Here Is What This Pillow Is Made Of

Unable to stand the mystery any longer, Matt caved and cut open his pillow that sports a tag saying it contains 100% of “TEXTILE FABRICS OF AN UNKOWN KIND.” Now we know what’s inside these pillows: a heterogeneous mixture of shredded clothing and fabric factory leftovers. Mmm, downy soft sweet dreams. Don’t worry, this isn’t some scam, “Textile fibers of unknown kind” are a legally accepted industry label meaning, “new material consisting of a variety of fibers that has been reduced to a fibrous state.” Still, it’s crazy to think that’s what you might be sleeping on. More pics, inside.



§ 303.14 of the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act says:

Where a textile fiber product is made from miscellaneous scraps, rags, odd lots, secondhand materials, textile by-products, or waste materials of unknown, and for practical purposes, undeterminable fiber content, the required fiber content disclosure may, when truthfully applicable, in lieu of the fiber content disclosure otherwise required by the Act and regulations, indicate that such product is composed of miscellaneous scraps, rags, odd lots, textile by-products, secondhand materials (in case of secondhand materials, words of like import may be used) or waste materials, as the case may be, of unknown or undetermined fiber content

PREVIOUSLY: Nobody Knows What This Pillow Is Made Of
(Photos: Blitzcat)


Edit Your Comment

  1. tedyc03 says:

    I’m utterly disgusted, me thinks…

    Please tell me these clothes were washed…

  2. meepmeep says:

    Looks like they emptied some vacuum cleaner bags.

  3. now that is one honest company

  4. Trevor says:

    What, do you want it to be filled with cute little bunnies?

  5. Johnny_Roastbeef says:

    Usually, these fibers come from donated clothing. They get the clothing dropped off in those big metal drop boxes you see at shopping centers. Many of the charities which used to distribute donated clothing stopped, and instead sell the clothes as fiber filler. They in turn use the money they receive for their charity work. Often the boxes dont even hint at being for charity, they simply say ‘clothing drop off.

    I have seen this sort of filling in stuffed animal carnival prizes.


  6. Why open the middle? Should have picked a corner. Would have been easier to sew back up.

    But otherwise, Except for the fact that the stuff looks gross, I’m sure it’s been like triple washed, which if it was shreds of other things, explains why it has broken down into individual threads that lump together. This is all stuff from after manufacturing, so if it’s clean when you get it at the store, that stuff is cleaner, since it’s probably bagged up, and sent off, rather than being shipped everywhere and touched.

  7. warf0x0r says:

    Looks like insulation… I’ve seen that stuff before its either packing materials or cheap insulation.

  8. forgottenpassword says:


    I had he exact same thought!

    A dust mite’s dream home!

  9. legotech says:

    Its pocket lint…the pillow is stuffed with POCKET LINT! Or bellybutton lint…you choose :)

  10. SadSam says:

    Seems like a good idea to me, why not reuse old clothing into pillow stuffing?

  11. Doorknob says:

    If it’s donated clothing, no matter how many times washed, it would still be violating the label. The label says it’s new material. Donated clothing is not new material. It’s most likely just the various scraps and trimmings left over after the manufacturing process of other cloth items.

  12. evslin says:

    @Trevor: Of course!

  13. Tracy Ham and Eggs says:

    @Johnny_Roastbeef: You are so far off its like you are trying to be a moron. These are usually cast-off and shreds from other manufacturing. The T-shirt company down the street has left-over fablic from the edges of its shirts. It sells it in bulk to the pillow company that shreds it and turns it into stuffing. The idea that these come from used products is a joke.

  14. PinkBox says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: If you look closely, you can see that it was opened along a seam.

  15. route52 says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: He did open it on a seam – the top seam. It just looks like the middle because of the angle or whatever.

    Everybody had these in college! I used to have a blue furry one that looked kind of like the cookie monster… wonder whatever happened to it.

    Why don’t husband pillow manufacturers, instead of going with “100% unknown material,” go with “100% recycled clothing” and call themselves the Happy Organic Earth Loving Company and charge a premium? That’s what I’d do, if I were a husband pillow manufacturer. (not ragging on recycled/organic stuff – just that it would be a much better marketing decision than “unknown material).

  16. Rabbigrrl says:

    dryer lint!

  17. @causticitty: @route52: I know it was opened on a seam, but it was the middle of the seam. From what I remember of making pillows, you sew everything inside out, except for the corner, then pull it through that open area, and the sealed seams are on the inside. Then you stuff. I forget now how to close the last opening, but that is what I meant by that.

  18. deserthiker says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is. The definition states NEW material of an unknown source. It’s obviously leftover bulk material from manufacturing. If the company were smart they would market it as Eco-friendly and sell it for twice as much.

  19. redrover189 says:

    No offense, but who cares? It’s stuffing. It’s not like it has diseases.

    It looks like it’s just a blend of shredded remnants (the edge pieces and scraps of textiles when furniture and clothing are made) – it’s probably grey because of all the colors blended together.

    Who cares? If you had opened it up and a dead homeless person rolled out, then I could see being grossed out.

  20. SkyeBlue says:

    It looks like dryer lint, maybe from some commercial laundromat?

  21. blitzcat says:

    Seam or not, I tossed it. The end.

  22. @SkyeBlue: That wouldn’t be thick enough to use as stuffing. I save all of my lint from the dryer in a container, and every spring, spread it through the bushes for the birds to use. I can collect about a years worth in the container because it compacts so much.

  23. Christovir says:

    @Tracy Ham and Eggs: Actually, Johnny_Roastbeef is right. I used to work for Oxfam, and I can confirm that there are 3 routes for donated clothes. 1)The nice ones are resold in the region of donation. 2) The less nice but wearable ones are shipped to developing countries. 3) Clothes that are ripped or stained are sold to a rag merchant, where they are used for a variety of purposes, including stuffing mattresses, pillows, etc. New scrap materials are used for this purpose as well, but there are different labelling requirements for different sources.

    In the future, I would not be so quick to call people morons, you may not know as much as you think.

  24. tinmanx says:

    I won one of those giant stuffed animals at a carnival once, it was stuffed with diaper material. Probably used diaper material, because I’m sure a couple of diapers cost more than that piece of junk.

  25. akalish says:

    The stuffing looks gross because it’s material in its next-to-most-elemental state, fiber. Why bother processing it to make it look pretty if it won’t be seen? This is a great way to recycle remnants. It would be nice if it had more accurate labeling, though.

  26. ChChChacos says:

    Makes me feel like I’m sleeping on someones dirty underwear. Blah

  27. DrGirlfriend says:

    @Tracy Ham and Eggs: Wow, abrasive!

  28. snoop-blog says:

    @akalish: yeah i think people think fabric is naturally white. it has to be bleached or dyed to get what color your looking for. otherwise it probably just looks like this stuff.

  29. ElizabethD says:

    That’s whack! (as my son would say)

    Nevertheless… if the materials are sterilized, I don’t see what the problem is. Think of it as recycling. How does the pillow *feel*? If it’s comfortable and sanitary, get over the “ewww” reaction.

    Kind of like watching sausage being made, I imagine.

  30. winstonthorne says:

    When I was in grade school, one of my science teachers used owl “pellets” in a lesson – they looked exactly like the picture above.

    The bad news: your pillow contains a substance closely resembling regurgitated small animals.

    The good news: if you pull that stuff apart, maybe you’ll find a rat skull! :)

  31. IrisMR says:

    I suddenly feel like tearing my pillow apart to verify its content. O_O

  32. textilesdiva says:

    OH! Playtime!

    Seriously…I have played with this stuff. There’s bins and bins and bales of shredded fabric and fiber waste down in the textile labs at my school, and it looks exactly like this. I’ll sit there and break apart clumps and try to identify individual fibers after lab.

    It’s not at all anything to worry about.

  33. Tracy Ham and Eggs says:

    @Christovir: Actually, if you RTFA it says new material, so it has nothing to do with donations, which is exactly what I said.

  34. yagisencho says:

    I’m sure it’s all perfectly safe and on the up-and-up. Truly. But I’ll stick with my down-filled pillow, thank you very much.

  35. ex_ea_slave says:

    And Matt decided buying pillows from the Ed Gein estate sale may not have been the best idea.

  36. Shredded material is great for cheap soundproofing.

  37. QuiteSpunky says:

    Years ago I had a throw pillow I bought at a thrift store. One day the seam ruptured, revealing that it was stuffed with a bunch of old nylons. It was weird and gross and I can only hope that it was homemade. Up until that day it was quite comfortable though!

  38. snoop-blog says:

    @QuiteSpunky: wow. you just took this to a whole nuther level of gross. you are refering to pantyhose by using the word ‘nylons’ correct? eewwww. and you hoped that it WAS homemade? too much!

  39. Christovir says:

    @Tracy Ham and Eggs: Hey, easy, calm down. I did read the article — if you read Jonny’s comment and my comment you will notice we were not making specific claims about this pillow, but about industry practice in general.

  40. backbroken says:

    Looks like Soylent Gray.

  41. I’ve got a similar looking “arm pillow” at home which has developed a torn seam. Looking inside it seems to be filled with the same stuff. Pretty gross looking and not entirely comfortable, but I don’t sleep on it, so I’m not worried.

  42. jaredharley says:

    I’m just excited that Consumerist quoted my favorite section of the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act – § 303.14!

  43. Raiden47 says:


    Good reply. Lol.

  44. QuiteSpunky says:

    @snoop-blog: You got it, nylons=pantyhose. I only hope that it was homemade so others won’t suffer a similar fate!

  45. shades_of_blue says:

    This reminds me of the soiled panties stuffed TKO Sports punching bag. []

  46. JayXJ says:

    @shades_of_blue: Wow, that’s just nasty.

  47. snoop-blog says:

    @QuiteSpunky: lol! wasn’t trying to bust your balls or nothing, but the thought of used pantyhose in a pillow grossed me out! i just hope for your sake it was at least an attractive womans nylons.

  48. Hanke says:

    @Rabbigrrl: That’s exactly what I thought it looked like.

  49. meneye says:

    @route52: great, now we’ll have ‘organic pillows’ and another govt. organization to regulate them.

    What is the big deal here people? If you want a feather pillow then buy one!!

  50. econobiker says:

    This is the exact same stuff that all of those $200 Walmart/Target futon’s mattresses have in them. I should know due to a couple of reasons: multiple futons get trashed each June at my apt complex and someone gave a futon set for me to use my $$$ futon mattress on. I opened the old mattress to try and wash the cover and it was that funky stuff. Ended up giving the cheap mattress to a friend for his big dog to sleep on. Check craigslist in any city and you’ll find those cheap futons for sale.

    This is one example of how saving and buying class saves money in the end. I purchased my heavy duty , made in USA, foam and virgin material full size futon mattress (and extra cover) in 1993 for $200-$250 from the Futon Store in Atlanta, GA. I would have probably worn out 5 cheapies in that time…

  51. fuzzball21 says:

    I once saw a pet bed that was made of 100% recycled material. Wondering what was filling it, I opened up the cover, and discovered that it was basically finely shredded (think fine threads) pop bottles. It was soft, and I’d rather have that than this mess of stuff… it’s just gross!

  52. says:

    If the label states “new material” then it is byproducts of manufacturing, NOT shredded donated clothes. (Shredded donated clothes are used in some things. Those things are not labeled “new” though.)

    @textilesdiva: I at first thought “oh my god that person is crazy” but given your username I guess you’re just really, really into fabric :-)

  53. Elle Rayne says:

    That’s pretty disgusting-looking, but as long as it’s clean, what’s the big deal? It’s normally inside the pillow, after all.

  54. Chigaimasmaro says:

    @songbird6: For people with allergies to certain fabrics or materials, what’s inside the pillow is important.

  55. treserious says:

    i used to work in a company that purchased scraps from gildan, hanes, fruit of the loom, etc.

    they were sorted by color and fabric type. once sorted, they were shredded, and respun to make new cloth for sweater and t-shirt making.

    bits that were received really mixed, and all the bits that fell on the floor, which was covered by an inch of “dryer lint” were tossed into “mixed bins”
    this was shredded to make what you find in that pillow.
    basically fabric mulch.

    this is used for many things including: automotive insulation, speaker box insulation, moving blankets, etc.
    it is actually a common material. it is clean, its not like it contains anything other than shredded fibers, and its used for all kinds of things.

    pillows is new to me though….

    consider it as responsible industrial recycling.