Kapok Versus Cotton: What Makes a Better Pillow?

Kapok Versus Cotton: What Makes a Better Pillow?

There seem to be very minimal differences between Kapok and traditional cotton pillows, due to their softness being similar in nature. However, differences are still present between the two in terms of composition, which is what this article aims to address. So let’s dive straight into it!

What on earth is Kapok?

This material is also known as silk or java cotton. The name Kapok refers to not only the fiber harvested from the fruit but also the tree that the fruit originates from. Within the fruit, the seedpods are where the fibers are extracted from.  The seedpod of its fruit can produce the fluffy materials through hundreds of seeds, and a fully grown tree may yield up to 15 kilograms of fibers each year.

Harvesting starts with knocking down unopened ripe pods and then hulling the fruit initiates to remove the seeds and fibers by hand. 

What are its characteristics?

Kapok’s fiber characteristics can be described as bouncy, as it can retain its original state despite force being applied. In terms of touch and feel, it is silkier than cotton, making it a viable alternative to cotton and synthetic materials. 

Because of the bouncy nature, the fibers may redistribute unevenly. This is easily fixed by fluffing the pillow often to evenly distribute them again. In time, this material may flatten and require extra filling, which is usually after several months. 

Kapok has a waterproof waxy coating that makes it slippery and may give a reminiscent experience of memory foam by retaining and adjusting to the shape of your head. It also resists clumping unlike wool and retains its shape after washing.  Although, some machines may cause the fibers to clump, which is solved by fluffing in between wash cycles. 

This material is also very lightweight, as the material is eight times lighter than cotton by volume. 

Take precautions with this textile if you have fire hazards around, as this material is highly flammable and may cause injuries and damage to property. 

Kapok is environmentally friendly

The fibers are non-toxic and naturally biodegradable, which means a smaller carbon footprint. It is also good for those who suffer from allergies, as they contain similar properties to down pillows, but without the allergens. 

What is Cotton?

Cotton has been around for centuries and can be crowned as one of the most reliable and tested materials for textiles. It is a fibrous substance that occurs naturally around the seeds of the tropical cotton plant. America now harvests cotton using machines, but there are still businesses that still use cotton extracted manually by hand. 

What are Cotton’s characteristics?

Cotton provides better support than Kapok because of it’s firmer and flatter nature. It is hypoallergenic as well, being a better alternative to down pillows. It has good absorbency, which helps with cooling the body as it wicks away water and allows it to evaporate. It is also machine washable and ready for dry-cleaning for most instances.

Cotton is also extremely durable due to its heavy nature. However, it may require frequent cleaning due to its absorbency, which attracts unwanted substances like mold and even pests such as dust mites. 

Cotton is also environmentally friendly

Cotton is also non-toxic and naturally biodegradable. This way, it is easier to dispose of and there is less of an issue with decomposition once the lifespan of the pillow is over.  


Both materials are viable alternatives for stuffings, but the choice depends on your needs. Kapok ones are easier to clean and maintain, while Cotton ones have been tried and tested for years. With the information above, we here at Eco Comfort offer organic alternatives, with options that contain both materials. Make the switch with our eco health pillows or get in touch with us today to see how we can help!

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