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Published on August 14th, 2018 | by Guest Contributor


What is Kapok and How is it Used?

Wandering around a local botanical garden a few years ago, my grandmother pointed out a huge tree that I had never noticed. It had giant seed pods, filled with what I affectionally described as ‘tree wool-‘ soft, silky fiber that was delightfully fluffy. Grandma explained that this was used for years until fossil-fuel based polyester filling became the norm. This is kapok- but of course, I had to ask,But what is kapok? Turns out, this beautiful tree produces a very cool natural fiber that you should meet!

What is Kapok and How is it Used?

The Kapok tree at Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu

close up of kapok pods

Fast forward a few years, and I find myself looking at building a more natural bedroom. Kapok, along with wool, cotton, and latex is one of the key ingredients that can be used to build a better mattress. But what is kapok, how is it used, and why should I use it?

What is Kapok?

As explained by Wikipedia, Kapok trees are native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. These are huge trees (70 meters or so) with wide, buttressed trunks and are considered one of the largest trees in the world! They are lovely trees to behold, but what really sets them apart is their big seed pods filled with a fluffy fiber.

This fiber is highly flammable, but water resistant, so it was used in life jackets for decades. And its fluff allows it to be used as a replacement for down and wool, depending on the application.

I currently get to enjoy kapok as filling in my awesome Avocado Green pillows which pairs really well with their organic, natural mattress. These natural pillows are filled with floofy kapok, dense and firm latex filling (kinda like little noodles), and wrapped in a textured organic cotton wrap. These are the most firm pillows I’ve used, and while I previously needed two pillows to sleep on, I now only need one pillow to rest my head.

Their mattresses are made with cotton, latex, and wool, which is naturally fire retardant, and they now make a vegan mattress with cotton and NO wool that still meets flammability requirements.

But wait, what’s wrong with conventional pillows and mattresses?

Regular pillows and mattresses are most often made with conventional (read: full of pesticides and herbicides) cotton and fossil-fuel based chemicals, along with a host of endocrine disrupting and off-gassing flame retardants and other chemicals.

We’re exposed to thousands of chemicals each day: from cars, from furniture, in the air… but your bedding is one place where you can truly detox in a healthful way. If you can’t yet afford a new mattress, getting a natural topper to cover a conventional mattress is a good measure, and swapping pillows (much cheaper than a new mattress) can be really helpful too, especially if you have sleep issues and/or allergies.

Our readers can get a discount on Avocado Green Mattress using a special code: click here to get shopping! Get two of their awesome pillows using code 2FREEPILLOWS. I hope that you too decide to enjoy this natural beauty and comfort that is Avocado Green Mattress and pillows.

Wishing you sweet and sustainable slumber! 

Disclosure: Avocado Green Mattress gave me a mattress and pillows for review, but this is the item I wanted to purchase anyway. Of course, all opinions are my own.

Images from Wikimedia/creative commons/public domain

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