Nobody Knows What This Pillow Is Made Of

I had a pillow that says ‘contains textiles of 100% unknown kind’ on that tag that says ‘Do not remove under penalty of law’. Kind of defeats the purpose of the tag, and I’m wondering what is in my pillow. Used underpants? Human hair? It does say ‘all new materials’ but that might just be ‘new to me.’

UPDATE: Here Is What This Pillow Is Made Of

Superman III taught us the danger of unknown materials. They are unknown for a reason. Humanity may not be ready to comprehend the awesomeness of the materials powering your, um, pillow.

Tags were the early 20th century’s answer to scurrilous merchants who stuffed pillows and mattresses with an unsavory potpourri of disease carrying things—horse hair, fur, and rags. Now they are used to ensure that the bedding on sale is new, not used. Whatever that pillow is stuffed with, rest assured that you are its first puzzled owner.Oh%20Its%20Terrible.jpg

(Photo: Blitzcat)


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  1. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    I’m wondering what is in my pillow. Used underpants?

    1) Steal Underpants
    2) Use them to stuff pillows
    3) profit!!!

  2. Red_Eye says:

    Noooooo used underpants are only used in heavy bags, come on now, what you have there is likely reclaimed fibers from cleaned and recycled baby diapers..

  3. JAYEONE says:

    Gosh darn it, I’m an adult…why does the word “underpants” crack me every time????

  4. JAYEONE says:

    @JAY1937: err…that’s crack ME up, dammit…lol

  5. legotech says:

    At work, we received a delivery of a fragile object from Shanghai. It was packed very nicely in the castoff material from a bra fabricating company. We had a LOT of very unPC fun with those bits :)

  6. outsdr says:

    “Now they are used to ensure that the bedding on sale is new, not used. Whatever that pillow is stuffed with, rest assured that you are its first puzzled owner.”

    Really? What assurances would that be, really? That there is a law? There’s laws against high levels of lead used in consumer goods as well.

    If there was choice between an item with this tag, and a similar item with a tag that actually says what’s inside, I would pick the second one.

    Granted, there’s still no guarantee that the second tag does not mislead as well.

    It’s hard for me as a consumer to know who and what to trust these days.

  7. rubberkeyhole says:

    oh god the underpants and human hair bit is hilarious!

  8. newtonite says:

    Made in China?

  9. artki says:

    > Made in China?

    Unknown materials MADE IN CHINA!? We could have new entries for the Periodic Table here! Once you’re finished with this pillow would you even be allowed to throw it away or do you have to call for a HazMat team?

  10. krom says:

    “Made in China.” At the end. That is the best punchline that tag could possibly have.

  11. takotchi says:

    I just stuck that phrase into Google and found a somewhat interesting page on the FTC’s web site:


    It describes things as made from “miscellaneous scraps, rags, odd lots, textile by-products, second-hand materials or waste materials of unknown and, for practical purposes, undeterminable fiber content”. Still sounds kind of ‘eww’ to me.

  12. FLConsumer says:

    How the hell are they allowed to sell it? Takotchi’s description makes it sound even worse than the label!

  13. blitzcat says:

    I’m still trying to decide wether to cut it open and see. I’m torn. I like my pillow, but yeech.

  14. BigBoat says:

    You may need to take one for the team here. The team being me; I’m quite curious :)

  15. Trai_Dep says:

    Considering it’s China, it’s probably shredded babies. But not to worry – it’s only female shredded babies.

  16. waldy says:

    Oh my gosh, this may be the funniest consumerist article and comments section EVER. The underpants…the bra packaging…the periodic table…taking one for the team…I’ve been rendered helpless by the giggling!

  17. maztec says:

    Nothing wrong with horsehair. Please stop libeling it! I own several old horsehair pillows and chairs stuffed with horsehair and they are about the best I own in that category. Plus, what difference would there be between horsehair and feathers in terms of disease? At least one of the two is fowl and it’s not the horse!

  18. alhypo says:

    Ah… so China finally found a use for every part of the prisoners they execute. Such efficiency. Now that’s progress.

  19. floydianslip6 says:

    CUT IT OPEN! Bow to the internet’s peer pressure voyeurism. It would be worth the $10 for a new pillow. Make a youtube and cut it open. This is research here!

  20. I’m guessing there’s nothing but a thick felty met of tarantula urticating hairs in there.

  21. SexCpotatoes says:

    The trifecta, Asbestos, Lead, and Razor blades.

  22. Hoss says:

    Im thinking there was a communications gap between the inspector and the manufacturer — finally he said screw it, Walmart will buy 20 million whatever it says

  23. Gawg says:

    Stuffed with bricks wouldn’t be a selling point would it?

  24. timmus says:

    Needs “CHINESE POISON TRAIN” tag for obvious reasons.

  25. forgottenpassword says:

    My bet is recycled bits of old, used, soiled pillows.

    Ah the circle of life!

  26. homerjay says:

    Let me guess– you got it at Walmart?

  27. nech says:

    maybe it’s abestos. oh go on.. have a nice sleep…

  28. bohemian says:

    @blitzcat: So where does one buy a pillow of 100% unknown textiles of Chinese origin? So I can uh avoid buying pillows there.

    New unknown fibers, it could be new asbestos fibers for all you know. Icky.

  29. blitzcat says:

    It came from Garden Ridge. I went in on a whim to see what it was about. I don’t think I’m going to shop there again, but mostly because they had christmas trees up in August.

    @HomerJay I’m 8+ years Walmart clean. :)

    I did finally rip a hole to see what it was. I still can’t tell if it was underpants or not, and I think I did see a couple hairs. Its kind of a textile mulch of floor sweepings, similar to how all the leftover parts of a cow get rendered into a Slim Jim. I’m going to get rid of it, but I will splay it out with pictures here this afternoon.

  30. bohemian says:

    I would bet it is swept up cuttings out of a sewing factory. Many of the machines make small pieces of cut off fabric as part of the sewing process. There are also the little cut off pieces left over from cutting clothing. They probably sweep them off the factory floor, put it in a bin and sell it or reuse it for stuffing. Ick, Ick, Ick. I worked in a sewing factory summers during college. We threw scrap in the trash and I wouldn’t want anything off that floor.

  31. DrGirlfriend says:

    It’s stuffed with the pillow factory employees’ hopes and dreams. :`-(

  32. Asterchild says:

    @drgirlfriend: haha! Throw in some tears and sweat from the long working hours without a break.

  33. Imaginary_Friend says:

    How heavy is it? Maybe it’s got those Target customer’s missing iPods in there.

  34. blitzcat says:

    I would say it was about average weight. No ipods. But gross. Much of the contents was dust.

    Here are the pictures, c/o flickr.
    Shredded Underpants?

    The Money Shot: there goes the money I spent on this pillow.

    Entrail Zoom: closeup of the baffling.

  35. says:

    Well what do you think Underpants Gnomes steal underpants for, just to have a huge collection of underpants? Clearly it is to stuff in pillows.

    Too bad it isn’t iPods, that would have been a total win… a bit tough to sleep on, though.

  36. goodkitty says:

    Oh my God, you solved it!

    1. Steal Underpants
    3. Profit!

  37. JAYEONE says:

    You know, speaking of underpants…I recently bought (too) many pairs of the most UNCOMFORTABLE underpants I’ve ever encountered. I believe they may be made from leftover sandpaper bits.

    Perhaps I should cram them all in a box and helpfully ship them to China. No?

  38. kittenfoo says:

    I beg to differ, maztec. Growing up we had a horsehair-stuffed sofa that had belonged to a great grandparent, and I cannot imagine a more uncomfortable piece of furniture. It felt like it was stuffed with a combination of high heel shoes and sawdust.

  39. kittenfoo says:

    I just looked at the pictures, and I have to say, despite the unknown provenance of the material, the pictures themselves are beautiful in their own way. They also remind me of the episode of The Simpsons when Homer climbs the Murderhorn with sponsorship by the Power Sauce Bar company, and they finally admit that the Power Sauce bars are made up of apple cores and shredded Chinese newspapers.

  40. bohemian says:

    That is really disgusting. That lumpy goo also wouldn’t hold up for very long before you would have a really screwed up useless pillow. There is nothing keeping it from balling up or keeping it bound together.
    I would take it back to the store and dump the innards all over the counter and demand your money back.
    The red & black thing looks like either underwear elastic of edge binding. The whole mess looks like mulched cotton insulation mixed with dryer lint.

  41. savvy9999 says:

    Apparently this is hunky dory in regards to labeling: []

    Dagnasty? Yes. But illegal, no.

  42. Imaginary_Friend says:

    Errrgh! That stuffing looks like the winning entry in the World’s Largest Hairball contest. I can’t believe it’s legal to sell that crap.

    I agree with Bohemian – take it back for a full refund or kill it with fire.

  43. Matt Sussman says:

    Monty Hall: “You could take… the boat, the diamond necklace, and the trip to Fiji, and walk away.. OR… you could have what’s inside this pillow.”

  44. Scazza says:

    Made in China? No doubt its just melted lead poured over dead avian-flu-carrying birds feathers.

  45. trollkiller says:

    @TinyBug: Quick get Butters on the phone.

  46. Jim says:

    Finally! A realistic home-based business I can start.

    I’ve been vacuuming and throwing out perfectly good, 100% organic, “green” pillow stuffing for so many years…

  47. econobiker says:

    Can you fault the Chinese for being frugal? Like the Chinese recyling used condoms for hair rubber bands by cutting them into strips…

  48. Allen Harkleroad says:

    That’s just plain gross and eerie, not to mention bad images in your head.

  49. liptoss says:

    Don’t laugh, years ago when my parents bought me a metal toy car… no not the cast Hot Wheels type, but the punched pressed metal type, I ripped the bottom that had the wheels attached to it off… guess what I found!? Old fish tins… the friggin car was made of old friggin Chinese fish tins! The type you would find on the shelf of a grocery store!
    Just another interesting bit for this thread to consider.