Can You Wash/How to Clean Memory Foam Pillows

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Memory Foam Pillows

If you’re using a memory pillow already, kudos for you! We’re pretty confident you enjoy the comfort, but you may also be wondering if you can wash it after some time. You want the sleep surface to be fresh and clean, no matter how much you sweat or drool at night.

Even if the memory foam is naturally hypoallergenic and presents a low risk for developing dust mites and bacterial growth, cleaning/washing it twice a year or whenever it’s necessary is going to help you know that you’re always resting your face and head on a clean and fresh sleeping surface.

Can a memory foam pillow stay always clean?

No matter how often we clean our face or wash our hair, any pillow is going to get dirty after a while. Did you know that almost a third of the weight of a regular pillow is made of dust mites, dead skin, and dust mite feces? This kind of info is going to make you think twice tonight when you go back to sleep!

However, if you’re using a memory foam pillow, you can keep on using it for some while. Dust mites (they cause most of the sneezing and coughing, you know), are quite common in the traditional pillows and mattresses, but not so much in the stuffing of a memory foam pillow. Side note: if you’re not using a memory foam mattress already, you most definitely should!

It doesn’t mean that you should never worry about having to clean a memory foam pillow. It merely means you need to do it differently. As our face is close to the memory foam, there’s plenty of harsh bacteria that can pose a risk for our health.

Can you wash a memory foam pillow in the machine?

wash a memory foam pillow

It’s a hard tough “no” for this one as the squishy foam comforting your head at night doesn’t handle machine washing. Not only that it’s not a good idea, but the washing machine may break down the pillow, cracking the foam and ruining it for good.

Should you go with spot cleaning instead?

In all fairness, accidents do happen so you may have to remove a small stain from the memory foam pillow sooner or later. The spot cleaning is both easy an efficient to try on the memory foam pillow.

To give you a general idea, you may need an enzyme-based cleaner (it’s ideal for urine) or a gentle detergent, applying it on the stain. Massage the stain outward from the center until you no longer see the stain. Once the stain is gone, you need to blot away the excess liquid. Be patient as it has to be almost dry when you’re done. Let the pillow air dry entirely before you put it back in its pillowcase- you lower the risk for mildew and mold by doing so.

What to do when the memory foam pillow smells?

A brand new memory foam pillow may have a specific smell out of the box, and it’s the off-gassing the leading cause. Off-gassing is to be expected in memory foam products. It’s harmless gas that develops during the packaging. If you want to get rid of it, you should let the pillow air off outdoors or place the pillow near an open window. If the smell is still there, you may have to step up your game.

When the memory foam has been in use for some time, it may get an odor. You could deodorize it to get rid of the unpleasant smell.

Here are the steps to take:

  • Remove the pillowcase, placing the pillow on a flat surface
  • Get some baking soda and sprinkle it sparingly on the memory foam pillow
  • Let it sit in the sun for a couple of hours
  • Get the upholstery attachment from your vacuum and run the vacuum over the pad well. It’s the best tool to use for removing the invisible detritus and hairs from the pillow.

What’s the best way to clean a memory foam pillow?

best way to clean a memory foam pillow

Ideally, you need to change the bedsheets once a week, when you should also vacuum the memory foam pillow. Some spot cleaning once a month for eliminating the sweat residue and deep cleaning every couple of months is also mandatory.

Let’s begin with several tips for applying when cleaning the memory foam pillow:

  • Never scrub it too hard nor mistreat it; memory foam is quite delicate
  • Never place the memory foam pillow in the washer or the dryer. You should only do it by hand.
  • Use harmless cleaning agents and don’t apply something too harsh.

What’s to remember when washing a memory foam pillow?

Should you ever need to clean the memory foam pillow deep, you need to know which type of memory foam is used for the pillow. When your pillow is made of solid memory foam, here’s what you need to do:

  • Use some lukewarm water for filling up a sink or a bathtub, adding only a small amount of delicate detergent. If you like a lavender smell, you can add a drop or two of lavender oil.
  • Place the pillow under the soapy water slow. You should squeeze the pillow so that the soapy water can penetrate beyond the surface. Repeat the step twice
  • Throw away the soapy water and add clean water in the bathtub. You should squeeze the pillow several times so that the fresh water washes away any left dirt or soap. Do it until the water is clear once again.
  • You need to remove the excess water, so squeeze the pillow gently. Never twist the pad nor compress the memory foam (even though it’s tempting).
  • Let the pillow air dry; ideally, it should be in direct sunlight or outdoors. When you neither, place it under a ceiling fan so that it dries faster.
  • Sprinkle your favorite oil (lavender or anything you like) over it for the complete fresh feel!

If the pillow is made with shredded memory foam, there are other things to consider. The shredded memory foam is winning fans as we speak as it lets you shift it at night, without compromising on the support of regular memory foam. However, the shredded pieces are ensuring proper air ventilation through the core, dissipating heat more efficiently and allows you a peaceful sleep.

Just like in the case of memory foam, the material isn’t going to sustain the growth of dust mites or allergens inside.

  • Don’t soak the entire memory foam material as water may seep in-between the cells. During the drying process, the risk for mold and mildew to develop is rather high, and you shouldn’t take that chance/
  • Use a damp cloth for wiping it down. If it’s already set in. Use a wet close and press into the memory foam so that you can get out as much as you can.
  • Soak it in the water on a sunny day so that you may air dry it after washing it.
  • Don’t put it in the washing machine or the dryer. You’re going to ruin it for good.

What steps do you have to follow for cleaning a spill?

steps to follow for cleaning a spill

You don’t always need to wash your memory foam pillow, sometimes cleaning the spills is going to be enough.

Many liquid stains aren’t difficult to remove so here’s the best way to do it:

  • Take the pillowcase off
  • Grab a clean cotton towel for absorbing the excess liquid
  • Add water and a mild detergent (it should be a bubbly consistency), dipping a sponge into the mix. Rub the spill using circular motion until everything is nice and clean again.
  • Let the pillow air dry until you put it back in its pillowcase

For the more difficult stains, spot cleaning is going to be required. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Remove all the covers
  • For wine and blood stains, you need to apply 3% hydrogen peroxide straight to the stain. Use a clean cloth for blotting until the peroxide isn’t bubbling anymore. Spray a bit of cold water, rubbing with a used toothbrush until clean.
  • For urine, you have to combine one tsp of white vinegar, two tbsp of baking soda, and one cup of hydrogen peroxide. Apply the mix to the spot and let it sit throughout the night. You may have to do it once again if the smell isn’t gone. Use cold water for blotting it clean.
  • Place the memory foam pillow outside for air drying.

How often does the memory foam pillow need cleaning?

If you or your loved one has been recently sick, it’s better for you to deep clean the memory foam pillow. Every couple of months is enough for cleaning the memory foam pillow most of the time.

Whenever you’re changing the bed sheets (ideally it’s once a week, remember?), you could sprinkle a bit of baking soda and leave it outside in the sun for several hours. You can also vacuum the pillow any now and then to get rid of the dust mites from the surface. Sunlight and baking soda are easy ways to give the pillow a fresh smell and feel!

Side note- make sure that the pillowcase is clean too!

Don’t forget about the pillowcase as it’s just as crucial as your pillow! Dirt, bacteria, and pollutants may develop in the pillowcase even faster than you’d think. If your skin is prone to breakouts, you should consider changing the pillow case every couple of days and see if there’s any improvement. If changing the daily pillowcase sounds too much for you, you can always go ahead and do it once a week.

What are the dont’s when it comes to the memory foam pillow?

Following some rules when washing/cleaning, your memory foam pillow also means that you need NOT do some specific things:

  • Never try to machine wash the memory foam pillow. The machine is moving a lot, causing the shredding of the memory foam
  • It’s never safe to put the memory foam pillow in the dryer either. The high heat may melt the pillow, ruining it for good. We should also mention the fire hazard involved in the process.
  • Don’t use a memory pillow that hasn’t dry completely. The risk for mold and mildew to develop when it’s not completely dry is high
  • Don’t use the harsh detergents on the memory foam and pay attention when using hydrogen peroxide. You may damage the texture and even the color of the foam.

When do you know it’s time to get a new memory foam pillow?

A regular and affordable polyester pillow needs to be replaced every six months. Excellent memory foam is going to last a lot longer than that, rending you with the need of replacing the memory foam pillow after 18-36 weeks of use. No matter how careful you are with the pillow, the filling is still going to break down after some time.

Don’t forget that we’re putting a lot of stress on the necks, on the cause of smartphones and computers. You may spare your neck and your pillow to by using a firmer pillow on Thursdays and a Fridays- everyone needs a break from time to time!

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Other resources

How to Clean Memory Foam Pillows (Plus 4 Things to Avoid) – Complete Home Spa

How To Clean A Memory Foam Pillow | 5 Ways To Pillow Perfection

Cleaning Memory Foam Pillow Made Easy – How To ?

Can You Wash a Memory Foam Pillow? | Muse Sleep