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What is a Latex Pillow?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
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A latex pillow is a pillow made of soft foam, which may be produced with sap from the rubber tree. This isn’t always the case, and some pillow companies created blended latex pillows that contain synthetic latex. The attraction of having a natural pillow that is more eco friendly draws some consumers to latex pillows, and they should look for those that are sold as 100% natural latex to avoid getting synthetically produced ones. Others simply like both natural and synthetic latex because they provide firm and bouncy comfort, and they’re long lasting.

There is some variation in types of the latex pillow. The most common ones are bed pillows, made to comfort the head while sleeping. Other types like neck rests for cars or lumbar cushions are available too. Size of the latex bed pillow may be a little different than other pillows. Many of the pillows have contouring, which offers neck support and may be a particular favorite for people who have back and neck pain. Others are shaped much like the standard pillow shape, and may come in standard, queen, and king sizes to accommodate differently sized beds.

These pillows also vary by covering. Some are covered with materials like 100% organic cotton, and others have polyester/cotton or terrycloth covers. A few feature wool covers. As with the average bed pillow, most will require a traditional pillow cover for sleeping and to prevent staining of the pillow.

People may wonder if a latex pillow will be too firm. Some companies do make the pillows in varying degrees of firmness, but even those rated as “soft” may not be comparable with a very thin soft filled bed pillow. Those who normally prefer a firmer pillow are likely to find latex fairly comfortable. Many especially praise its bounce-back quality, since it won’t remain crushed as people change positions while they sleep.

Some of the benefits of bed pillows made of latex include their durability and their eco-friendliness. These pillows can also be labeled as hypoallergenic, though this deserves explanation. Latex is hypoallergenic in the sense that it resists mold and dust mites, but some people have very serious latex allergies and should not use a latex pillow. Those who might be at risk for latex allergies, like those who work around latex all the time or who have had multiple medical procedures or hospitalizations in the past, may want to avoid these pillows too.

Other pros to latex pillows include their ability to retain shape. Though initial investment can be pricey, many of these pillows will last, with proper care, for about five years. A few brands back up durability claims with a money back guarantee.

Though there are many fans of latex pillows, more than a few people don’t care for them. At first, people may be annoyed by their smell, which is similar to rubber tires. This does dissipate as the pillow ages, but it can prove too annoying for sleep at first. Another objection is price, which is usually much higher than that of a standard pillow. Others find these pillows too firm, and like being able to crush their pillows at night, and in this case a latex pillow is probably not a good option.

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.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a PillowGuide contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By Othilia — On May 25, 2011

@Andrade- I think your concerns are valid.

Synthetic latex is known to out-gas toxic chemicals into the air. The extent to which these chemicals are harmful is still up for debate, but many people report problems related to synthetic latex out-gas exposure.

Symptoms described are headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and nausea.

If it doesn't put your job in jeopardy, you might look into the safety issue for the patients, as well as the employees.

By Andrade — On May 24, 2011

The hospital where I work uses only latex pillows and latex mattress toppers. They're covered, of course, for people who are allergic to latex, but you can smell them from the parking lot.

They do smell just like rubber tires. Imagine a whole building that smells like that! I wonder sometimes how healthy it is to be breathing that in, especially for people who are already sick.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a PillowGuide contributor, Tricia...
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