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How to Wash a Memory Foam Pillow

Lara Vargas


Treating yourself to a memory foam pillow can deepen your sleep and relieve pain, among other benefits; such as memory foam’s natural resilience to dirt and allergens. Prolonged, direct contact with debris can grind the particles into the foam, soiling it over time.

Good pillow hygiene is easy to overlook, but it is instrumental in fostering quality sleep and comfort.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to spot clean, deodorize, and remove stains from your pillow.

Washing a Memory Foam Pillow

Washing and maintaining a memory foam pillow is a little more hands-on compared to a standard pillow. It takes patience and a delicate hand due to the dense and delicate foam.

As such, memory foam needs to be washed by hand, since foam can be easily damaged by the agitator of a washing machine.

Here’s how to gently clean your memory foam pillow:

  1. Fill a bathtub with lukewarm water, plus one teaspoon of mild detergent per gallon of water.
  2. Submerge the pillow in the tub and press down repetitively to allow water to flow through the memory foam. The water may come out looking dirty.
  3. To rinse the pillow, drain the bathtub and fill it with clean water. Submerge the pillow again and press down repeatedly until the water is clear.
  4. Drain the tub and press the water from the foam.
  5. Wrap the pillow in a towel and press on it to absorb any excess water by pressing down on it. Warning: Wringing or twisting the pillow will damage the foam.
  6. To dry, place the pillow flat in a sunny, ventilated area. A fan will also speed up the drying process. Warning: Do not use a hairdryer as the heat will melt the foam.
  7. Before replacing the pillow cover and pillowcase, make sure the pillow is completely dry. It should take 24 hours to fully dry.

Making sure the pillow is dry within 24 hours is critical as foam runs the risk of developing mold and mildew if it stays wet.

How to Spot Clean a Memory Foam Pillow

Liquid spills left untreated will lead to stains. Immediately cleaning the spots can prevent permanent stains.

  1. Remove coverings, such as pillowcases and covers, and put them in the wash before the stain sets.
  2. Remove any excess liquid from the pillow with a towel.
  3. Make a cleaning solution with one part mild detergent with two parts water.
  4. Dip a clean cloth in the soapy mixture and use just enough to create bubbles on the foam’s surface.
  5. Rub the spot in a circular motion until the stain is removed.
  6. Absorb any excess liquid by pressing down on the wet spot with a dry towel.
  7. Allow the pillow to air dry in direct sunlight.

How to Remove Stains From a Memory Foam Pillow

Sometimes, you can spill liquid without noticing, or sweat will form stains overtime. These stains can cause smells and compromise the pillow’s hygiene. Spot cleaning once every couple of weeks will keep the pillow in good condition.

  1. Spray the spot with one part hydrogen peroxide and one part water using a spray bottle. In the case of an unpleasant odor like pet urine, use a baking soda and vinegar mixture to clean the spot and remove the odor.
  2. Take a sponge or a toothbrush and gently rub the stain until the peroxide stops bubbling. You may need to repeat this step a few times to remove the stain.
  3. Take a clean towel and absorb the excess liquid.
  4. Allow the pillow to dry in the sun and under a fan.

How to Deodorize a Memory Foam Pillow

Like any bedding, a memory foam pillow can develop an odor over time. New foam pillows may have a funky plastic smell called off-gassing, which comes from the petrochemicals used in the manufacturing process. Off-gassing odors can linger for a few days or even weeks.

To remove the smell of off-gassing or any other smell, follow these instructions and repeat if necessary.

  1. Place the pillow outdoors or in an airy area with direct sunlight.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda over one side of the pillow and let sit for three hours.
  3. Vacuum the pillow to remove the baking soda and any other debris on the pillow’s surface.
  4. Repeat this process on the other side.

Ideally, this should remove the smell, although it may take a couple of times to remove harsher odors.

Memory Foam Pillow Care Tips

  • To keep the pillow clean longer, the pillowcase needs washing at least once a week. Pillowcases act as barriers, collecting dust mites and dead skin. Luckily, pillowcases are not as hard to clean. Tossing them in the washer and dryer is enough to clean them.
  • Some memory foam pillows come with a cover that protects the memory foam in addition to a pillowcase. You’ll need to follow the pillow’s care instructions to keep the pillow cover in good condition.
  • Like a mattress, a memory foam pillow needs washing once every month or two.

How Long Should You Keep a Memory Foam Pillow?

Memory foam pillows are longer-lasting than traditional pillows. Depending on if it’s well made and properly maintained, a quality pillow can last anywhere between 18 to 36 months. Even so, memory foam pillows need replacing, or the worn-down material will disrupt sleep and soil your sleeping environment.

You can use your judgment to determine when to replace the pillow. If the foam no longer keeps its shape, doesn’t offer support, or has an odor that doesn’t recede, it’s time to replace your pillow.


Cleaning a memory foam pillow is a chore, but it’s the best way to keep your pillow in good shape. When you take care of your things, they last. A cleaner pillow will last longer and ensure you sleep well for years.

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