What Is A Down Alternative Pillow. Read This First

The answer to the question of what is a down alternative pillow is that it’s a pillow that uses polyester microfibers. It’s meant to mimic the feeling of down pillows without using down themselves. Therefore, it’s a reasonable consideration for those who are allergic to such material. 

Making a down pillow is relatively easy, but the down filling can be more costly than other pillows. Good quality polyester microfiber can be as soft as down without being too pricey. But what else should you know about this down alternative?


What Are Down Alternative Pillows?

When looking for pillows, you have probably come across those labeled as down alternatives. And from the name itself, these pillows are what you can use as replacements for down pillows if you can’t or don’t want down but still like their feel on pillows. Instead of down, these pillows use polyester microfibers. 

Now, you might be thinking, are down alternative pillows similar to polyfill pillows? The answer is no because down alternative pillows are of better quality and come at a higher price point. They can mimic the luxurious feel, softness, and thickness of down pillows, and they can either be synthetic or man-made. 

You’ll also notice that when using a down alternative pillow, it feels supple yet dense. Remember that down fills sometimes shift when you lie on them, but down alternative fills do not compress. However, like other pillow materials, there will be low-quality and cheaper down alternative pillows that can give you an underwhelming experience.


Down Alternative Vs Down Pillows



When using down alternative and down pillows, you’ll notice similarities in the overall feel. But as mentioned earlier, down alternative pillows do not slide as often as down pillows, and they feel denser. However, down pillows feel more lightweight and plush.

In terms of heat retention, do note that down has remarkable insulating properties. If you sleep hot and need a cool pillow, it’s best to select an alternative down pillow. Otherwise, down pillows are not as uncomfortable in terms of heat retention as foam pillows.



One of the reasons why sleepers choose down alternative pillows is their sensitivity to down and feather materials. Remember that you might be allergic to natural oils and dander present in these bird products. However, it’s also worth noting that there are down pillows labeled as hypoallergenic and are cleaned thoroughly to avoid respiratory allergies. 



Between down alternative and down pillows, the latter will retain its structure longer. Remember that natural materials take a long time to lose their support compared to synthetic materials. Still, choosing a high-quality down alternative pillow and caring for it properly will last you for years, which is impressive compared to the cheaper polyfill pillow. 



Down pillows are sourced naturally from birds. Therefore, you can assume that it is compostable than the man-made down alternative pillows. But if you want to ease your mind further, it would be best to check if your down pillow manufacturer follows sustainable and humane practices. 

The American Down And Feather Council mentioned that producers and suppliers must follow animal welfare laws worldwide. You must check if the company is a member of an industry organization to ensure if the down materials are not illegally harvested from live birds. Gathering down from birds should only be during the molting period when these materials naturally fall or loosen for humane removal. 


How To Care For Down Alternative Pillows

As with any pillow, you want to maintain your down alternative pillows to help keep their supportive and comfortable form. They should also stay clean to discourage the build-up of harmful allergens and pathogens like bacteria, mold, and dust mites. Start by using the appropriate pillowcase that you can wash regularly. 

Now and then, it would help if you also washed your down alternative pillow. Check its label to know the manufacturer’s recommendations, but generally, you can put it in the washing machine. Use cold water and gentle detergent and wash the pillow on a normal cycle. 

Compared to down pillows, washing down alternative pillows in the machine won’t ruin their fill and form clumps. However, the emphasis is still necessary on using a gentle cycle and detergents according to the label. Furthermore, dry your pillow entirely in the lowest dryer setting or outdoors to prevent mold growth. 


Who Can’t Use Down Alternative Pillows

Down alternative pillows may not be suited to heavier individuals or those with breathing issues and neck pain. They might feel too supple to provide adequate support that is crucial for maintaining a good sleeping posture. Those with neck pain must choose a conforming material to alleviate discomfort, while sleepers with breathing issues should use firmer materials that provide a high loft to keep their heads elevated. 



Down pillows feel luxurious but also come in high price points. However, do you know what is a down alternative pillow? This pillow can replace down pillows but still provide the unique suppleness from down. 

Down alternative pillows use polyester microfibers, not to be confused with the cheaper polyfill stuffing. They don’t compress and shift when you lie on them, but they come at a lower price point than down pillows. However, do note that various down alternative pillows in the market also come in different qualities.