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What Is a Hypoallergenic Pillow?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 23, 2024
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A hypoallergenic pillow is a pillow which is designed to minimize the development of allergic reactions. Many department stores and medical suppliers sell hypoallergenic pillows, along with pillow wraps which are designed to make ordinary pillows more hypoallergenic. When used in combination with other hypoallergenic bedding and an allergy management plan, a hypoallergenic pillow can be a very useful tool. Even on its own, a hypoallergenic pillow can make a big difference in sleep comfort and overall allergy levels.

Several concerns are addressed in the construction of a hypoallergenic pillow. The first is the material used. Some materials can trigger allergic reactions, such as down and other animal products, or certain dyes. In a hypoallergenic pillow, the materials used are as hypoallergenic as possible. Often, this requires that synthetic materials are used in the construction of the pillow, as natural fibers and animal products can cause allergies. This means that the pillow is less likely to induce allergies straight out of the box.

Furthermore, a hypoallergenic pillow is also designed to repel dust mites, one of the leading causes of allergies. Dust mites gravitate towards shed skin, hair, and oils, all things which tend to accumulate inside the stuffing of pillows over time. Hypoallergenic pillows are sealed so that dust mites cannot get into the pillow, with materials which also repel mold and mildew, substances which can cause allergic reactions.

Many hypoallergenic pillows are also designed to be easy to wash and dry, so that they can be cleaned frequently for hygienic reasons and to reduce allergies caused by accumulated dust and dirt. It is also possible to purchase hypoallergenic pillow cases for use with hypoallergenic pillows, although conventional pillow cases can be used as well.

For people who struggle with allergies, pillows are often a major source of allergy symptoms, given the amount of time spent in bed. Using a hypoallergenic pillow along with an allergy-friendly comforter and other hypoallergenic bedding can make the bed a more comfortable place to be, reducing overall allergies and promoting balanced, healthy sleep. Hypoallergenic supplies tend to be expensive, because manufacturers recognize that they are in high demand, and if one was going to purchase only one hypoallergenic bedding item, it should definitely be a pillow, since pillows are so close to the head.

Consumers should be aware that manufacturers of hypoallergenic products are often not required to independently certify their products. A product labeled as “hypoallergenic” may not necessarily be hypoallergenic, and no hypoallergenic product can completely prevent allergies.

PillowGuide is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a PillowGuide researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By SarahSon — On Aug 16, 2011

I love the feel of a down pillow, but needed to find something that was hypoallergenic. They make these pillows with a down alternative that is wonderful. This way you get the feel of the down, but the benefits of it being hypoallergenic.

I sleep with my hypoallergenic pillow all year long, but especially wouldn't be without it in the spring and early fall. I also purchased a hypoallergenic mattress pad when I bought my pillow.

There are a lot of hypoallergenic bedding options that you can buy in addition to the pillows and pillowcases.

By LisaLou — On Aug 15, 2011

I've had my own battle trying to find a good hypoallergenic pillow -- it can be harder than you'd think! I was looking for something natural and organic, but still wanted a hypoallergenic pillow.

I began doing some research online and found one that was made with organic cotton and soy. What really sold me on it was that the pillow was more of a foam texture which would give added support to my neck and shoulders.

Having a comfortable pillow makes a big difference in the quality of sleep I get. I like having a pillow that is firm but flexible and I love this foam hypoallergenic pillow. Even when I go on a trip I will take my pillow with me so I can get a good nights sleep.

By bagley79 — On Aug 14, 2011

When those hypoallergenic pillows first came out, I thought it was just another way for companies to make some money and didn't think they would actually make a difference.

I do suffer from allergies and after doing some reading on them, thought it would not hurt to give one a try. In addition to the pillow, I also bought two hypoallergenic pillowcases. I wanted to be able to wash both of them on a regular basis.

Just the thought of keeping the dust mites away is enough for me to continue using my hypoallergenic pillow. I still fight my allergies and have a hard time knowing if the pillow has made much difference, but at least I feel better about using it.

By wander — On Aug 14, 2011

Honestly I have found that some hypoallergenic pillows are a real waste of money. It seems that unless you really do your research there is no way of knowing whether a pillow is really hypoallergenic or if it is just a marketing ploy.

I have found that the only way to really check if your pillow selection is decent or not is by taking the time to read the reviews for products on websites. Online reviews can be a good way to see if the more expensive pillows are worth bothering with. Also, you may be able to get your doctor to recommended a particular product they think actually works.

In my case I ended up using a combination of the two. I asked my doctor what to look for as far as materials went, then went online and found a product that had the best reviews.

By lonelygod — On Aug 13, 2011

Purchasing hypoallergenic pillows can really help those who have allergies and suffer from asthma attacks brought on by things like dust. For years I had suffered from really bad allergies and asthma and I found that getting an entirely hypoallergenic bedding set did wonders for my symptoms.

For myself getting rid of my old pillows seemed to prevent me from waking up with really bad sniffles and watery eyes. I guess when you think about it, there can be thousands upon thousands of dust mites trapped in your regular bedding. There is now way that breathing in that stuff can be good for you. If you really want to freak yourself out. Go look at a dust mite photo and see if you want those things in your bed.

By irontoenail — On Aug 12, 2011

@Mor - If you are worried about that, I think you can buy stuff to spray on the pillows after you have washed them.

But if you are worried about needing a truly hypoallergenic pillow, you should probably try to get a more expensive one that will last more than a few washes.

Often people need hypoallergenic bedding for bad allergies and it's quite essential to get them right, or they won't be able to sleep, or might develop a rash, or worse.

So, spending a little more upfront is usually the best way to go.

By Mor — On Aug 12, 2011

You should check before washing your hypoallergenic pillows. Although some of them have been designed so that you can wash them regularly, I use rather cheap ones. And they are mainly hypoallergenic because they've been treated with something that prevents dust mites.

The packaging said that you should wash them as little as possible, as they were only really guaranteed for a few washes.

This kind of goes against good hypoallergenic practices, but I only want the pillows to combat my dust allergy, and that comes from dust mites, so they work out well for me.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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