would it were different!