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Best Organic Pillows: Materials, Certifications and More

plush pillows on a bed
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Parachute Team
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If you want to live greener, your sleeping environment is a great place to start. In addition to sustainably sourced sheets and bed layers, you might consider non-toxic pillows made of organic materials.

So what are the best organic pillows, and how do you know they're truly organic? This article will go over the materials, certifications and other key aspects, along with the pros and cons of choosing certified-organic, natural bed pillows.

What Is an Organic Pillow?

An organic pillow is a bed pillow or decorative cushion made up of at least 70% organic fibers, including both the fill component and the shell. Certified-organic pillows will carry a GOTSⓇ label, meaning they meet the Global Organic Textile Standard's strict criteria for organically made products.

Pros and Cons of Choosing Organic Pillows

Shoppers who are interested in eco-friendly pillows should consider going organic. Why? The best organic pillows are sustainably sourced, environmentally friendly and ethically made. 

Manufactured from natural materials, they're also breathable, ultra-soft, non-toxic, hypoallergenic and healthy for you and your family.

Pros of organic pillows:

  • Environmentally-friendly

  • Ethically made

  • Hypoallergenic

  • Healthy and non-toxic

  • Breathable

  • Ultra-soft

Cons of organic pillows:

  • Pricier than non-organic options

  • Not widely available

Natural pillows with a GOTS certification are often pricier than their non-organic counterparts. Additionally, they're not as widely available, so there are fewer choices when shopping for these bed pillows.

Why Buy Organic Pillows?

There's technically no such thing as a chemical-free pillow, as everything is a chemical — including naturally occurring compounds and even water. However, organic pillows are a great place to start if you're trying to avoid synthetic chemicals in your home.

In addition to limiting artificial substances in the home, the sourcing and production process of organic bedding products uses little to no harmful chemicals, like pesticides and fertilizers. Moreover, organic farming usually relies on rainwater instead of extracting water from the ground, which depletes the resource. This makes organic pillows better for the environment than non-organic options.

How to Choose the Best Organic Pillows

There are a few things to consider if you're in the market for the best organic pillows. This includes the fill material, shell material, loft, shape, moldability, support, firmness level, pressure relief, your preferred sleep position, temperature regulation, product certifications and price.

Fill Material

Organic pillows are generally made of natural materials, including both the fill and the shell. The fill can be down, feathers (sourced from geese or ducks), cotton, shredded latex, wool, kapok fibers, silk or buckwheat hulls.

Shell Material

The shell of an organic pillow is most often made of cotton sourced from organically grown cotton plants. This natural material is soft and inherently breathable with moisture-wicking properties.

Loft, Shape and Moldability

Bed pillows are made with different levels of loft (sometimes called fill power), which affects the shape. More fill fibers will generally make for a loftier pillow that holds its shape well, and the actual materials used will determine how moldable it is.

Support, Firmness Level and Pressure Relief

Some people prefer firmer pillows that provide more support, while others like to sleep on something lighter and softer. This is ultimately a matter of personal preference, but the best organic pillows should state how firm and supportive they are in the product description.

Sleep Position

Folks who sleep on their back or side will want a slightly thicker pillow, such as a gusseted design, that supports the head and neck. (You can find organic side-sleeper pillows with gussets, an additional strip of fabric around the sides to increase the height.)

People who sleep on their stomachs will want something slightly flatter, like a lightweight down-filled pillow. This will prevent straining the neck when lying down in bed.

Our guide on How to Choose the Right Pillow has more tips and insight into bed pillows for different sleeping styles and preferences.

Temperature Regulation

Natural pillows often provide better temperature regulation than synthetic options. Cotton, wool, silk and down are all breathable and moisture-wicking, meaning they help draw sweat away from your body while you sleep. They also have natural thermo-regulating properties that help you stay cozy when you're chilled and cool you off when you overheat.

Organic Certification

As noted, certified-organic pillows usually carry a GOTS label, meaning they meet all the Global Organic Textile Standard criteria. In order to be certified organic, a pillow must be made of at least 70% organic materials and meet strict standards at all six stages of the supply chain.

The six stages of the GOTS supply chain include:

  1. First processing

  2. Spinning

  3. Weaving and knitting

  4. Wet-processing

  5. Manufacturing

  6. Trading

GOTS is an independent third-party organization that offers certification to textile processors, manufacturers and brands in all major markets. This provides transparency and trust among consumers looking to buy organic goods sourced from eco-friendly, ethical supply chains.

What Is GOTSⓇ? Check out our blog to learn more about this organic textile certification.

Organic pillows filled with latex might be certified by the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), and those filled with wool may have a USDA certification.


Affordable organic pillows are difficult to come by. With sourcing criteria and certification requirements, organic bed pillows and bedding are typically more complex and expensive to make than non-organic products. That's why you'll often see a higher price tag — but it's worth the investment for many consumers.

Types of Organic Pillows

The Global Organic Textile Standard certifies products made of various materials, including organically grown plants and animal-sourced fibers. Though cotton is the most common, the best organic pillows can be made of down, latex, wool, silk, kapok or buckwheat — to name just a few.

Organic Cotton

An organic cotton pillow might feature cotton fill fibers, a cotton shell or both. The versatile material is naturally breathable, meaning air easily passes through. It’s also soft and moisture-wicking.

What Is Organic Cotton? See our guide for more information about this popular, sustainable bedding fabric.

Responsible Down

Some bed pillows are filled with down fibers from the undercoats of geese or ducks. This material is insulating yet breathable with natural sweat-wicking and antimicrobial properties that keep odor-causing bacteria at bay.

Down fill may or may not be certified organic. If not, you can look for the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) label, which tells you the material was ethically sourced from live, humanely treated animals.

Organic Latex

Natural pillows can also be filled with organic latex, whether it's chopped pieces for a moldable feel or a solid block with more support. Like down, latex is naturally antimicrobial, so you can bet it prevents odors caused by bacteria-laden sweat.

When buying a latex bed pillow, look for the GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) label, which tells you it's certified organic by the independent organization.

Organic Wool

Organic wool can be certified by GOTS or the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture). To be certified organic, the USDA requires wool to be sourced from sheep raised without synthetic hormones. They must also live in organic pastures with year-round access to the outdoors.


Organic silk comes from mulberry worms. Some pillows are filled with silk fibers, and while a silk shell is rare, silk pillowcases are a popular choice. The super-smooth material is breathable, slightly cooling and somewhat slick, which is why some find it helps prevent creases on the face and frizzy hair while sleeping.

Like wool, silk isn't a vegan textile, but a GOTS certification tells you it's responsibly sourced and produced with minimal water and no pesticides or artificial chemicals.

Why Sleep on a Silk Pillowcase? Read our guide to silk pillowcases to find out.

Kapok Fibers

If you're interested in a natural-fiber pillow or an organic down-alternative pillow filled with something other than wool or silk, consider kapok. Sourced from the seed pods of kapok trees, kapok fibers are a renewable, biodegradable material that looks similar to wool and has a lightweight, silk-like feel.

Buckwheat Hulls

Natural-fiber pillows can also be filled with buckwheat hulls. The material is on the heavier side, which might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it provides excellent support and retains its shape throughout the night.

What Makes a Pillow Organic?

A product can claim that it's made from organic materials, but in order to be certified organic, it has to carry a GOTS label (or GOLS for latex and, in some cases, USDA for wool).

The Global Organic Textile Standard is the leading certifier of organically made textiles, including bedding and bed pillows. Beyond ensuring a pillow consists of 70% or more organic materials, the organization certifies that all stages of the supply chain adhere to its ecological and social criteria.

Bed pillows might also have an Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification. While this label does not mean a product is organic, it tells you it's free of upwards of 100 potentially harmful substances.

What Is Oeko-Tex? Read our article to learn more about this crucial textile certification.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Organic Pillows

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the best organic pillows below.

How do I know my pillow is actually organic?

Natural pillows aren't necessarily organic. The only way to be sure a pillow is organic is if it's certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). That said, each component of the pillow might carry a separate certification. For instance, the fill could be USDA certified-organic wool or GOLS-certified organic latex, while the shell might be GOTS-certified organic cotton.

Are organic pillows worth it?

Organic pillows are often more expensive than non-organic options. But if you're in the market for a healthy pillow made of safe materials and produced with an ethical, environmentally friendly supply chain, they might be worth the investment. However, you should know that while they're generally durable, organic pillows don't typically last longer than regular pillows.

How do I clean an organic pillow?

An organic pillow can usually be cleaned the same way you'd clean a non-organic pillow. You can spot-clean the shell as needed using mild soap and a clean, damp cloth. Some can be hand-washed or even machine-washed, but you'll want to check the brand's care instructions first to prevent damage.

Can You Wash Pillows? Get answers in our blog.

How long do organic pillows last?

It depends on the materials, but organic pillows can last two to four years. That said, even top-rated organic pillows should be replaced eventually. If you use yours nightly for sleeping, you'll probably want to switch them out for new ones every couple of years.

Do organic pillows have an odor?

This depends on what materials are used. Wool, kapok fibers and buckwheat hulls can have a slight odor at first, but it should dissipate after a few days. Memory foam pillows are more likely to have an odor, but this type of bed pillow is usually not organic.

Natural Pillows and Organic Bed Linens From Parachute

If you're looking for sustainably sourced natural pillows and certified-organic bedding, Parachute is a great place to shop. When you browse the collections, you'll find down and down-alternative bed pillows with varying levels of firmness, as well as gusseted options for side sleepers.

Parachute also carries GOTS organic cotton bed linens, including sheets, duvet covers, pillowcases, shams, comforters, quilts and decorative pillow covers. Organic or not, all textiles and bedding essentials from Parachute are Oeko-Tex certified for chemical safety.

Shop the selection today!

Read Next:

Best Sustainable and Organic Bathroom Products

Best Organic Bed Sheets: What to Look for in Organic and Natural Bedding

Best Organic Robes: What to Look For in an Organic Bathrobe

Organic Clothing Guide: What Natural Clothes to Buy for You and Your Kids

Fabric and Bedding Materials Guide

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Cary D, et al. Identifying relationships between sleep posture and non-specific spinal symptoms in adults: A scoping review. BMJ open vol. 9,6 e027633. 28 Jun. 2019, doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027633

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Shobowale OO, et al. Phytochemical and Antimicrobial Evaluation of Aqueous and Organic Extracts of Calotropis procera Ait Leaf and Latex. Nigerian Food Journal. Vol 31, Issue 1. 2013.

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Zheng Y, et al. (2014). Research and application of kapok fiber as an absorbing material: A mini review. Journal of Environmental Sciences. 27. 10.1016/j.jes.2014.09.026.