sleeping woman

3 Organic Bedroom Pillows Which Improves Your Sleep

When you think of the words ‘natural pillow’ or ‘organic pillow’, what type of pillow comes to your mind? You might be thinking of the usual suspects: cotton, wool, feathers, and down. All those are all fine and good, with their own associated pros and cons, but today we are going to introduce to three types of organic pillow fillings that you may not have heard of before: buckwheat hull pillows, kapok pillows, and latex pillows. We will discuss what they are and why they may or may not be suitable for your individual needs.

 

Kapok Pillows

Kapok pillows are filled with kapok, which is known as ceiba pentandra is a tropical tree that is native to Mexico. During the right seasons, this tree (which can grow be as high as 60 meters with 3 meter wide trunks) drops its leaves and produces flowers. Should these flowers get pollinated, usually by bats, the result is a fluffy material that resembles cotton, which contains the seeds of the tree. This material is a soft fiber that is light brown in color, and is sometimes referred to as ‘silk cotton’. While the material resembles cotton visually (except the color of course), the feel of kapok is much closer to down, and is a good non-synthetic down equivalent pillow (since down pillows are the most expensive type of pillow).

So what should you know about kapok pillows? First is that they are very soft and fluffy. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the level of spinal and neck support that you need. Kapok pillows would definitely not make good neck pain pillows, for example. Just like down pillows, kapok pillows are not easily moldable so if you are the type that frequently changes sleeping positions during the night, kapok pillows may also not be the most comfortable for you. The main complaints when it comes to kapok pillows are the aforementioned lack of moldability as well as the development of lumps. However, one good thing about kapok pillows is that you can adjust the loft (the height of a pillow when it is flat on the mattress) of the pillow by adding and removing the kapok filling as necessary. If you are looking for a natural alternative to down or polyester pillows and you don’t mind a softer pillow, kapok pillows can be a good choice. Please note that they are highly flammable, so be careful if you’re a candle and incense-lighting hippie.

plush pillows

Buckwheat Hull Pillows

Buckwheat hulls are the hulls of buckwheat (obviously), but despite the word ‘wheat’ in their name, they are not wheat or any other type of grain, they are seeds. However, they are a wheat alternative, and buckwheat flour is a common gluten-free alternative to regular wheat flour. The hulls of these seeds are then used for buckwheat pillows.

First thing you should know is that buckwheat pillows are firm, in fact they are one of the firmest pillows there are, meaning that unlike kapok pillows, they make excellent neck pain pillows.  However, despite being very firm, they are extremely moldable due to the rolling nature of the buckwheat hulls. This is also one of the drawbacks however; every time these pillows get remolded from your shifting weight, the rubbing of the hulls against each other creates a rustling sound, which while most people say they eventually get used to this noise, very light sleepers may find it impossible to sleep with a buckwheat hull pillow. Just like kapas, you can adjust the loft and size of the pillow by adding or substracting the buckwheat filling. Buckwheat pillows are also really heavy, and can weigh as much as 8 pounds.

 

Latex Pillows

First you should know that not all pillows marketed as ‘natural latex’ are 100% latex; regulations allow manufacturers to label pillows above a certain percentage of latex as ‘natural latex’ and many are actually memory foam latex blends, which is not surprising as both memory foam and latex have very similar properties. However, many people find latex to be far less moldable compared to memory foam and other types of pillows, particularly the pure latex loafs. Latex pillows are great if you sleep on your side. Check out these pillow guide for side sleepers if you are looking for the best side sleeper pillow. There are also shredded latex pillows which are far more moldable, much more breathable, and also adjustable as you can then adjust the amount of filling within the pillow (warning: this process can be very messy as you will find yourself dealing with many tiny rubber flakes). Another common complaint is that many latex pillows have a strong rubber odor that may bring up unpleasant sensory memories of the dentist’s chair.

clean home

How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your House

Apartment living brings a unique set of challenges, and common household pests are one such challenge. In fact, these pests can often prove to be even more of a problem compared to living in a house because you will have less control of the surrounding environment. For instance, you may be a neat freak but your neighbors are slobs. Or you have a crappy landlord who doesn’t maintain the place very well. Or you might not even have pets, but end up having fleas in your apartment because of your neighbors’ pets! And so on.

If you are dealing with a flea infestation in your apartment, whether you have pets or not, then this article is for you! Read on to find out how to get rid of your flea problem once and for all.

Reach for the Vacuum

vacuum carpetWhen you found out you had a flea problem, did you mind immediately race to flea bombs, sprays, and other pesticides? Well, before dousing your apartment in chemicals, the first step is to get yourself a powerful and high quality vacuum. This article on how to get rid of fleas in carpet recommends using the vacuum as the first step in removing fleas at home. Vacuuming is actually the most effective non-chemical tool in your war against fleas for several reasons. One, because fleas don’t really ‘hide’ in nests in your walls, cracks, or crevices like roaches, they are right out there in the open (although you may not be able to see them). And for obvious reasons, fleas are attracted to us, instead of running away when they see us.

Second, fleas are tiny, and vacuuming can easily suck them up. And not only that, vacuums are effective against ALL stages of the flea lifecycle: eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults (did you know that adult fleas are only about 10% of the total flea population?). The most challenging stage of the flea to target is the pupal stage because the cocoon is waterproof and protects it from pesticides. However, not only can the vacuum suck these up as well, but even for those pupae it  misses, the vibrations from the vacuum can cause adult fleas to emerge prematurely, exposing them for elimination via other methods (or your next vacuuming run). And third, since fleas like to live in carpets, vacuuming raises the fibers in the carpets, making them more permeable to insecticides. As for frequency, we recommend that you vacuum your apartment every other day until the infestation is gone.

Hot Water Laundry

Depending on the severity of your infestation, you may want to launder everything that can be laundered in hot soapy water. If you have pets, laundering your pets bedding in this manner is a must, and if it’s really serious, you may have to dispose of it entirely. Do this step in conjunction with vacuuming.

Insecticides

When it comes to killing fleas, this is the best method. Generally insecticides come in two types: insecticidal solutions and insect growth regulators (“IGR”). Insecticidal solutions target adult fleas and eggs while IGR does not actually kill fleas but prevent larvae from maturing into adult fleas. Just so you know, flea larvae are not a threat to you or your pets as they are not bloodsuckers (yet), instead they subsist on what is colloquially known as ‘flea dirt’, which is the dried blood and feces of adult fleas.

insecticide sprayWhile it is possible to buy liquid insecticides and IGR separately, most products have them already premixed for convenience. Our top recommendation is to buy a flea spray, which contains both of these in aerosol form, which stick to surfaces better compared to liquid solutions and is of course, much more convenient. Use the flea spray after the vacuuming process.

While mostly harmless, you should be aware at all times that you are still dealing with potentially hazardous chemicals, particularly if you have small pets or children living with you. Pay close attention to the active ingredient of the pesticide you are using (ALWAYS read the labels) as some of them are only suited for certain types of animals. For example, flea sprays for dogs should NOT be used on cats as they likely contain pyrethrins which are toxic to felines (studies have shown a mortality rate of over 30%). If you are using flea sprays or dips on your pet (if any), make sure you treat your pet before treating your house as your pet is the main source of attraction for the fleas.

And finally, we do not recommend using flea bombs unless as a ‘final solution’. This is because flea bombs carry the most potential hazards to your health and your pet’s health. If you must use flea bombs, make sure you vacate the premises entirely first. Do not use flea bombs while you or your pets are still in the apartment.