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What is Kapok?

What is Kapok?

What is Kapok?

You know how sometimes it’s better not to know what’s inside something? Like chicken nuggets. Crispy, delicious chicken nuggets. 

If you looked into what regular old chicken nuggets are made out of, you’d see some things that might seriously bring down your enthusiasm for fast food. Really. Don’t look it up. 

You just did it, didn’t you? Well, we warned you. 

Luckily, you don’t have to worry about discovering untold horrors if you investigate the components of your pillows. Unless they’re down pillows, in which case… yeah, you might not want to know what it takes to make those, either. 

You’re more likely to encounter questions than uncomfortable truths, though, when exploring different pillow stuffings. Today, we’re getting out ahead of one of those questions — what is kapok?

Man jumping over a mattress holding two slices of pizza

PICTURED: The sheer joy of finding out what kapok is

What is Kapok?

Kapok — as you might have guessed — is a fluffy fiber that can be used as a filling for items like pillows, cushions, toys, and more. It’s pronounced kay-pock, in case anyone wanted to be able to wow their coworkers with all these fun kapok facts around the water cooler tomorrow. 

The kapok fiber grows inside seed pods on the kapok tree, also known as the ceiba tree. Kapok trees are tropical trees native to Mexico, West Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean. 

Good news: no trees are harmed in the making of kapok-filled pillows. Harvesting kapok is fairly simple. Instead of pulling the pods off of the kapok trees (or worse, cutting down the trees), you can simply wait for the pods to naturally fall on the ground. 

Even better news: kapok trees don’t require irrigation or any environmentally-unfriendly chemicals like fertilizers or pesticides. They just do their thing, and then people can come along and collect the fallen seed pods to make pillows or any other comfy, stuffed object. 

Large tree with person standing in front

Ladies and gentlemen… HER <3

What does kapok feel like?

Before any processing, kapok feels a lot like raw cotton. It looks a lot like it too. But chances are good you’ll never see raw kapok (sorry, you’re missing out!), so the real question is — what does kapok feel like in pillows?

As a pillow filling, many people say that kapok feels a lot like down or a high-quality down alternative like latex. It’s super soft and fluffy and comfortable. It doesn’t compromise on support, though. You can trust kapok to hold its shape and support you. 

If only our exes had done that… Replace them with a kapok body pillow and it’ll be an upgrade, tbh. 

Which is better: cotton, down, or kapok?

Cotton and down are two of the most common pillow fillings, so it’s worth comparing them to kapok to see how it stacks up. 

Kapok is said to be even silkier and softer than cotton. It will also bounce back to its original shape easier than cotton or down. Feel like your pillow’s weighing you down? Kapok is lightweight — many times lighter than cotton. 

In terms of environmental friendliness, kapok is also the clear winner. Talk about a runaway victory. Kapok leaves a very small carbon footprint due to the way it's harvested. Cotton, on the other hand, is harmful to the environment in several ways

Goose down barely gets a mention here because… it just can’t keep up. Kapok is a better, vegan alternative. Sorry (not sorry) goose down!

Ready to experience the comfort and support of a kapok pillow? Pre-order Sheets & Giggles' new adjustable pillow filled with kapok and shredded latex, now!

Man pressing his face into a mattress 

For now, your mattress is good enough, right?

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