Talk of Pillows

Someone asks me recently if I could suggest pillows that would work, a question I have been asked before, but I really cannot answer in relation to the material on Solveeczema, at least with any degree of certainty.

We still mostly do without.

At one point, I ordered several very expensive organic pillows (cotton, wool, etc.) that were supposed to have been formulated for people with allergies.  All caused congestion (but no eczema).

I did wash all of the pillows, which turned out to be pretty difficult — especially with cotton, any agitation at all would ruin the fill.  I did a lot of machine soaking and spinning out with no agitation.  There’s no way to know if the congestion was because of the materials or a failure of the washing technique.

In desperation, I did finally pull some old boudoir-sized 100% goosedown pillows out of the closet, and toss them in the washing machine.  At least I didn’t have to worry about lumps forming from agitation.  I wasn’t sure they would survive the washing, though.  I washed several times, including a soaking with oxygen-based bleach, followed by soap and including hot water washes, followed by lots and lots of plain water washes and rinses.

The pillows came out of the front-load washer as flat as pancakes.  They looked ruined.  But I put them in the dryer by themselves, and dried until they were thoroughly dry.  They came out beautifully normal in the end, like I had never washed them.

I can’t recommend this to other people, because down is expensive (and we were probably lucky we didn’t ruin ours), and I suspect a great many people will still be allergic to something like down even after thorough washing.  But it was the only thing in our case that we were able to wash thoroughly — and in the end, surprisingly, it didn’t cause any congestion or eczema.  (Though it did become clear that if we wanted the pillows to remain so, we would have to keep them pretty clean, i.e., wash them again on a fairly regular basis.  Who knows how long they will last this way.)

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