Updated at: 30-11-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Pillow filling (also known as stuffing or filler) defines the pillow’s personality. When it comes to pillow filling, you can choose from a variety of options: soft, firm, supporting, low or high loft, depending on your own tastes. Decide what you want.

Unfortunately no single pillow filling works for everyone.

The ideal pillow filling depends on the situation. Depending on the type, each type has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. When something works well for some, it may cause neck pain for others. Ultimately, it’s ideal to experiment with a variety of pillow fillings, but that’s a challenging task with today’s plethora of alternatives.

A description of the most prevalent pillow filling kinds and their merits and downsides is provided below.

1. Down Pillow Filling

Down is the term used to describe the underside of a bird’s feathers. To be more precise, it’s the downy, fluffy portion of the feather. In comparison to synthetic alternatives, down retains its loft for up to three times longer and is extremely pliable.

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Hungarian goose down (otherwise known as European white goose down) is considered to be the best quality.

Unlike most other varieties of down, these clusters are pure white and much larger. There are no feathers in a real down cushion. The term “down” is frequently used to describe a product that contains both down and feathers. feathers are a cheap way to get extra plumpness, but they can poke you in the face while you sleep with their quills sticking out.

It’s recommended that you get only high-quality down fill for this type of pillow because of its lifespan.

Martha says she has pillows on her beds that are between 10 and 15 years old. Good-quality down is the cheapest option in the long run since it lasts longer than synthetic fillings, which typically wear out in three to four years.

Is that right, you’re 15? Martha’s pillows look like they’ve been well-cared for!

If you care about animals, you’ll pay a high price for going down. One of three methods is used to harvest down feathers: 1) post-mortem, after the animal has been killed for its flesh, 2) live plucking, or 3) gathering from living birds themselves.

Advantages of Down Pillow Filling:

  • A down pillow is moldable and pliable, providing excellent head and neck support.
  • Down pillows are light and cozy because they don’t use feathers, which don’t work well for flight. in addition to being gentle
  • with the appropriate care and attention, down pillows can last for many years
  • eco-friendly: down is a renewable material that is biodegradable as well as recyclable

Disadvantages of Down Pillow Filling:

  • can make your pillow feel hot and uncomfortable since it absorbs and retains your body heat
  • To keep them from flattening out, they must be fluffed on a regular basis.
  • hard to get rid of
  • Some people may find it too soft, resulting in erratic support that causes their head to be elevated either too high or too low.
  • costly
  • Down harvesting is considered cruel by some.

Amazon carries down pillow fillings. To fill a 20×26-inch cushion to capacity, you’ll need about one pound of stuffing.

2. Feather Pillow Filling

A feather’s less expensive sibling is down. We advise you to forgo feathers and invest in real down.

The quills of the feathers eventually align themselves so that they are all parallel to each other as a result of regular use. To avoid becoming flat and uncomfortable, this can lead a feather pillow to lose a significant amount of its loft. Degeneration can be slowened by adding a small amount of a feather down cluster.

Advantages of Feather Pillows:

  • a lot less expensive than going without
  • cuddly and light
  • moldable/malleable

Disadvantages of Feather Pillows:

  • According to the survey, “at least 15% of owners report a persistent and unpleasant stench.”
  • due to the quills flattening, it requires constant fluffing to maintain its loft
  • hard to get rid of
  • can make your pillow feel hot and uncomfortable since it absorbs and retains your body heat
  • Down harvesting is considered cruel by some.

Try this feather and down combination fill from Amazon if you’re okay with feathers’ bad features but want to save money. To fill a 20×26-inch cushion to capacity, you’ll need about one pound of stuffing.

3. Polyester Fiberfill Pillow Filling

Its low cost makes polyester fiberfill, commonly known by the trademarked term Poly-Fil, a popular choice for many people. In addition to being lightweight and easy to clean, it’s also CHEAP! Due to its low breathability, fiberfill can make your pillow fill warm, absorbing and holding onto your body heat. Because the fibers tend to clump, your pillow will feel flat and lumpy very quickly. Polyester pillow filling should be avoided unless you’re expressly looking for the most cost-effective choice.

Polyester Pillow Filling Advantages:

  • incredibly low-cost
  • efficient in terms of cleaning
  • lightweight

Polyester Pillow Filling Disadvantages:

  • clusters easily, necessitating constant adjusting and a lumpy pillow
  • Clumping causes it to last only a limited period of time.
  • Polyester fibers may pose a risk to your health and the environment because they are made with toxic chemicals including formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and other irritants.
  • unable to be molded or molded
  • not breathable — can feel warm

4. Shredded Memory Foam Pillow Filling

Even if it’s dangerous for your health, the filling in memory foam pillows is rather cool! Those of you who have experienced it know what I mean: It’s miraculous how it holds its shape. People are immediately taken in by the “magic” of memory foam, and that’s probably why it’s so popular.

Stuffing Your Pillow VID00031 - YouTube

The majority of mass-produced memory foam pillows are made from a single piece of memory foam that has been cut into a box shape. They have a cult following among some consumers. However, the inability to customize most memory foam pillows is a deal-breaker for the majority of consumers. Although it can be compressed and molded, memory foam always returns to its original rectangular shape. As a result of this drawback, memory foam that has been “shredded” is more popular. Torn chunks of memory foam give this product its name. You can mold your pillow because the individual bits of foam may move independently.

Advantages of Shredded Memory Foam Pillow Fill:

  • not cluster together
  • moldable/malleable
  • aids in a positive way

Disadvantages of Shredded Memory Foam Pillow Fill:

  • smell of chemicals
  • the release of toxic “off-gassing”
  • soften and become too thin, producing in irregular support that doesn’t raise your head high enough, when body heat is absorbed

There aren’t many options for shredded memory foam at your local retailer, but Amazon carries a few. To fill a regular 20×26-inch cushion, you’ll need about 2-3 pounds of stuffing.

5. Buckwheat Hull Pillow Filling

Buckwheat hulls are a great pillow fill since they are solid but pliable and breathable.

We sell buckwheat pillows, as a full transparency. These items are adored by us! All-natural, old-fashioned buckwheat hulls are the best pillow stuffing we’ve tried, in our opinion. We began making buckwheat pillows because we were convinced they were the best available.

Advantages of Buckwheat Hull Pillow Filling:

  • Buckwheat hulls provide the best neck and head support of any pillow filling available.
  • It’s easy to breathe, which helps keep you cool.
  • a long time to live
  • It can be molded into any shape and provides excellent support.
  • eco-friendly

Disadvantages of Buckwheat Hull Pillow Filling:

  • When buckwheat hulls are displaced, they generate a rustling sound.
  • it is quite hefty, at about 8 pounds for an 18′′ x 20′′ buckwheat pillow
  • For those who prefer soft pillows, the buckwheat hull filler doesn’t collapse under pressure, which can make the cushion feel “hard.”

Hullo buckwheat hulls cost $49 and $89 for a ten-pound package and twenty-pound box, respectively. All orders are shipped free of charge to anyone in the world.

6. Microbead Pillow Pillow Filling

“Uniform polymer particles” is another name for microbeads. In pillows, polystyrene microbeads are the most common filler. Synthetic buckwheat hulls, as the name suggests. They have a lot in common, including the ability to be molded and the ability to facilitate air flow. In contrast to conventional pillow fillings, microbeads lose their bulk and flatten out more quickly. In addition, they aren’t great for the planet.

Advantages of Microbead Pillow Filling:

  • keeps you cool during night — breathable
  • It can be molded to fit your head, neck, and shoulders, and it does so without losing its shape.
  • beneficial in huge pillows like beanbags because of their light weight

Disadvantages of Microbead Pillow Filling:

  • the smell of chemicals, as well as the risk for “off-gassing”
  • medium-firm, medium-loft mattresses are the only options available.
  • rapid degeneration and flattening out of microbeads

Although I haven’t used it, the company claims that these microbeads are more durable than others. There is evidence to suggest that they are smaller and denser than their counterparts.

7. Shredded Latex Pillow Filling

The use of latex pillows is becoming increasingly common. They’re soft and comfortable, providing exceptional head and neck support. The most common latex pillows are solid, box-shaped slabs of latex that aren’t moldable, like most memory foam pillows. Shredded latex cushion filling, on the other hand, may be molded and shaped.

Natural latex can be used as a cushion filling if a percentage of natural material is present in the synthetic blend. You should seek for “100% natural latex” labeled shredded latex cushion filler.

Advantages of Shredded Latex Pillow Filling:

  • moldable/malleable
  • Although it doesn’t give the breathability of buckwheat hulls or microbeads, it is breathable enough to keep you cool at night.
  • eco-friendly

Disadvantages of Shredded Latex Pillow Filling:

  • the smell of rubber
  • Some people may find it too soft, resulting in erratic support that causes their head to be elevated either too high or too low.
  • costly

It is possible to purchase 5 pound packs of organically shredded latex foam on Amazon.

8. Kapok Pillow Filling

Ceiba pentandra, or kapok, is a tropical tree endemic to Mexico that produces a fluffy, cotton-like material carrying hundreds of seeds when it flowers. Known as silk cotton, this light brown, squishy fiber has a silky feel to it. It’s a wonderful alternative to down or polyester pillow fill because of its softness.

As a result of its properties, kapok was used extensively in the manufacture of pillows, upholstery, and even life jackets. Kapok’s use dropped considerably after the introduction of polyester/polyurethane foams, but it is now witnessing a resurgence because to its all-natural qualities.

Advantages of Kapok Pillow Filling:

  • Some of the possibly harmful substances found in foam pillows
  • eco-friendly
  • alternative to foam or down pillows with a delicate feel

Disadvantages of Kapok Pillow Filling:

  • Extremely flammable
  • generate bumps, like polyester foam pillows, very soon
  • It’s not malleable and it loses its shape easily

Organic kapok can be found on Amazon. This is the amount of weight you’ll need to fill a standard-sized cushion (20×26″).

9. Wool Pillow Filling

Wool’s unique properties as a breathable and insulating material make it ideal for a wide range of applications. From clothing and bedding to carpeting, insulation, and upholstery, it’s been used widely for millennia. Due to its tendency to clump into balls, wool isn’t widely utilized as a pillow stuffing because it causes your pillow to be lumpy and inconsistent.

Advantages of  Wool Pillow Filling:

  • Some of the possibly harmful substances found in foam pillows
  • breathable

Disadvantages of Wool Pillow Filling:

  • Many people, especially in humid climates, complain about offensive odors.
  • Wool becomes lumpy and unpleasant as it wears down over time (see above photo)
  • moldable, but not as stable as down or buckwheat hull filling
  • Some people think it’s cruel.

Amazon sells merino wool in 1 pound packs. A standard-sized pillow can be filled to the brim with about three pounds of stuffing.

10. Cotton Pillow Filling

Compared to standard pillow fillings like down or polyfill, cotton is both softer and more compressible. Cotton has lost its dominance as a pillow filling to new synthetic materials like memory foam.

Advantages of  Cotton Pillow Filling:

  • odorless
  • Some of the possibly harmful substances found in foam pillows
  • breathable

Disadvantages of Cotton Pillow Filling:

  • Although it’s worth mentioning that cotton resists clumping more than wool, it can become lumpy and uncomfortable over time.
  • moldable, but not as stable as down or buckwheat hull filling

Organic cotton stuffing can be purchased by the pound on Amazon. A standard-sized pillow can be filled to the brim with about three pounds of stuffing.

11. Down Alternative Pillow Filling

An attempt is made to emulate the benefits of down while also addressing some of its drawbacks with down replacement pillow fillings.

Advantages of Down Alternative Pillow Filling:

  • It’s a lot less expensive than real down.
  • The majority of down alternative pillows may be washed without causing damage.

Disadvantages of Down Alternative Pillow Filling:

  • Most down-alternative fillings will acquire lumps over time if they are used often.
  • Unlike genuine down pillows, they are not moldable or pliable.
  • Traditional down pillows don’t hold as much heat as these ones.

Amazon sells this down alternative filler in one, two, three, and five-pound quantities. A standard-sized pillow can be filled with about two pounds of stuffing. There are a lot of different fillings marketed under various brand names, so be aware of this. In terms of quality, there is a wide range.

Don’t box yourself in! Make your pillow adjustable!

The appearance of your pillow can be drastically altered by varying the amount of pillow filler you use. Adding more stuffing to your pillow will often enhance the cushion’s loft and make it feel firmer. Reduced pillow stuffing, on the other hand, leads to a softer, thinner pillow. Pillow stuffing is almost as important as choosing the right kind of filler.

Most bed pillows are quickly sewed shut after the filling has been selected and inserted into a cloth cover. No more alterations can be made after it’s been sewed shut. A zippered opening is not included in the majority of commercially produced pillows since it is thought to be an unneeded and expensive feature. This is a must if you’re sewing your own pillows, and I highly recommend it. For those who prefer a higher or lower level of firmness or softness, this will allow you to add or remove filling.

* Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: Hulltex LLC (dba Hullo) participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Network, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a method for sites to make advertising fees by advertising and referring to amazon.com.com.

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Calculating Polyfill For Every Pillow

A pound or two for every standard-sized pillow

Because of the wide variety of pillow shapes and sizes available, the ideal amount of polyfill varies from one pillow to the next. One or two pounds of polyfill will fill an 18 by 18 inch pillow or a normal 20 by 26 inch cushion, to give you an idea. On the other hand, a 14 by 14-inch cushion can contain 0.6 pounds of polyfill.

Using these estimations as a guide, you can customize the hardness or loft of your pillow to your preferences. Keep in mind that depending on the shape of the pillow, you may need to remove or add some polyfill. When filling a cushion, you must take into account any crevices that may exist.

Polyfill stuffing tip

Adding additional polyfill to a pillow will result in a firmer pillow with a higher loft, which is better for back support. Due to the preference of some sleepers for something softer and thinner, the amount of polyfill used must be reduced. After stuffing, you can close the aperture with a stitch, but a zippered opening allows you to add more stuffing if necessary.

Put your head down on the pillow when you’ve finished stuffing. Head alignment and neck support are what you’re looking for in a pillow. The stuffing should not allow your head to sink any farther into the mattress in order to keep your body in an upright position while you sleep.

Should You Use Polyfill For Your Pillow

Cheap, lightweight, and easy to clean

A common pillow filler is polyfill or polyester fiberfill because of its many advantages. In terms of cost, it’s probably the least expensive alternative for pillow producers. Polyfill pillows, on the other hand, provide a similar sensation to down pillows.

Retains heat, short lifespan

Compared to other pillow materials, the material is easy to clean and lightweight. Polyfill, on the other hand, has the downside of being less permeable than other stuffings. Polyfill pillows flatten or create clumps over time because they absorb body heat.

The solution

You can use polyfill to fill a pillow if you want something that is easy to clean, lightweight, and mimics the feel of down feather filling for a fraction of the cost. In order to keep the cushion shape longer, you need blend it with other materials so that it doesn’t clump or flatten.

In addition, pillows filled with a mixture of polyfill and other materials are more breathable and moldable than pillows filled with polyfill alone. You’ll be able to enjoy a long-lasting, custom-made pillow. Alternatively, you may want to select a pillow that allows you to add or remove polyfill.

Who Should Use Polyfill

Polyfill pillows can be used by those who sleep on their back, side, or stomach, regardless of their sleeping position. For individuals who sleep on their side, however, the need for support is greater. To raise the loft of your pillow, add more polyfill to the filling.

Polyfill should be used sparingly if you plan to sleep on your stomach. Polyfill pillows, on the other hand, are a fantastic alternative to latex and memory foam pillows for those who are allergic to these materials. However, it is important to keep in mind that polyester pillows make a little noise when you move around.

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Final Reminder When Using Polyfill

Polyfill is a great alternative to down for making a cushion that is as comfy as the real thing. It is inexpensive, light, and simple to maintain. Although it is not pliable, holds heat, and flattens and forms clumps over time, those who need to relieve pressure must modify the filling.

A pillow filled with polyfill should be replaced or supplemented with different materials over time. Moldable and breathable, this pillow will keep its shape for a long time. Remember that the pillow’s structure provides the optimum support.


Making your own pillow is now a simple DIY project, and polyfill is a good filler material to use. When making a cushion, how much polyfill do I need to get the right density? For a standard-sized pillow, a pound or two of polyfill should be sufficient.

Use this estimate as a starting point when stuffing your pillow, then tweak it to suit your needs. When stuffing a pillow, you want to have the correct amount of loft and stiffness for support and comfort. When you’re stuffing a pillow, it helps to keep in mind the properties of polyfill.